Happy July, from my garden to you!
Where are you finding beauty and joy in your life these days? Are you seeking them?
What motivates you? Is it moving AWAY from fear? Or moving TOWARD joy? For me, sometimes it’s one or it’s the other, but what I’ve noticed is that I always feel better when I’m moving toward joy.
I spent decades moving away from fear, or trying to, but fear was always calling the shots, telling me what to do. I thought my obedience was a sign of dedication. It wasn’t. It was an act of self-abandonment.
I didn’t allow myself to have joy because joy was lazy. Joy meant I wasn’t working. Not working meant guilt and shame. I was the embodied victim of my own ideas around what I was supposed to be doing and how that was supposed to feel. When I didn’t feel joyful, I just worked harder at it all, waiting for it to feel good.
I’m grateful that my body and mind grew weary of the guilt and shame. As I began paying attention to the role I was playing in my own unhappiness, I was able to put aside my own stories and fears around the ideas of what was supposed to make me happy and instead, started really noticing what actually did make me feel joyful.
And finally, I allowed myself to feel joy. I gave myself permission.
While suffering is certainly a part of life, and I do love me some Buddhism, I don’t believe it’s our purpose. I don’t believe pain is the reason for being alive. I believe we have to be intentional about why we do what we do and pay attention what it actually feels like in our bodies, not the ideas we have of what it should look or feel like. The body never lies. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
Yesterday, I read this quote by Martha Beck:
“If a problem looks difficult, relax. If it looks impossible, relax even more. Then begin encouraging small changes, putting just enough pressure on yourself to move one turtle step forward. Then rest, savor, celebrate. Then step again. You’ll find that slow is fast, gentle is powerful, and stillness moves mountains.“
Flowers bring me joy. Flowers and natural beauty help me slow down so I can hear myself.
What allows you to feel joy? How can you get more of that?