3 Steps to Feel JOY

"Feel" is the operative word.

Last week I shared with you 3 modes of quality of life: Survival, Meh, and Joy.

The first step in making any kind of change is awareness, hence the invitation to first just notice what mode you are in most often. Without judgement.

If you want to experience more of the Joy mode, here are 3 steps.

1. Choose Joy. Sometimes life presents joyful moments and other times, you must choose joy regardless of what is occurring around you. 

2. Feel Joy. This experience is just that, an *experience.* Use your brain to come up with thoughts and images; then download how you feeeeeel into your body until you feel the tingles, the sparkles, the raising up of happy vibes! 

3. Practice Joy. Practice makes progress :-) In this world full of toxic media and messages, you must practice. The payoff? Feeling good! Cellular happiness! Living the good life!

Ideas to FEEL joy:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Smile
  • Power Pose (arms above your head standing confidently, check out TED Talks for more)
  • Dance-It-Out
  • Groove to your favorite song in your car
  • Run through a forest
  • Roll down a hill
  • Appreciate a child's laugh
  • Tell a joke
  • Laugh at a joke

Oh, one more: use your imagination!

  • Pretend you just won a million dollars
  • Pretend you won your favorite car on a game show
  • Pretend anything that lights you up!

(Psst...your brain can't tell the difference, so go on and pretend!)

Remember, you are born to feel good. When you give yourself permission to shift out of the stress/fight-flight-freeze/fear response long enough, you can indeed access your built-in ability to feel Joy. Or at least better.

You are here to THRIVE. 

What's Your Go-To Mode: Survival, Meh, or Joy?

Psst...you have a choice. 

Let's break this down.

Survival Mode: An ancient practice when stress really was staying alive amidst the presence of saber-tooth tigers

Meh Mode: A reference to the "Emoji Movie" my son introduced me to - worth watching as it supports the reality that we are indeed multi-dimensional, can live beyond mediocrity, and be capable of...

Joy Mode: Your birthright to be you and be free!

Whether you know it or not, you are always choosing your mode. Sure, life is happening around you all the time AND your ability to respond (response-ability) is one of your greatest powers!

As an energetically sensitive being, I am really good at connecting with the energy around me. (It's a blessing and a challenge.) I used to be really good at merging with, sometimes becoming, the energy too. It was often exhausting, mostly confusing, and definitely perpetuated a survival or so-so existence. 'Cause I forgot I had another option.

Remember.

Remember Joy.

Remember that you can choose Joy.

You have the built-in, hard-wired, physiologically-supported, inside-out capacity to experience Joy, as well as Love, Calm, Relaxation, Peace, Contentment, Ease & Grace, Bliss, and many more life-enhancing states of being. You are born to feel good. You are here to THRIVE. 

How to shift to more Joy? Begin where you are. Tune into your body and assess your go-to mode. Your body will not lie to you. Your should's might.Are you exhausted and running on fumes or settling for being "fine?" Or do you feel energized, vibrant, and alive!?

Give yourself the gift of honest awareness - without judging yourself! Awareness is power. It allows you to get real and be in the now.

Then, you can consider a different choice. For the moment, you do not even have to do anything. Just gently notice from time to time what mode of life you are living in. If it is not of your liking, know that something else, and way better, is possible. Trust me.

Stop Feeling Bad About Being "Selfish"

It could save your life.

In my informal polls with friends, colleagues, and clients, the overall consensus is that "selfish" has a negative connotation. Essentially something that "shouldn't" be done. Otherwise, there are bad or guilty feelings, internal tension, or at minimum, additional stress. None of which are good for you. 

One day I was inspired to look up the suffix, "-ish." Good news; "-ish" essentially means, "relating to."

So, let me get this straight. Somewhere along the way, relating to your self became a bad thing!?!

It doesn't make any sense. However, as you know, words have energetic power and if you are contracting against something that could actually save your life, it is time for a redefinition. 

Is "save your life" a bit dramatic? Yes and no. It depends on your current perspective and corresponding actions. Do you cater to others, external obligations, or should's most of the time even though you are exhausted and depleted? Perhaps there is a simmering volcano of resentment mixed in there too? In this scenario, relating to your Self can save your life - quality for sure, potentially quantity as well.

