The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Thursday 7 December 2023

Glad To Be Here

During a conversation with the Buddhist scholar and professor of comparative religion, David Loy, Joanna Macy1 commented that, ‘If you want to do something positive for the world, you have to be glad to be here.’

In a world in which so many things are going wrong, it may be tempting to react with anger or despair. In contrast to these reactions Joanna Macy’s observation is an astute and radical one.

Many in the environmental and social justice movements act from a place of anger, born perhaps of frustration at a lack of political will. Acting from such a place may seem to be an obvious response as it appears to place the blame for the mess we are in where it belongs – at the top of the political, corporate, and industrial hierarchies.

However, for Macy, this is a mistaken starting point.

For Macy the better, more grounded, place from which to begin is in gratitude. Jacques Cousteau, the famous oceanographer, recognises a similar starting point. He succinctly notes that ‘People protect what they love.’

Gratitude in this sense is more than a sensual delight resulting in a sense of gratefulness. We may feel grateful when we watch a sunset or smell a rose. Although that sense may linger for a few hours, maybe even for the rest of the day, the sense of gratefulness brought about through sensory experience can fade and disappear.

Gratitude, however, is a continuing, ever present, state of mind. For Macy, and others, this is critical, as it helps ground us, and allow us to find balance in our lives and in how we see and act in the world.

Thus grounded, Macy asserts that it is possible to honour the pain for the world, without crumbling into despair, confusion, or apathy. A grounding in gratitude also enables us to honour that pain for the world (some refer to this as crying the tears of the world) without descending into anger, finger-pointing, name-calling, and (all too often) violence.

Only once we are grounded in gratitude and able to see the tears of the world are we able to act in a positive way.

It is important to note that Macy talks about doing something positive – she does not add the word change. She is well aware that although we may act in a positive manner, there is no guarantee that our actions will make a positive change. Which brings us back to gratitude and being glad to be here.

With gratitude, it is possible to remain equanimous, even amid seeming futility, and the possibility of collapse.

I am glad to be here. I wish for you to be so as well.


1. Joanna Macy (now in her mid-90s) is a long-time writer, activist, and creative thinker offering her insight to the pain and despair of the world. She has written numerous books and guided dozens of workshops helping people to find ways of being and responding in the world.

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