Feeling Joy even when you don’t

If I had to think about what I wanted to feel the most often it would be joy. But that can be a burdensome feeling to live up to sometimes. Can you imagine wanting to be in joy all the time? It turns it into something else. Instead I guess joy becomes the goal and part of that is finding joy even when it is hard.

Joy was difficult today. The morning was a late start and my level started at a 2 while those around me were bumped up to 10.

Some days I wonder where has this idea joy brought me. And thats when I know my definition has taken a turn and needs refining. Joy doesnt have to be this constant state of happiness. Instead I think joy can be something different. What if joy could just be choosing not to stay stuck in negativity. Could be there be joy in that little exercise?

For me winter days are the hardest. Joy can always be found but it takes a little reminding. Listening to a love story that brings tears, turning on your favorite tunes, a quick snuggle with your kid or loved one – these are reminders of joy. .. sometimes even when we don’t feel joyful we can just remember what joy feels like and let that be enough.

joy9
And it was. Today was a hard day, but I used my reminders as a warm cup of tea on a cold day. It’s still cold outside but for a moment there’s warmth.

Allow yourself that space – you don’t have to be joyful to be surrounded by joy.

in this moment

in this moment is a short snippet post that is a snapshot of what going through my mind in that very moment. No editing, except for spelling/grammar no waiting to hit publish. Just a small moment into whats going on. Whats going on for you in this moment?

in this moment…

I am reading through my own blog posts and wondering where they came from. Did I really write that? Usually when I write something I’m thinking

ugh this is so amateurish. its a good thing no one will read it

I’ve got Brené Brown talking in one ear – literally as I am listening to her on youtube. I’m thinking man I’ve heard this talk before. But really its bits and pieces and honestly its probably something I need to hear since its been falling from one daily to-do list to the next.

in this moment…
I’m wondering if I am doing enough to take the next day. Not move on, not the next step. Definitely not forget.

oops fell down a hole. this time on ebay..hey I need a new wallet.

so in this moment I am feeling good but in the background there is a soft whisper. It’s saying push push do more. Its also saying no dont do that. Its a battle. In this moment I am caught in-between.

One Hundred Stories

Every day I draft hundreds of blog posts. Maybe it would be better to call them like journal entries. Although that’s not entirely right either. They are thoughts I want to share outside of my own privacy. Stories or reflections if you will on life, things that happened in the past that I feel differently about from when it was my present.

They say experience is the ultimate teacher, but of course you cannot really get the lesson unless you reflect on what you were being taught.

If it only it were that easy. Often it takes repetition.

And we don’t see how life opens up new opportunities even in our hardest times. I never would have thought that it would take getting my heart broken to not only know what love was, but it opened me up to finding it in a way that was the way it was supposed to be. It also gave me the strength to be able to not let it go. I didnt know that I would have to fall into the deepest despair to find my heart again.

We don’t realize how strong our own paths, the stories that shape our lives make us. The truth is we are too close to it. Plus and although I can only speak for myself, I believe this to be true of many, we can be a very forward thinking people.

Progress, moving on, let go. These are important things. And absolutely necessary. We can’t live in the past, but it must be acknowledged.

Not just to learn for it but to also know just how capable we are. Whenever I have doubts about my ability to do something shouldn’t I instead of think of all the future ways things could not work out, wouldn’t it make more sense to think about all the things, the seemingly impossible things I have been able to accomplish?

I tell stories in my head – those hundreds of blog posts. Sometimes they are reflections on the things I’ve experienced. Sometimes it is the simple reflections of existence. But in each thought I am beginning to connect and acknowledge just what point my path has brought me too. And it’s helped me realize that even when I felt hopelessly lost, that I can and did find my own path that only I can follow. Sometimes it might feel like someone else’s but in the end hopefully the realization strikes that this is where I am  meant to be walking.

Maybe its the same for you.

Finally some wisdom to carry away with you:

“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you,and that you will work with these stories from your life–not someone else’s life–water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. That is the work. The only work.” ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ from Women Who Run With The Wolves

You’re so beautiful

Every day my daughter looks at me and says “Mama, you’re so beautiful” or “Mama, I love you”

That’s it. She’s here to remind me of my own beauty. To see the beauty and joy in life. To remind me that not only am I loved, but I am worthy of love. Kids are amazing and so intuitively smart. The dont have a lot of insecurities and what ifs running around in their heads.