The human being reality is that if you do not turn towards YOUR needs (and act on them), something is going to break down (body-mind-emotions-spirit-soul) and it will not be pretty. 

A slightly less dramatic example: you - or someone you know - are so tired (a physiological reality being expressed from your body wisdom), want a break/day off/vacation (a very human need to rest), but don't want to let so-and-so down, so you keep going because you want to avoid the bad feelings that come from the warped definition of selfish and end up become more tired, cranky, etcetcetc. Not pretty.

(I am a recovering martyr. I know.)

It is time to up-level "selfish" into this current era, let your Self off the hook from the disempowering brainwashing, and redefine what this life-saving action really means.  

"RELATING TO SELF" IDEAS:
Self-Communicating
Self-Caring
Self-Tending
Self-Nurturing
Self-Loving
Self-Blessing

What is a word, image, metaphor, or other mental placecard that you can insert when you feel the ugh of "selfish?" What will inspire, uplift, and support your birthright to take exquisite care of ALL of you?

If you have any hesitation whatsoever, listen to your body. It tells you the truth of your experience. No one else's, just yours. You get to listen, and respond.

The result? More of the best you to light up the world!

After all, this is what we are here for. 

Do You Appreciate Your Opposable Thumbs?

Not a question you hear every day, if ever.

In our culture full of body criticism, judgment, shame, blame, and more disempowering adjectives not worth naming...it is time for something different.

I'm not going to ask you to love your body (at least not today); I will however lovingly encourage you to find one (or many!) area of your body that you can honestly, sincerely, and easily acknowledge with heart-felt APPRECIATION.

For example, your opposable thumbs. Imagine not having them. What would opening a door or picking up your coffee or tea mug be like? How about texting? :-) 

Play with me. Take a minute - that's it - and locate an area of APPRECIATION and love on it! Own what it does for you and take in how it serves you. Even if it is the size of a postage stamp. All of your 30+ trillion cells are connected anyway, so if you are start loving on one little area, the kindness will spread, in a good way. 

Opposable thumbs! Four fingers separated from each other! Eyelashes! A solid bone (sternum) in front of your heart! Connective tissue! Oxygen! Knees that bend! Your body is AMAZING!!!

Don't just pick an area to mentally check off this experiment from your to-do list. Take a breath, become present in right now, and give yourself the gift of conscious awareness. It can change your life. Choose one area and give thanks. 

How do you *feel in your body* when you do? Take that in.

Imagine your world with body gratitude, acceptance, respect, kindness, love, and many more powerful adjectives that en-lighten you. 

How to experience that kind of world? Play with these 3 "S's." 

The first two: SHORT and SIMPLE. Take a moment (it really can be that brief) and choose an area of your body to APPRECIATE while you are already attending to your body in some way. For example, brushing your teeth. You're just standing there, may as well do something. Or when you are walking down stairs or opening a door. How cool that your opposable thumbs make door opening even easier!

The third "S" is SUPPORT. I didn't always experience my body the way I do now. In this overstimulating and overwhelming world, I didn't know how to feel comfortable in my own skin for a long time. I didn't know that I could! My default mode was living from the neck up, running on adrenaline, and pushing beyond my natural limits until I energetically crashed. I was moving fast, though not sure where I was going...

I knew there was more to life. There had to be! (There is.)

With devotion to rising above mediocrity, "coincidences," and inner wisdom, I was guided to expand my *experience* of my body, as well as my toolbox, in supportive environments. The support was key in holding back the cultural conditioning long enough for me to access my natural state of ease and appreciate all the gifts my body has to offer. 

I learned (learning) to transform my connection with my body from a place of stress to a space of sanctuary

You can too. You are born to feel good, or at least better, in your body.

You do not need to tolerate survival or so-so mode any longer. 

Lose The Weight of Comparison

The act of comparing oneself - including one's body - is human.

Comparison is essentially identifying two or more items to establish similarities or differences. On a basic survival level, it can serve as a safety mechanism. What is similar is known, therefore safe; what is different is unknown, potentially not safe. 

