Yes, these are highly unprecedented times for the world. Aside from a global pandemic, in the U.S. we're painfully aware of much deeper issues of polarity and division that are nothing less than astonishing.
My question is: despite all of the challenges we are facing, along with continuing to shelter at home at least for a few more months, is it possible to still conjure up joy through it all?
My answer is: Yes, I believe it's possible! And I want to share a story with you about what helped me reconnect to a hidden source of joy recently. Maybe it will inspire you to discover it for yourself as well.
So, what's the secret of making your life SPARKLE with joy, energy and enthusiasm, even in the midst of this stay-at-home pandemic and global turmoil?
Actually, the fact that we're needing to stay home and tighten up precautions again, as we enter the winter months and an ensuing rise in COVID exposures looms ahead, it's crucial that you give this wonderful gift to yourself, for your sanity and peace of mind, your well-being and deep, deep self-care.
I won't drag this out, and I'll get to the secret right now. Ready for it?
You need to:
Give yourself PERMISSION
to FOLLOW YOUR JOY
Simple, yet not necessarily easy. The two key words are: PERMISSION (as in guilt-free) and EVERY day, not just once in a while.
(Watch the VIDEO BELOW to see what happened when I let myself do that. Gulp.)
For some of us, though it may sound wonderful and logical, it can actually be a challenge to let ourselves do that. You know why?
Many people don't really know what actually, TRULY, makes them joyful.
I know! How can that be?
Well, the kind of JOY I'm talking about is the type that feeds your soul, that lights you up, that generates energy and vitality when you engage with it. The kind of unbridled JOY that makes you get up earlier in the morning just so you can go do that "thing."
It's easy for many of us, myself included, to get "busy" with life, with work, with duty and responsibility, even though our lives have changed and so many of us are homebound. We do what we think we NEED to do, vs. what are soul is asking us to engage in.
What would it be like if you gave yourself permission to 100% follow your JOY, for one whole week? Or if you're an over-achiever like I am, for 30 days? What do you think would happen if you truly allowed yourself to do what you LOVE, what makes you feel happy to the core and fulfilled at the deepest level?
Some of you immediately went into: Yeah, right. And who's gonna pay my bills? Or, that would be so irresponsible! Or whatever your brain tells you, which is what's been keeping you from truly experiencing joy at the deepest level. Until Now.
Interesting, right? How we can so easily talk ourselves OUT of doing something wonderful, before we even start!
Yep, of course bills are important. Not asking you to let yourself fall into debt (or more debt...) I'm saying, if there is some leeway in your finances to allow yourself to PLAY a little bit, do yourself the favor of giving yourself full permission to do it!
And if money IS a concern for you, I encourage you to figure out how to incorporate JOY into your life every day, even if just for 30-60 minutes.
Who's got time for that, you ask?
If that's you, let me lovingly remind you that you GOTTA make time for that. NOTHING is more important than this.
You know why? 'Cause with everything that's been going on in the world, you need to give yourself a break from the insanity, and nurture your soul in ways that will truly lift your spirits to new heights. For your sake, and everyone else around you.
Yes or Yes?
MY STORY (sad but with a happy ending.)
I recently decided to give myself 30 guilt-free days to follow my JOY; the pressure of world events and, yes, the "doingness" of my business was feeling constrictive and robbing me of it.
Surprisingly, it was much harder than I had anticipated. The first week I felt guilty that I wasn't working. Shouldn't I be doing this or that? I slowly let myself DO nothing. My body truly needed a break.
Then I tried to connect with my inner joy, and it wasn't immediately apparent what that was or how to find it (and I teach people how to do that!) "What do you LOVE to do that you haven't allowed yourself to do for a long while?" I asked myself.
I wasn't sure right away. Luckily, I'm a multi-passionate person and there are many things I love to do. But what is the ONE thing I really missed?
The answer surprised me: singing!
What? You sing?
Yep, exactly. Who knew? It's been THAT long.
For a while, I used to be a singer. Hardly anyone in my current circle of friends and acquaintances knows that about me. I used to sing at Sunday Services, musical theater and I've recorded five CD's. It seems like a lifetime ago.
IN ONE MOMENT MY VOICE VANISHED
In 1995 an event changed all of that in an instant when my former partner ended his life tragically after a long and very difficult experience with cancer.
I was beyond devastated. My life was turned upside down in the worst way possible, and I literally shut down inside myself for a couple of years.
And, my singing voice vanished. Poof!
I literally couldn't reconnect to the part of me that had the wherewithal to sing, for decades! If I tried to make a sound, nothing would come out. On top of everything else, losing my voice was a devastating loss for me.
I've tried to revive that aspect of me, and though now life is filled with miracles and blessings, and I'm very grateful for all of it, that singing part of me has remained dormant for the most part.
Until a few weeks ago. When I decided to give myself permission to play and follow my JOY.
I started playing around with a recording app on my computer, playing piano, and singing again! It's brought bright colors into my life again (not that it needed more color!) The kind of color that suffuses my entire being.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED
It's not that I will magically become an instant singing sensation; that's neither the point nor my intention. It's that by allowing myself to connect to my JOY for 30 days, I've now decided to extend that period of time indefinitely, and through the permission I gave myself, all kinds of other incredible creative opportunities are opening up for me.
The result? I can honestly say I haven't felt this excited and creative and "in the flow" in years! And every cell in my body is suffused with enthusiasm, spilling over into every other area of my life.
Do you think that feeling has positive ramifications in my health and well-being? Absolutely! In every way. It's a boost to my immune system, my perspective and everything else.
And all it took was: Giving myself permission to explore where my JOY wanted to lead me!
So, here's a question for you. If you were to give yourself permission, what is the call that your soul is asking of you? What would bring you the biggest sense of JOY right now?
Yes, obviously, you need to discover what that may be for you within the confines of current safety protocols, and perhaps something you can explore from home.
I URGE you, and ENCOURAGE you, to give yourself this gift. Just as an experiment to see where it may lead you. Are you willing?
I hope so.
A FEW PROMPTS TO GET YOU STARTED.
Write the answers to these questions in your journal and let yourself go as deeply as you need to to get to the nitty-gritty:
1. Is there anything you regret not having done yet in your life?
2. What did you love to do when you were younger that made time fly by?
3. What is your secret love?
Start there and see where it leads you. Don't worry about the HOW, just connect to the WHAT for now, OK?