Joy is an Inside Job

Joy is an Inside Job
I had only known Peggy two days when she turned her straight-shooting blue eyes on me, and said, I want to help. I knew about the considerable brainpower living under her Texas brimmed hat, the accolades that accompanied her career in television and film, the huge heart which leads her to tirelessly help people free themselves from slavery. I'll film the artisans visits for you, she said, as we began our ten day Ibu trip through Kenya, and so I happily returned with digital miles of material from her formidable brain/eye/heart connection.Peggy
Two weeks afterwards, Peggy's latest seven year project exploded on screens across the world, capturing His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu cavorting, laughing, and playing with one another for one week in the Himalayas.

She brings to us an investigation of joy in our troubled times, sharing how these two Nobel Prize winners who have carried on their shoulders each a lifetime of struggle and adversity—find joy.

Watching a preview of the film with Peggy in northern Kenya, our small group munching popcorn in a makeshift screening room, it became clear that these two giant spiritual leaders know that joy in an inside job. Arch, as Peggy affectionately calls Tutu, squeezed in these conversations between chemo treatments, speaking of his lifetime confrontation of hate and oppression in South Africa. His Holiness recalls his early escape and lifetime of exile from his home, his face a map of those memories. And yet each leader daily chooses to live in joy. It's a discipline, especially in our troubled times; but one to which they invite us to apprentice.
Photos by Miranda Penn Turin

 Photos by Miranda Penn Turin

Joy is not happiness, but a deeper, clearer place within, they are suggesting through their very lives, from which one chooses to embrace the gift of life. It is ground to stand upon, and then, and then! to move from that inside job OUT, out into the world. Because, they insist, and science confirms, our greatest joy comes from deep connection in the world. As Peggy says now, having grown her thoughts:  Joy is an inside (out) job. 

We watch these two giants poke and prod each other like school boys. They wag their fingers, dance and grasp hands, erupt in laughter. The love is real. A long, extraordinary friendship anchors their joy. Photos by Miranda Penn Turin

What strikes me the most is how Peggy, who has spent most of her life addressing heart-breaking slavery still alive in the world, is herself an ambush of joy.

She, too, has lived amongst despair, and yet, generosity overflows from that place, such as her spontaneous gift to Ibu. I want to help becomes the eye of joy, a way of seeing the world and how we can connect to it.

Which is also, I want to say, the inside job at Ibu. Joy. Our movement is not about pitying the poor, nor about being good to feel good. No, it's about taking joy in the splendid gifts of the women of the world, especially those who know oppression and exile, and dancing with them.

And then, what's even better—you can wear their joy and yours into the world where that inside job, in colors of joy uncontained, shouts out. 

All the best,

Inside Out: Wearing the Joy

Just in, another full spectrum of color and pattern from Uzbekistan in our uber-popular Voluminous Caftan. You won't believe how many are in my closet—that's a confession we often hear. I want one in every color—and I wear them all the time! Now, that's some joy

And for more . . . Check out the Mission: Joy film trailer here or the full film here.

And Peggy's Big Joy Science Project here: (, offering you participation in an online seven day project designed by researchers to increase joy in the world. Each day, one micro-practice is suggested, one that has been proven to lead to more joy. 

If you're in the Charleston area, hear Peggy Callahan speak on November 2 as Mission: Joy is screened at the Charleston Library Society. Purchase tickets here.

Learn more about Peggy's anti-slavery organization here.

Uzbekistan artisans and caftans