Sure she says it to get out of bath time or as a distraction technique (I said kids were smart) but most of the time she just says it as part of regular conversation.

Mama, you’re so beautiful.

Mama, I love you.

Is there someone out there that needs to here these words from you? Are you that someone who needs to hear these words?

Stop for a minute. Take a look in the mirror.

Hey you, you’re so beautiful.

Hey you, I love you.

Easy is just another Four Letter Word

Easy. Ease. It such an easy word to say. And we say it often. I just want ‘it’ to be easy. I just want to fall into ease.  I love to use this word. Just let it be easy is one of my mantras. But I’m beginning to think that maybe easy is just another Four Letter Word. In training to be a life coach we read Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart. I did not like this book. I wanted to like it. I thought it would make me more enlightened, intellectual, maybe even accepted (not entirely sure by who) if I could like this book. But in reality I found it kind of depressing. She talks about giving up hope like its a good thing. Chödrön writes:

Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself, to make friends with yourself, to not run away from yourself, to return to the bare bones, no matter what’s going on. … But if we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship, one that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death.

This is so contradictory to everything we know! We have to hope and dream and wish for a better future. Cling to the hope of something better.

But in some ways I get it what Chödrön is saying here. If we really examine it, Hope can be so damn depressing. In hard times we cling to it like its all we have left. Hope and even more so Ease gets tossed around with high ideals and sparkly unicorns. In the end it can be so very crushing when you hope for something and it doesn’t turn out. Or it does and it’s just not what you expected.

It is in this way that ease and hope are alike. When I say I want it to be easy I am really saying I hope I can do this or even I don’t know if I can do this.

When my daughter doesn’t want to put on her clothes and I complain Why can’t this just be easy I am really feeling I hope I can be patient, why can’t I just be a good parent. 

When I wish that starting a new business or launching a new idea could just be easy what I really mean is I hope I can do this, I hope I don’t fail and disappoint everyone. In this way easy and hope are really a form of despair.

When Chödrön says “Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself” it really means you are good enough right where you are. Isn’t that so much harder to accept then taking the easy route and hoping that you can do better at a future time. In releasing the ideas of hope and easy, we accept that our only existence is in this very moment.

In this very moment I am exasperated – and that’s okay. In this very moment I am insecure and vulnerable – and that’s okay.

Chödrön rejects hope because hope and easy are ways in which we ignore the essence of ourselves. Hope becomes the opposite of joy. When we are hoping for a new future or lamenting how hard things are, we are choosing to reject this moment and label it as unworthy. We miss out on the joy that the current moment could bring because we are caught up in a moment that does not exist. In that way we not also labeling ourselves unworthy of joy – the very thing we want the most?

So what can you do instead? Give up on hope?

Is it possible to be in joy and still want for something better?

The honest answer is no. Going back to Chodron: Without giving up hope – that there is someone better to be that there’s someone better to be – we will never relax with where we are or who we are. (emphasis added)

There is no sign that says you’ve arrived at hope now you can be happy. Hope and ease are really just fear in disguise. You cannot have one without the other. Think about it. Have you ever hoped for something that didn’t also have some negative consequence to it? It’s saying that this is too hard and instead of just being in it I am going to ignore it and live in a moment that doesn’t exist.

So what do you do? 

Feel it. Give in to whatever situation you are in and let it be your existence right now. The best thing about doing that is that existence is impermanent. As soon as you are aware of a moment its already the past. You cant go back to it and suddenly you are in the next moment. In accepting that moment you are able to “relax into the groundlessness” and step into courage.

Let go of the fear/hope and step into a new kind of relationship with yourself. It definitely will not be easy but it could be something amazing.

 

Awakwardly, I write

Writing here, it’s still awkward. “They” would tell me not to let you know that I think that. But I do.

I haven’t really found my voice yet. I know the depth of what I want to say. Feel it with every fiber of my being. If I could express in words the feelings I have when it comes to what I want to share the world would be a magical place. I just don’t know how to say it…yet. There’s a slight disconnect between the words in my head, the thoughts in my heart and what comes out on the screen.

The speaking voice in my head, which is usually the ideas from my heart are spoken poetically. It normally sounds lyrical and slow. Like singing but only speaking. Some what like Danielle LaPorte. What can I say she has a great speaking voice and a way with words.

But then there’s that other voice that says ‘Um, no. That last part there – it’s just no good. You should really delete that’

I try hard to not listen to that voice because

…as soon as I begin censoring myself, I close off my heart to what I think is the greatest gift we have to share with each other. The gift to tell my story and the chance to connect with you.