However, when it comes to the betterment of Self, the act of judgment often gets layered on top of comparison with an additional layer of judging yourself for not being fill-in-the-blank enough. 

A three-layer cake gone wrong. 

"Look at their _______. It is so ________. I should be ________."

Be honest. When you are comparing an aspect of who you are with someone else's "aspect," are your truly comparing (just identifying the similarities or differences) - or are you also judging them and/or yourself also?

How do you feel? Inspired or deflated? What do you sense in your body? Positive vibes or ugh?

How much does this kind of comparison weigh on you? How much is it costing your wellbeing?

Now, without judgment, notice that.

The reality is that comparing yourself *in this way* is unnecessary, creates more separation, diminishes your power, and is a learned behavior. The good news? You can lose this weight!

The HOW: take back the true act of comparison and (without judgment) just identify, notice, or acknowledge what is similar or different about you and other. 

Another power tool: CURIOSITY

What is this?
Interesting...
Fascinating!
Hmm... 

Imagine going to the gym, a clothing store, an airport, or looking at a magazine cover! and just notice. What would it be like to be "fascinated" by social media posts? How would it be to simply acknowledge your body or parts of it and say "hi." Like a young child seeing something for the first time, be curious.

This is going to take some practice. Believe me. That's OK. Be kind with yourself as you unlearn the act of displaced judgment.

As an energetically sensitive being, I used to walk around with the weight of other's people's worlds, compare myself with judgments about thoughts, ideas, or energies that didn't even belong to me! Curious questions such as, "What is this?" allows me, as well as my clients, freedom to lighten up.  

Your body wisdom is also here to support you. When you are comparing and feel a contraction, tightening, or some version of "ugh," you may have entered the world of judgment. When you are simply comparing similarities or practicing curiosity, notice feelings of spaciousness, openness, and perhaps even awe or wonder.

This is a practice worth practicing. You not only experience less energetic weight, you also embody a lightness of being that is yours to reclaim. 

But Lisa, I don't want to go to the gym!

Guess what? You don't have to. Unless you *want* to.

This pleading refrain came from a client who wanted to increase her energy, had redefined "exercise," wanted to move, and then felt completely overwhelmed with HOW to do it. In the past, she had joined a gym, didn't really want to go, so she didn't. Then she would feel bad about herself for not using it along with the stress of spending money on something that looks good on paper but in reality, not so much.

Another client was talking about getting back into her physical activity routine for stress reduction. She was describing that she would need to first get her knees and low back in shape, so that she could get back to running. She stated this as much enthusiasm as taking a standardized test. I asked her, "Do you like running?" You can guess her reply: "Nope."

This quandary of feeling overwhelmed of where to begin, underwhelmed by limited choices, or stuck in uninspiring routines is not uncommon. It is a weird, warped experience of begrudgingly moving one's body, yet wanting to check out of it at the same time.

What's missing?

trampolinesocks.jpg

Play! Fun! Joy!

I went to an indoor trampoline park with my son recently. Pure JOY! Do you think I got my heart rate up and engaged muscles that I don't normally? And then after, found new ways to stretch to help those muscles recover?

You betcha!

You do not have to tolerate moving your body in ways that don't feel good. 

Sure, there are times when you are stressing (in a good way) your heart muscle or any of your other 600+ muscles that may not feel comfortable for those last few reps or moments because you are asking your body to change, grow, and evolve; however the ways you are moving can be downright inspiring.

If you are feeling stuck, bored, overwhelmed, or underwhelmed, try these suggestions I offered my clients and use myself:

1. Become a researcher - discover how YOUR body *wants* to move
2. Look to your childhood for inspiration
3. Ask 3 people what they do to move their body
4. Give yourself permission to not like an activity - or LOVE it!
5. Keep trying new activities 

Remember that your body is essentially a walking ocean. This fluid nature calls for diverse expression. There are SO many ways to move and nurture your body - and brain - to evolve your best self.  EnJOY!

Stop "Exercising"

Unless you really like this word.

Words have energy. They feel good or don't. Or are sometimes neutral.

