Imagine you’re in a dark room, so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your face. You turn around trying to get your bearings and see a small light in the distance. You walk over, arms outstretched careful not to run into anything or anyone. You get closer to the light and realize that you’re standing in front of a window with the shade pulled down. You pull open the shade and you’re temporarily blinded by the light, but your eyes adjust quickly.
Outside are rolling green hills speckled with an array of yellow wild flowers. You open the window and you smell the ocean before you hear its waves crashing on the rocks at the bottom of a distant cliff. The sky is cornflower blue and the high sun is touching the country side so that everything is tinged gold. You hear birds singing as they fly overhead, and a warm breeze caresses your skin…Joy.
Joy is natural when you leave the darkness of suffering behind you. For me, it’s been a journey. I try and remember the woman who hated everything about herself and I can’t find her. Thank God.
There are three keys that have helped me unlock my Joy:
- Self-awareness through meditative self-inquiry. While I’ve had spiritual teachers, wisdom women, and mentors come into my life, but most of the big leaps happened through the simple process of meditative self-inquiry.
Self-inquiry is important because you own the changes. No one can give you self-awareness, you develop it by walking consciously towards the light.
Journaling can be a form of self-inquiry when done with the intention of self-discovery. But my favorite is a series of 5 questions that I call the JoyCode™. I’ve used these questions for myself and with my clients with tremendous results. They unlock your ability to speak to the wisdom inherent within you. They are:
- What am I feeling? Here you name the feeling, such as anger, sadness, guilt, depression, etc…
- Where am I feeling it? Locate the feeling in the body.
- Why am I feeling it? Here is where you name the situation that you believe is causing the feeling. For example: My partner cheated on me, OR I lost all of my money, OR I have cancer.
- What does that (situation) mean about me? For example: “My partner cheated on me, what does that mean about me?” Another way to ask is, “Because my partner cheated on me that means I’m…” This question unlocks the story that is the true cause of your suffering.
- Is that true? Use the answer from question 4. For example, perhaps during your inquiry, “Because my partner cheated on me, that means I’m unlovable.” While being completely present in the body, you ask “Is that true?” You feel your way to the answer. That’s why this is a meditation. It’s likely that you’ll feel a conflict, but as you breathe, you’ll receive internal validation that in fact you are LOVE, you are WHOLE, you are PERFECT, you are COMPLETE, you are JOY.
This technique is so powerful because you need to be absolutely present, breathing into the questions, releasing on a cellular and unconscious level, and viola! Your Joy Unlocks.
- A curious spirit is the next key. You are beautiful and fascinating. By being curious about what’s going on inside of you instead of being judgmental about your situation or state of mind, you invite the Spirit of Wisdom in to help you. This isn’t a straight line, self-awareness is a windy road, full of marvelous adventure.
- A sense of humor. Oh yes, you can’t take it all so seriously. You are bound to make mistakes. Would you get mad at a baby for falling while learning how to walk? No, you protect her, laugh with joy at her determination, and coo at her adorableness. We are all learners and adventurers here, so why be mad at yourself? Laugh, coo, protect, and love!