So I push through that negative feeling of not being good enough and just allow it to be okay. This process is a gift and it is a joy to be in it. Even though its awkward. Even though its not easy.

Finding my way, finding the voice of this space and for myself – it’s a terrifying and joyful experience. It’s painful and at the same time it feels right. I’ve wanted to step into this space but held myself back because I didn’t feel prepared. Here’s the truth:

There is no such thing as prepared. You’ve got to just muddle your way through. Do (write) stuff that just okay and before you know it, its good and maybe even great.

Want more proof? read this

No Words

I wanted to write a long, beautifully written post but I just do not have the words.

I wanted to clean up, finish and make beautiful a draft but the thoughts could not connect.

It seems I have a different message to share today I just don’t know what that is. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I am doing here. There is this powerful message I want to share, express and give back into the world. But its spoken form escapes me.

All I can do is continue to try to bring light to the ideas inside me. I see the potential for this space and at times it makes me feel inadequate. Over my head is putting it lightly.

Yet every little thing has been leading up to this. Its why I am restless. It’s why I procrastinate so horribly. It is why I forgot my self-care and avoid the things I want to do. For a time it is possible to hide from the thing we are meant to do. You could even do it your whole life. But you will always know, always feel inside you that you were so close to being, so close to doing something amazing.

No matter what you believe, all we have is this moment, this existence now. This is not something I like to think about often, but it is important. I struggle to put forth the ideas that are in my head. Avoiding it would be easy. Partly that is what my procrastination is, my every other thing is keeping me busy so that “project” can just wait. But this is not a project.

Part of me feels like this is what my life was leading up to and what the rest of my life is meant for. It is not just building a practice. It is finding a new way of teaching. A new way to be an example. For myself. For my little girl. A parents earnest wish is that their children don’t ever have to struggle. As much as I would want that, I know that it is an impossible wish.

Instead I hope that I can help her see a better way to walk her path. One that is full of missteps and left turns. But also one of secret gardens, hidden paths and wonderful adventures. My greatest wish is that she walks her path with a sense of clarity that doesnt come from knowing where she is going but merely from knowing that she is enjoying the path.

If there has to be a meaning to life I think it has to be exactly that. Walk the path, enjoy the way. Everything else is just the view along the way.

It’s all just a work in progress

I am flawed and feeling vulnerable.

Anytime you start something new its always a terrifying experience. In the past I’d give myself the same pep-talk:

Head High, shoulders back. Walk like you own it and then it won’t feel so new.

Whatever it happened to be. And it worked most of the time. Sure there were still the jitters of newness. But hidden behind that message that this was just one step on the path. Newness wears off eventually and what once was hard becomes a part of your routine. What happens though when taking one step forward turns into walking blindly? Ignoring the many paths that life throws our way instead to chase after a routine that is no longer your own.

set a goal, make a goal make a new goal set a goal, dont make the goal make a new goal its a never ending race

You know that dream you have where you are trying to get somewhere and you just keep going and going but the road is moving and you just don’t seem to be getting anywhere that’s kinda what it feels like when we are constantly just looking for that “the end”

When we are looking for “When I reach this I will be complete “When I reach this I will be done “When I reach this – this will happen but then it really doesn’t. it never works out the way you think its going to – good or bad.  – that is inevitable.

However here my secret to life – It’s okay.

It’s okay that things feel hard and like you are not going to be able to get through it, until you do. It’s okay that the outcome is never how we expect.

Life is just funny that way. I think in this way life is really just a series of events. That anything we do is really never complete. Little things are complete – but life is always just one big journey. A series of work in progress..

Work in Progress art

We are much better off seeing it to be a work in progress. Whatever it is that you are working on. Wouldn’t it be more fun to say:

I’m trying to do that, I’m working on it. I don’t know when its going to be done – but its fun. I consider it a work in progress

It means that it doesn’t have to be perfect It means that it can be good and it can be great

And more importantly: It does not have to be anything more then what you want it to be.

When you commit to being a work in progress you are saying that you are capable of doing whatever because you know that there is no end point to your learning, there is no end point to your adventure There is no end point to what you can accomplish So you can set the goal, you can have a deadline – but instead of saying when I get x done this will happen say:

this is just one path on my journey and then I am going to follow a different path: its all a work in progress.

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