Notice what you sense *in your body* when you hear the word, "exercise." What does it feel like? What thoughts/images/memories/associations do you have with it? Do you want to "exercise?"

The information you are receiving is from your body intelligence. It will guide you to YOUR truth. 

Your body is made up of over 600 muscles, 200 joints, a web of fluid-based connective tissue, a variety of physiological systems, a plethora of organs, and more. You are essentially a walking ocean.

Given this architecture, it is clear that your body is designed to move.

Simply, "exercise" is moving your body in a variety of ways. However, you get to choose what you call that experience. If "exercise" doesn't do it for you, give yourself permission to redefine this critical aspect of physical wellbeing. Ideally, you want a word or description that inspires you; not make you feel obligated, shoulded upon, or filled with dread. That is a recipe for a vicious cycle: doing something that is good for you, contracting against the very thing that is good for you, and adding more stress, tension, adrenaline, cortisol, negative thinking, disconnection, and disembodiment.

Not exactly what we are going for. 

How about "physical activity?" Or just, "movement?" What do you sense *in your body* with these words?

Some other out-of-the-box suggestions: Powerful Play, Chemical Chain Reaction, Divine Dance, Fearless Force, Spiritual Solace, Ecstatic Experience, Energetic Expression, Transformation Training, Embodied Exertion, Revitalization Reason, Life Force Leverage.

I invite you to experiment with word play. Notice the impact on how it makes you feel and the action you take (or consider taking.)

Once you have a name for "it," then you also get to choose HOW you do "it."

(More on that next week!)

P.S. I would love to hear other words or descriptions you come up with! Feel free to let me know as well as any questions or comments at: lisa@soulisticarts.com 

Are you sustaining YOUR Earth (Body)?

"If you don't take care of your body, where will you live?" Anonymous

In the spirit of Earth day on Sunday, April 22, I invite you to consider how you are sustaining YOUR Earth, your body.  

The simple, and often underrepresented, Truth:

You have a body.

You are not your body.

You are in a relationship with your body.

Your body is the residence of the best YOU. The YOU that shines your light, your greatness, your planetary purpose, your peak performance, your soul/essence/divine spark, your magnificence, radiance, and brilliance - and many more descriptions that words cannot sufficiently convey.

Let's come back down to Earth.  

What is the state of your body? Are you suffering in survival mode? Are you settling for so-so? Or are you thriving?

Imagine approaching your body as part of the Universe...

What choices would you make to ensure your body's sustainability?

A suggestion: get out of your head.

The "inconvenient truth" is that if you don't care for your personal planet, the best YOU is limited in expression and evolution. 

Want a stronger foundation and more sustainability for your body? I believe in incremental shifts. What is the simplest choice you can make today that will support your body's wellbeing?

Seriously, I am talking v-e-r-y simple. Like one deep breath, a sip of water, 25 more steps. 

YOU CAN DO THIS!

I celebrate your potential to thrive, to evolve, and to sustain this beautiful home called your body.

Carbs, Candy, and Cab, Oh My!

Stressed? Stuck? Seeking to Soothe?

I get it.

When you are not feeling like yourself, you just want to feel good. Or at least better. There are MANY ways to access that state of being. Some will suffice, some will satiate, and some will never, ever fill your well.

It has been a long winter where I live in New England. Every winter is long and some feel longer than others. I am "done" feeling cooped up and longing to splash around the sparkling water and glittering sand.

In the meantime, I have a good size feel-better-in-my-body toolbox. Sometimes I'm using it consciously and reap the rewards of restoration that bring me back to the center of myself. Sometimes I go unconscious and reach for the carbs, candy, (and) or Cabernet. 

The truth is that these choices help me feel better. Temporarily.

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SLOW DOWN

However, if I don't pause long enough to tune in and ask my Self (body-thoughts-emotions-spirit-soul) what I r-e-a-l-l-y need, I will not feel better. I will continue to numb my needs and mask my truth. I will feel like "it" is not enough. I may even feel like I am not enough. The unsatisfying cycle will continue. 

What to do? Simple. Pause, ask, and choose.

You MUST pause the external so you can access the internal. Then choose from and for you - the best version of you - to fill your well being.

What will YOU choose?