The State of Joy
Thursday, February 16, 2012
"The state of inner beauty, the state of joy, is experienced when the way you are and the way you want to be is one and the same."
A few weeks back--probably 40 days, as a matter of fact--someone on the IOWL yahoo group posted a link to a 90-Day Mastery Challenge. Each day, you get an assignment to contemplate something. I find that it meshes very well with the path I've been on with IOWL--reinforcing ideas, or shedding a new light on concepts I've been working on.
Sometimes the idea is something I feel like applying to situations throughout the day (often regarding how I want to deal with certain people at work! LOL!). Sometimes--like today--it's something that touches my heart. When I heard these opening lines this morning, I felt a grin spreading across my face.
"Joy" is not a word I often used with myself until around 2.5 years ago. If I did, I thought of it as a momentary feeling, accompanying a major life-cycle event or other special occasion. But more and more, I've felt it as... a way of life? Hmmm. That feels a little too strong--but it is something I can feel on a regular basis, even over the simplest things, like listening to birds squabbling outside my door, or watching the sun and the clouds casting patches of shade and light over the flowering hillside.
As I became aware that I could feel this on a plain old ordinary day, I started seeking it--setting my intent to invite in joy even if I was leaving at the crack of dawn for a long day at the office.
But hearing this definition, that joy "is experienced when the way you are and the way you want to be is one and the same", made me feel so happy this morning. Not because I am always that way, with this "oneness" of goal and being. But because I can tell I'm on the right path.
"Are you how you want to be?"
Let's play with definitions.... I want to be making progress towards being my best self. And I am. I am challenging myself at work--something I was always afraid to do. I am making time for the things I truly want to do--especially singing. Singing truly gives me joy.... I feel less and less struggle between work and home. Less struggle in a lot of areas. Less "shoulding" myself. Overall, I'm more forgiving of myself, which seems to have a lot more to do with all these other areas than I ever would have expected.
This question actually gave me a double-vision image. I saw two "MEs" superimposed--the present me, and the how-I-want-to-be me. I saw them over time, coming closer and closer. I saw the present--that there's a shifting, where sometimes they're totally aligned, and sometimes they're a little off, but even when they're off, it's not by much.
"If you are not what you want to be, contemplate how you have become something other than what you want to be."
First word that pops into my head? Expectations. Setting my own expectations so high I don't try to do things that I would enjoy. Doing things based on what I think other people expect of me.
The next word would be fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of having to ask questions, ask for help. Fear of rejection.
But even as I contemplate these things, I realize how much progress I've made at facing the fears. At questioning the expectations.
For that matter, I think I've made progress at questioning the question. What do I want to be? I used to spend so much time trying to answer this in terms of being a mother, a wife, a friend, an employee, a technical writer, a [insert more nouns from a long list of things that I am]. But what I really want to be... is happy. Relaxed. Content.
I wonder if the fact that I'm able to feel that joy more often is because I've shifted the focus from what I want to do... to how I want to feel?
90-Day Mastery Challenge http://bit.ly/ziVZ7w
(One of the nice things about this is that if you miss a day, the next day you get a reminder and a link to the one you missed, instead of just getting a new link, and a feeling of guilt for being behind. I think it'll take me 100 days overall. I also don't know if I would be enjoying this as much if I hadn't already started down the path towards contemplating these issues one way or another.)