Letting the Joy loose


So. I’m still waiting to find out about the big project. And towards the end of yesterday I identified the original untrue thought that which I believed to be true initially and which caused me a lot of distress. The thought was more than ‘I want this job’, it was ‘I need this job’. And as soon as I questioned that thought to the degree that I saw it was untrue, I was released from much of the anguish I was putting myself through.

Today I’m going to price the next job waiting. And that is a further statement to my scared brain that we can move on and all will be well. And it will.

There’s a quote from Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now ( which I watched last night) along the lines of ‘don’t believe what others think, don’t believe what you think’. This is where much of our salvation lies. So I release the belief in the fear inducing thought that ‘I need this job’, (and all its scary little imagined nightmares of not having work, having to tell the guys they are out of a job etc) and what is there?

Joy. The simple joy of being free. Of breathing. Of this silent morning. The comfort of a nice chair , a pleasant temperature and a cup of tea with honey. Of being alive right now. Of an abundant opportunity to feel, to love, to create. Choices, options, doors open.

Releasing the grip of the fearful thoughts and a world of possibility appears, and everything opens up again.

What is apparent to me when the quiet simple joy of being arises, is that it was always there. It hasn’t been created by me doing anything other than getting out my own way. It sits there all the time, it is a natural inherent state.

I noticed the other day when waves of joy appeared that I started getting antsy and nervy after a while. It was a longer wave of joy this time, and when this happens it seems to confuse a nervous system more used to struggle and anxiety. Is this safe, can I trust this….

I feel this is worth mentioning. I’ve found that it’s not just a case of questioning ones distress producing thoughts…..there’s a nervous system accustomed to being strained to always be on alert for threat. To look out for problems, to not fully trust joy…..after all, we may let out guard down and that would be dangerous.

So the body requires some reassuring attention too. Grounding real physical experiences that communicate safety to a nervous system wound up tightly in anticipation of pain. The nervous system used to being ‘on alert’ needs to be retrained to feel safe or it will create a sense of danger and induce the mind to imagine a problem and doom thoughts that tempt a further fearful response result.

Here’s a few that work for me. And I’d like to add to the list.

– Breathing properly – fear causes shallow breathing and even breath holding. Breathing deeply communicates that we are safe to the body and mind. It can come off a state of ‘alert’ and relax. So lying in the back, place hand on stomach and if breathing correctly the hand moves up and down.

– Walking consciously – also known as mindful walking. Slowing the pace right right down and feel the feet and the muscles in the legs as the weight is transferred from foot to foot. While breathing slowly.

Removing shoes and walking across the grass feeling the solid earth under the feet. Allowing the breath to slow down

– Just noticing when we feel safe. I say inside or even better out loud, ‘Right now I am safe, I am well, thank you’. And take a deep breath.

– Gardening, cooking, grooming the dog, designing something, taking beautiful photos. All grounding and soothing for the body and not too heady.

– Mindfulness Body scan. Mindfulness on its own can be tricky for those on high alert, especially with a history of trauma present in the body. A more gentle form of mindfulness are physical based, such as the body scan or mindful walking.

– Connection with nature in general – a walk through the woods, by a stream, letting the sounds and sights be noticed

– Music – connecting to the body though music that speaks to your body. For me that is music that makes me want to move, and moving or dancing to music works well for me.

– Hoponopono – I find it instantly soothing to say ‘ I am sorry, I love you, please forgive me, thank you’. I say this to myself, to others, to the world out there. It’s me acknowledging my part in creating the suffering out there and in here.

– Physical touch like having a massage – well, pre covid that was was okay. And now I might give myself a little hug, or put my hand on my heart and breath. Or acknowledge and say thanks to my feet and ankles and legs and other body bits while washing in the shower.

– Using a mindfulness mantra, and setting an intention of wellbeing for myself and others can be helpful when we are not used to allowing it. ‘May I be well, may I be happy, may I be safe, may I be at ease’.

‘May we be well, may we be happy, may we be safe, may we be at ease’.

2 Comments

  1. I can relate in a profound way to that “I need to or else” mental process. Apparently this is a primal instinct in people who didn’t feel properly protected as children. Our brains developed wiring in such a way as to make up for not being protected and that means being on alert all the time. Trying to identify and anticipate potential pain or danger. The good part is it looks like you’re finding good ways to work through it!

    Liked by 1 person

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