I grew up in the culture of Persian mystics. To them, all states of being are different faces of the Beloved. I was a child when the newly minted Islamic Republic in Iran began its way on joy. The Morality Police cracked down on women’s rights and music and dancing became illegal. Expressing ourselves became a crime. In those days, the most radical act of resistance in the face of adversity was to live joyfully. As an adult in America, I dance with refugees. We harness the power of joy as a way of increasing our ability not only to withstand challenges but to also host states of being we deem as difficult or unpleasant. When our perspective changes, we see suffering not as an unwanted guest, but as our long-lost Beloved finally arriving for a visit.
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