I’m glad you are here!
I’m glad you’re here… here with me now and here on this planet. (I’m glad I’m not alone in this!)
We have a lot of work to do to heal the wounds of our actions as imperfect humans for sure, but we also have a lot to be grateful for and cause for a lot of JOY.
Brene Brown is a social researcher and teacher on shame and vulnerability. Brene (I like to think of us as friends, although we’ve never met) taught me the concept of foreboding joy. The idea that we stop ourselves from fully feeling joy because, we fear its inevitable ending. All things end. It’s as true for experiences of joy as it is for struggles and hardships. This too shall pass. Funny how it brings less comfort during times of joy but I rely heavily on it during trials and tribulations.
Brene offers numerous anecdotal evidence in her work describing how we routinely deny ourselves the beauty and power of joy. For example,
- We hesitate to fully feel joy because it doesn’t feel right to have joy when others suffer.
- We resist enjoying the moment, knowing this too shall pass, just waiting for the next trauma, crisis, or sadness to hit.
- Our want-to-fit-in brains convince us that if I’m joyous, others will see me as heartless to the cause?
Gratitude and joy are practices we learn through our efforts to feel into them, to really dive into the senses of the body and the emotions of the heart. We aren’t born naturally with these skills. We aren’t born with any skills at all! We have to learn them, and learning requires that we practice. What we practice grows in competence and confidence, sometimes we get so comfortable in what we practice it feels “natural”. So I ask: Is it kind? Is it necessary? It is truthful?
When I invite you to connect with joy and open to gratitude (I hope I don’t need to explain myself, but just in case), I’m attempting to support you in holding two truths simultaneously: Life is good. We have a lot of work to do.
Life IS good. That truth is not negated by the challenges and imperfection and out-right horror stories endured by so many.
Life IS hard. This truth is not negated by the ease we experience from our diligent practice, study and efforts to learn ways of being in our world.
As humans, we are inherently imperfect. That’s why we practice! We have to learn HOW to do life well. We have to learn the habits that effectively communicate our best intentions and share our fundamental goodness. We have to learn HOW to LOVE! I call it Inspired Living. I’ve named it my life’s work!
The practices of gratitude and cultivating joy are not denial strategies or tricks for hiding the ugly from view. They are practices in learning HOW TO LOVE.
They may be coping strategies, yes, but they are specific, research proven strategies for helping us to live our best lives… and that includes doing the hard work of learning, un-learning, doing and un-doing the wrongs of our individual and communal story and learning to actively love ourselves and each other.
Regardless of your current skill level, you are capable of learning new things. So here’s your invitation. Can you learn to live joy?
Life is LOVE.