What If I Told You, Part Deux (The Joy Blog)
On The Joy Blog post “What If I Told You? ” I wrote about the journey to joy, my journey to joy. Upon reflection, after finishing and publishing it, I remembered some things I should have included. It’s OK, the piece is too long anyway and it gives me another opportunity to show up, on the page and write. I have more to share. Win-win.
The journey to joy is through our deepest self. The challenge is that most of us have insulated that deepest part of our soul, our inner child from everything, including, well, our self. It is only when we get real with ourselves and get down to the business of really softening up, getting vulnerable, being OK with what we find, forgiving perceived short comings and practicing self-care and self-love do we start to open up, breathe and feel the space for joy.
I want to say that the beauty of this journey is that it doesn’t end, it just gets better, if we allow it. Even in the darkest moments we have the power to find a light within and give the ember the fuel to grow to a shining beacon of light. Once this fire is burning, all the things that disturb, annoy, frustrate, hurt and anger us, are at arm’s length, behind the fire. It isn’t that they aren’t there, there is just space. Part of step one for me was hearing this, hearing it again and again, listening to it, taking it in, and really, eventually believing it. It was only when I truly believed this that I was able to start the real work on the journey to joy.
To be honest, I am still a little unsure about why the Universe opened up the door for me to walk through when it did. I am eternally grateful though. Once I started listening and really hearing, from many different teachers and sources, I began to develop the tools I am using now. One of my biggest challenges though is self-love. At first glance, I think most people would say, if asked, that I am plenty confident. It is so frustrating that it is so ingrained in many of us, not to be confident or spend a moment’s thought on self-love. Modesty is is a virtue. Be pleasing, people will like you better. Be thin, be pretty, be young, be best, fit in, be perfect, and the worst one, be quiet. People will like you better. We are taught to hold everything in and not feel anything. Our feelings are our guidance system. If we become adept at not feeling anything, we lose our way, our true north. In addition, we are also taught, be self less. Reflect on that for just a minute. Self. Less. Let that sink right in. This is a dangerous and damaging way of perceiving one’s self. 100% guaranteed to lead you away from your true self and from joy. From an early age our childhood innocence, sense of self and self acceptance is hi-jacked for this way of thinking. We become judgmental and critical, measuring everything and everybody up to some flawed standard and for sure, nothing will ever meet those expectations.
Let’s be “Self Full” instead. Just try that on and wear it for a bit, it’s a better fit. Not rely on anything or anybody, or any specific condition to feel good. It is OK, necessary even to regard ourselves at least as well as we regard anyone else in our experience. Period. Logically, if we aren’t loving and taking care of ourselves first, we aren’t in a position to truly love and take care of anyone else. Sure, in our hurried busy lives there are moments of blazing happiness, times when we feel at peace and accomplished. In these moments, against all odds we have miraculously found our way back, even for a moment and it is glorious. Rather than randomly creating these moments, we can develop new thoughts, new beliefs and new tools to deliberately create a life where this feeling is dominant. We are beautifully flawed humans but we are perfect souls. Joy, well-being and the best our experience has to offer is our birthright.
In addition to the tools in The Joy Blog post “What If I Told You?” there are a couple more that are lovely and ever so useful in the journey to joy.
Detox from judgement. Gabby Bernstein is a great resource on love. She just published a new book called Judgement Detox.
If we want to free ourselves from the judgment cycle, we have to shine light on the darkness. The way to do this is to witness our judgmental thoughts without judgment.
The operative word here is “free”. When I first started my journal I kept writing I want to be free. Free from what? I didn’t really know, soon though I made the connection that as long as I was critical and judgmental, including about myself, I was unhappy and felt trapped. What I realized is that I didn’t need or want to change locales or escape from my life. I made the connection to judgement just as I started hearing about this book. Serendipitous? Definitely, or, it was the Universe sending me more of what I needed to learn, to validate my thoughts on this at just the right time? Yes! The more you learn and feel good the more that comes and it brings a cascade of happiness, contentment and satisfaction. If you deliberately stop and try to take note of every single time you are critical of something you may be surprised. I constantly am. My first instinct is then to be critical to myself for being unkind – ugh. Vicious circle and not helpful. Now, with help from teachers like Gabby, I am practicing and getting better at this. It goes a long, long way in the practice of self-love and ultimately the journey to joy.
Finally, find and surround yourself with your tribe. Surround yourself and spend time with people who love you and support you. Let your guard down and be authentically you. This may seem obvious and for many you already are. Truth bomb. This is probably the single hardest tool that I had to learn to use. I deliberately kept myself slightly apart in my tribe. Not sure of who I really was and not sure who to be to be, to be most pleasing. Again, The Joy Blog is a work in progress on a life long journey. I have opened up, softened up and am getting real with myself. It feels so damn good, I can’t stop beating the drum of it. Thank you for showing up for yourself and me, here in this space. What if I told you, joy, light, love, well being, abundance and the best our experience here on earth has to offer is our birthright. Believe it.