This Joy Blog marks the beginning of my new way of being in the world. Throughout my life, writing has led me deeper into awareness and understanding, but always under the cloak of a more solitary intimacy. However over the past several years, an inner push to “come out into the world” resulted in my book From Now to WOW — Step by Step, An Invitation to Transformation. Then I thought “maybe the persistent push will subside,” but my ambivalence was unsuccessful and today, I find myself once again expressing that desire to see and be seen, to be authentic.
My inner struggle between staying in the cocoon of solitary comfort and standing in the outer world of potential and promise concretely illustrates my journey from fear to joy. For some of you that journey may show a different face. Spiritual traditions teach about two faces or sources of all disease — fear and anger. Physicians and psychiatrists are beginning to recognize the direct link between stress-related illnesses — heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cancer, ALS, irritable bowel syndrome, MS, eczema — and our inability to speak our truth, which is at the source of fear and anger. I love the simplicity of this belief and tested out its validity by asking colleagues, friends and clients how they reacted when feeling wounded. They, too, agreed that either fear or anger was their adopted behaviour. In my own case, I express fear as worry, self-doubt, anxiety, withdrawal and feeling overwhelmed. For those recognizing anger as their reactive pattern, they find themselves expressing it as defensiveness, retaliation, resistance, rallying the troops, anxiety and withdrawal.
Although the reactive face we show the world may appear different on the surface, what is universally common is its inauthenticity. It is neither who we want to be nor who we are when true to ourselves. Nonetheless, when we continually operate from our inauthenticity, we diminish our joy. There is a direct correlation between being authentic, that is being true to ourselves, and experiencing joy. Each time we choose fear and/or anger, we credit their life accounts and debit joy. Each time we choose joy, we strengthen our commitment and ability to be all we can be in this lifetime. We are enlightened from the grip of fear and anger, and with this new found freedom from the thieves of joy, we are transformed into a newer, brighter version of who we are.
In 2001, I wrote The Thief of Joy to clarify how fear was robbing me of joy. How do you rob yourself of joy?