The last few weeks Joy Journals have taken you on a journey of clearing and connecting with your inner spirit as a way to better hear its messages. Hopefully, your intuition has sharpened and your joy centre has been awakened. So now what? It’s one thing to live a joyful life of self-discovery and self-empowerment, but if you are only looking inside and not outside, in my opinion you have only accomplished about half of what you signed up for in this lifetime. Joy without action can make you passive and myopic. And I don’t believe that at this perilous time in our history, you can afford to sit back without fulfilling your mission. That’s why learning how to tune into your spirit can help you remember living in the fullness of your joy so that you can express your purpose through every intentional action that you take. Let me tell you my story.
Something else I love when wandering through or near the forest, is the sound of the wind rustling the leaves and branches. In Denise Linn’s guidebook for her Native Spirit Oracle Cards, she talks about receiving messages through the Air Spirit. Denise explains that many indigenous people believe that the winds carry information from the sacred realms. And that when you’re outdoors, you should stop and take a moment to notice the feel of the wind on your skin. To me, that is Spirit trying to get my attention. And when I take time to listen with my ears and my heart, I am “in spirit”. That’s when my intuition is heightened, and my clarity of purpose is strengthened.
A remarkable thing happened on my wellness journey to losing 85 pounds. Not only did my body return to its natural self, but my intuition sharpened when my spirit gradually became liberated from the internal and external clutter I had been carrying for decades. You see for me, losing weight wasn’t simply about esthetics. It was about a complete wellness detox - mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I knew it had to encompass the whole package or it couldn’t be sustainable. So why am I telling you all this? Because I believe that when you rid yourself of the layers of attachments – be they body fat, emotional habits, addictive behaviors, protective fortresses, or even toxic relationships, we allow our true spirit to be exposed where it can finally see the light that points the way. That’s where the real joy lives. And it’s all about the joy.
Because this month’s Being Joy™ habit is to Be in Spirit, I thought you might wonder what the difference is between the word “spirit” and “Spirit”. When I talk about the upper-case word “Spirit”, I am referring to the Great Spirit, the Creator, the Divine, the Universe, God, or whatever term you use to explain the origin of all that is. I will often say “Spirit guided me to this opportunity.” Or “I love it how the Universe conspires on my behalf.” Or simply “Thank you God”. But when I talk about the lower case “spirit” I am referring to the inner you – your authentic self, the part of your being that is uniquely you, your life-force. Sometimes the word spirit and soul are used interchangeably.
A few years ago, while busy preparing to make a huge Easter dinner for my family, my kitchen faucet broke. So that meant I wouldn’t have water in my kitchen to finish preparing the meal and for clean up. What to do? Thankfully, I had been raised to believe there was always a way. You just need to get creative! We had to MacGyver it by attaching a garden hose with duct tape to the bathroom faucet which was right off the kitchen and then ran it into the kitchen sink so I could finish the rest of the meal prep. The clean up was the messy bit – it took hours with all the running back forth between the bathroom and the kitchen.
I was watching one of those baking competitions on TV the other night, and while being interviewed during the episode, one of the contestants boasted about being a perfectionist. She claimed that because she had such high standards and that nothing would do unless it was perfect, that made her a great baker. As it turned out, she got so flustered when things didn’t go her way that she barely finished and ended up presenting a dessert that was not something she could be proud of. She was eliminated from the competition. You see, perfection is never attainable. There will always be something you can pick apart if you really want to. And as the quote above so beautiful illustrates, this poor contestant became so demoralized, that she was not even able to do her best, let alone get anywhere close to the standard she had set for herself.
How can you feel completely satisfied within yourself and your present circumstances while at the same time have desires for the future? Aren’t they conflicting feelings? Yes and no. This is what I mean. To live in the peaceful expression of joy, you must appreciate the now - where you’re standing at this very moment. Whether it’s what you want or not, you’ve created this reality through your thoughts. So the sooner you acknowledge and appreciate all the lessons which have led to the person you are today, the sooner you will lean into the high vibration of peaceful satisfaction. Only then can you freely desire without attachment, which as suggested by The Buddha, is the root of suffering. As I often heard Deepak Chopra say, “Be open to everything and attached to nothing.” Powerful wisdom to live by.
Trying to live up to other people’s expectations or pretend that their life is better than yours is one of the fastest ways to feel inadequate. Believing in the illusion of perfection can bring a lifetime of doubt and anxiety as you chase after the greener grass on the other side. But the reality is that the grass is pretty good where you are right now. And it’s your grass. So why not be satisfied now? People often ask me; how can I be satisfied with things the way they are when I want to do and have so much more. My answer is simple. Until you can feel satisfied with where you are right now, feeling appreciative of all the things that contributed to your life at this moment, you will be at the mercy of your Ego’s need for continual validation. Ego will say: you should have done better, you should be more like her, you aren’t good enough. Those are the very feelings that will sabotage your desires. It’s about being satisfied now.
We’ve all been through a lot these past few months. I heard someone say recently that once we all resurface after the pandemic, you’ll either be a hunk, a chunk, or a drunk. It made me laugh! No matter what category you might fit into (or none of them), own it and accept that’s where you are right now. Be kind to yourself instead of berating your tender soul. Appreciate that you did the best you could under the circumstances. Be grateful for your resilience. Be satisfied. Right now, good enough is good enough. Now that doesn’t mean you necessarily want to stay there if you want change. Desiring change is natural. It’s just that you shouldn’t be attached to the outcome. Being satisfied means that you’re o.k. with where you are right now. You’re not chasing perfection in what you do or who you are. It’s o.k. and you’re o.k. Give yourself a break. Good enough is good enough.
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to remind you of how interdependent we are on a global scale! You’ve likely heard of the butterfly theory that suggests how the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can impact the weather thousands of miles away. In an April 14, 2020 Fast Company article by Parag Khanna and Karan Khemka, they reinforce this concept even further, with sobering predictions for the future by saying, “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect describes a small change that can have massive, unpredictable consequences. An insect flaps its wings and, weeks later, causes a tornado. The coronavirus is more like an earthquake, with aftershocks that will permanently reshape the world.” If there ever was a time to take our heads out of the sand and realize that we are indeed connected, now is the time!