In her own words:
“JOY is your birthright. PAUSE.
Notice what happened in your body when you read that first sentence. You might have felt a HECK YES!!! Or something more like I DON’T BUY IT! Both of those reactions are valid. Our life experiences give us so much feedback about what it means to be joyful, who deserves to be joyful, how joy is earned, and when it is appropriate or not to express your joy. How many of us have been told we were “too much” “too loud” or to “SHHHHH” when we were younger because it wasn’t convenient or comfortable for others to witness our joyful expressions of happiness, creativity, and wonder? As we get older, joy can become more elusive. We find more reasons to feel joyless. We look outside of ourselves for validation and gratification. We worry about the future and rehash the past over and over until it pops up in our present-day to remind us that we just haven’t learned the lesson yet.
So, where is this joy hiding itself? The first thing we have to remember is that it is not OUTSIDE of us. As cute as our new shoes are, as long as our new lashes look and as sparkly the diamond on our finger is, I can tell you joy is not hiding there. The place to look is inside.
Teachings from the philosophy of yoga tell us there is a radiant effulgence inside every one of us. That light resides at the heart center and is said to be beyond all sorrow. This brilliant luminescence within us is beyond all conditioning and circumstances of our life. By concentrating on this light, we connect to a place of deep and everlasting joy that is always present. Joy has been there all along.
Here’s a short meditation that will help you to begin to turn your attention inward and bring awareness to the heart center.
Find a quiet place to sit, in a chair, cross-legged on the floor, or lying down if it is more comfortable. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and exhale out with an audible sigh. – Three times Feel as though you are releasing tension and stress each time you exhale. Notice your body breathing. Let go of trying to control the breath and watch the breath in and out. Feel the breath the moment it enters the nostrils, notice the temperature is cool, notice the exhale is warm- 1 minute As you inhale mentally (silently), repeat the sound SOOOOOO. As you exhale, mentally repeat HAMMMMM. Feel as though the sound vibration is riding on your breath. SOOOOOOOO as you inhale. HAMMMMM as you exhale. 3 minutes.
(So Hum means “I am that”) Let go of repeating the sounds. Bring your attention to the center of your chest. Let your awareness rest there as you continue to breathe. Feel as though you are breathing in and out from the center of the chest. Feel as though each breath leads you deeper inward toward a radiant light of inner joy.
Let go of striving. Be present with the breath. 3 minutes.
Try this practice for 40 consecutive days!” Find your JOY!
Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!***