Years back, while voicing my dream to run my own business, a friend gifted me a book called How Much Joy Can You Stand? Although I did read it, I really didn’t need to. The title alone stopped me in my tracks. It was such a different challenge from the socially reinforced practice of noting how “strong one is” based on how much pain one can withstand.
Thinking about this question brought up a tremendous amount of anxiety in me. At that point in my life I knew the familiarity of heartache, disappointment, betrayal, and longing. I realized that for as much as I wanted to, I really didn’t know how to hold joy for any length of time. My head was able to entertain the idea, but holding the energy, the feeling, the vibration - well, that was completely another story.
I looked at my life and saw that I had chosen to be around some people who were totally not into supporting my joy. Like that guy in my 20’s - you know, the one who had several higher degrees, spoke multiple languages and was a star athlete? Sounds great, right? Well, when I first told him I loved him, he told me I was “controlling him." When I treated him to a full day of celebration for his birthday (which I planned based on the likes he had expressed to me), he ended the day by telling me I was being "controlling" like his mother. Huh?! Or the family member who, while on a trip to Italy, told me she was “sick of hearing about how much you love the Italian drivers, you love the risotto and you love the wine." Squash, squash, squash!
Well, I started to clean up my container. I wanted it to hold joy instead of the disappointed attempts at gaining it. I wanted to rid my container of the deflated efforts to express my divine self, my expansive heart, my creativity! I looked to purge myself of the feelings of “well, he does have several higher degrees, speaks lots of languages and has low body fat – so he must be right that I do not deserve to happily express myself.” Yup – time to go.
So, over the past years, I’ve committed to strengthening my joy container. A let’s-get-down-to-business, conscious, intentional decision, similar to declaring, “Hey, I’m going to work on these abs." I realized routine workouts, at what I call The Joy Gym™, were in order!
When I first "arrived" at The Joy Gym™, I tuned in and realized that even if I was smiling, I was carrying an energy of worry, doubt, or fear - something less than my desired “Woohee, I’m free and powerful!” I found it most interesting that even though I spoke as though I were a positive person, my vibe did not match. When I really checked into my body, it was carrying some degree of tension, that was based on some thought, that was connected to some past or future thing... (yup - the monkey mind).
Continuing my workouts, I also noticed that if I began to feel some wonderful sensation rising up in me during meditation, I actually got scared! I had to acknowledge the fear. My response to the book’s title question How Much Joy Can You Stand? was, “Not a whole lot, thank you very much!”
Let me tell you, I have come to love my energetic, spiritual container. I learned to have compassion for its flabby and unused muscles that historically struggled to hold yummy vibrations for any length of time. Lovingly, tenderly and with my eye on the prize, I tone, tone, tone! I practice holding different energies: peace, abundance, unconditional love. I use my wonderful imagination to feel things that make my heart sing and then challenge myself to bask in that vibration for as long as I can. And when I feel the trembling that accompanies limitations, I tell myself I can hold it a little longer. And I notice that it becomes easier.
I feel a relationship with and responsibility to this container, this place where joy wants to call home. I love the power I feel of tending to something that is soul-ly mine. I continually recommit to my workouts and find new undiscovered dimensions of my container that are asking to be stretched.
I believe that as Pinkies, evolving beautiful beings, we understand the need to consciously rewire. Pinkies also understand the importance of trying new internal venues, such as The Joy Gym™. Membership is free and classes ongoing. So Pink One, how much joy CAN you stand?
Wishing you a joy container of steel!
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