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Reconnecting with joy

Do you ever really ponder joy?

It’s funny, I create reminders of “happiness” all over my environments. I’m a believer.

It’s functional and choosing it has worked in my life to achieve more than the circumstances I come from.

But for some reason, the term “joy” has always sent me into a rather pissy state.

It’s always seemed unseen, elusive and loose. Kind of like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.

That was until...

At the beginning of 2017, I set out to launch this brand. After an unforeseen (yet foreseen) series of events that swept away the matriarch who instilled many of the values this brand was to be built around…my launch date was the LAST thing on my mind.

Several months of grief, and then coming face to face with knowing that the only way forward would be in finally seeing and owning how I had been retreating in my own life.

My face was universally RUBBED in the fact that I had been defeated…by myself. Maybe another aspect of myself, but…by myself.

Maybe another aspect of myself, but…by myself.

In that dark and ugly way, where the fear has been so unseen and unacknowledged that it now appears (like a scene out of Stranger Things), as I cower in the corner in complete disbelief, shooting slingshots, in terror over what’s been created.

Then, just as quickly as it appears, flashforward – the scene in front of me vanishes, and I’m right back in the numb and dumb state I was before.

But now with questions…

What is the opposite of this kind of fear?

Joy? What is joy?

And how can I reconnect with it?

Daunting space, right?

This past week, I started a 90-day challenge that surprisingly has been a big game changer. Surprising, because this type of challenge isn’t so much of a challenge or motivation to me. Cynicism or not, I’ve never been one for the “ra ra” in this.

This time around though, it’s been the right people, time and place to really see the beauty and efficiency in the small steps. And the predetermined consequence. A consequence that you set for yourself, should you not deliver. Make it uncomfortable and undesirable enough, and watch the magic that happens. 🙂

This first week in the challenge has held a lot of victories and has also been massively challenging. Through it all though, the points I’m about to share with you have been the most actively worked with, and the most impactful. These three action areas have given me an access point this week to engage with the light and the darkness, but looking through a different lens. It is my intention to give you an aspect of the same.

So here are the goods:

1. Strip down to the basics

Look at the areas of your life that mean something to you. Your family, your finances, and career, your passions, relationships. Identify one goal in each area where you can really give focus. For each goal and identify the small actions you can begin taking daily and weekly, and find someone or something to keep you accountable to the actions.

For the group of us participating in this challenge, it’s all about creating a consequence. One day missed, and it’s a financially uncomfortable donation to the charity of choice.

One week into this, and I can share that these actions have served as points of guidance, clarity and insight, through the day and week. Rather than being in “retreat” mode to stay away from the big ugly beast of darkness, the focus has changed to tackling these small steps to have more energy, feel more connected and launch a brand and message that is aligned with my purpose.

Do you see how the conscious brain loves this?

There’s nothing to fight with.

I’m not attempting to conquer the beast. I’ve simply chosen daily and weekly actions that allow me to create bridges to each step between the emotions that I’ve felt, and a genuine connection with joy.

2. Check in with yourself

This is one of the simplest and most overlooked things we can do for ourselves. It’s easy to get lost inside our heads and inside of circumstances. As women, many of us experience a tendency for self-sacrifice, putting everything and everyone before ourselves. The consequences of this ultimately lead to feeling drained, disconnected and not present. Nowhere for joy in that, right?

Check in with yourself throughout the day. Try these questions on next time you’re in this space…

How does energy feel for me right now?

How is my mental state right now?

Am I taking the most purposeful actions in this area of interest?

Get the answers and then course-correct. If you’re feeling tired, then go for a walk. If you’re feeling disconnected, connect with a friend or loved one. If you’re feeling unfocused, take some time out for mindfulness or meditation. YOU ARE THE CONDUCTOR.

3. Express yourself daily in some way

How often we lose sight of the compounding impact of the actions we take, and how that creates what we experience of joy.

Spend time daily, reflecting on the things that mean the most to you. Think about your desired outcomes and write about them. Explore the darkness in doses that work for you and express it in some way.

Marianne Williamson speaks about the concept of  ‘acknowledgement and atonement’  being fundamental steps to move through and release the beliefs, ideas and actions that aren’t serving us.

The daily acknowledgment, or “surrender”, happens now, in daily journaling. And the atonement happens in meditation or listening.

Take time to reflect on the moments in your life in a curious, non-judgemental way, and you’ll find far more points of joy.

There you have it. So stupidly simple, yet without mustering that divine masculine energy of fortitude, simply impossible.

And that’s a big point here, and probably one of my biggest observations over the last week.

Joy feels elusive at certain points in our lives, and we can set these expectations of some airy fairy occurrence that MUST happen in our lives to finally find it.

The truth is, it’s everywhere.

However, in a time of overwhelm, distraction and busy-ness, our challenge is to develop the internal fortitude to actually see it. Sometimes this is the only shift required.

Bottomline, this week I’ve found these three commitments to be an instant clearing for experiencing tiny morsels of joy over the last week.  While tiny, they serve as sturdy bridges, and without bridges along the way, we’re left with no other choice but to retreat. When we retreat, we’re not truly experiencing who we are. In proactively participating in every experience of my life, right now, I’m able to pinpoint the joy as it appears.

Have joy-driven action steps for The Lady Hustle tribe? Leave a comment!

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