Your heart holds the key to unlock joy
At Reclaim Your Joy (www.reclaimyourjoy.guru), Kerry and I are about living a life of JOY! This includes acceptance, gratitude and compassion. Oh, and there’s generosity, humility and laughter and I am sure several other lofty endeavors. Most of all, it is a life of purpose. A life of purpose that is heart-driven. Leading a heart-driven life sounds so daunting that few people try. Perhaps, you are a person that wants more joy, contentment and peace in your life. If you are, take a few minutes and go with me on a short journey.
Why don’t we just unlock heart-driven JOY?
Joy is our natural state
We learn anxiety, stress and depression. We embrace the limiting belief of lack and being unworthy. This false belief protects us from failure and embarrassment. It also keeps us from feeling safe and secure with our self. Over time, instead of being the person we were born to be, we rely on possessions and labels. We create separation from others. It is the root of “keeping up with the Jones’s.”
Here is a story that really saddened me. It was just too true.
A woman is standing in her driveway unpacking her SUV. She is showcasing her “prize” purchase which happened to be two, life-sized, light up reindeer. She’s quite happy and pleased and as her neighbor walks up, exclaims, “Jim just HAD to have these.” She is happy. The neighbor didn’t blink and just said; “We had to have this.” Showing off an even bigger, shiner SUV. Our happy lady is now crushed and stammers, “They light up.” Trying to buy happiness doesn’t work. There is always a newer, shinier, bigger whatever.
Of course, this is only a commercial. It does however, beautifully illustrate how easily we are swayed by things, other people’s things and how we believe our things define us. This is an example of “existing” life, not “living” life and certainly not living the heart-driven life we were intended to live. It is a life within the brain without the heart. It is withering instead of expansive. Inward instead of outward with compassion.
A bit of Joy(less) science
Most of us what we think. Simple as that. We don’t include the heart and that is dangerous to having JOY.
If you Google search “number of thoughts in a day” you will get various numbers, from 60-80,000. Here is what Answers.com estimates. http://www.answers.com/Q/How_many_thoughts_do_people_have_each_day
If you took the time to go to that site, the answer was 70,000.
Now the bad news. It is estimated that 80% of our thoughts are negative. This makes sense, at least from a cave man or woman’s perspective. In the early times, we cared primarily about not being eaten; not about relationships or who said what about whom. We also didn’t have time for the positive and the beautiful. A sunrise, the sound of laughter, the smell of your garden, the simple pleasure of holding hands. Or about becoming the person you were intended to be. All we needed to do was avoid something really bad happening. From that, we learned to run from saber-tooth tigers and to not to eat certain mushrooms. It served our ancestors well and our DNA survived.
Unfortunately, our brain stays in this cave person mode unless we do what we need to do to re-wire what gets through. So, the easiest way to re-wire your brain is to be aware, really aware of what brings JOY to your life. It is a path worth taking but requires courage. Courage to live a heart-driven, purposeful life. The reward is joy.
Here is a favorite story of mine about how difficult and rare it is for humans to look for joy, happiness and purpose.
“Where to Find the Secret to a Happy Life”
There is a Native American story about how God went about deciding where to hide the Secret to a Happy Life from humans. God gathered together his animal advisors. “Where shall I put it?” he asked the Eagle.
The Eagle answered, “I shall hide it at the top of the highest mountain. Man will never find it there.”
God considered this and decided against it. “One day, Man will go there,” he said. Next, he asked the Clam. “Where shall I put it, little Clam?”
“I will hide it at the bottom of the deepest ocean,” the Clam answered.
This seemed like a better idea, but the Lord hesitated again. “Man will go there too someday,” he said after some thought.
Then, the wise Owl stepped forward. “Though I regretfully cannot take it there myself,” he intoned, “perhaps you ought to hide the secret on the moon.”
After considering this, God finally came to the same conclusion as before: “No. There, too, Man shall go.”
After some period of reflection, the humble Opossum came forward. “Perhaps,” he said, so softly that he could barely be heard, “the secret should be hidden in the heart of Man.” There was an awed silence among the animals.
Finally, the Lord spoke: “Yes, cunning Opossum, that will be the last place Man will look.”
“That will be the last place Man will look.” I am always amazed at how comfortable people are in their pain while Joy is within their grasp.
Why heart-driven JOY?
J0y is our natural state. Remember when you were a child, there was innocent play. There was wonder at everything around you. You were fascinated by the box your present was wrapped in. A bubble was magical. We were mesmerized about now, not the past or the future. We asked for what we wanted.
Joy is also measurable! There actually is a “Happiest Man on Earth” and here he is. His name is Matthieu Ricard. A meditator, communicator, teacher and happy.
In the brain studies done on Mr. Ricard at the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, there is almost zero negative emotion activity and through the roof (that’s my science phrase for the day. Lol) positive thought.
Here is a picture of the actual happiest man along with my favorite quote from him.
“I don’t see everything as rosy,” he says, “but the ups and downs of life don’t unsettle me in the usual way.”
Matthieu Ricard has followed his path to sustainable, immediately available joy. He has identified the experience he wants, why it is important and how he will get the desired experience.
Living your intended life is available to you.
If joy and living a heart-driven, purposeful life has appeal for you, read on.
Kerry and I are work partners at Reclaim Your Joy! (www.reclaimyourjoy.guru) Kerry and I are also partners for life. “We are committed, joyous and loving: sharing in each other’s happiness and trials. We support each other whole heartedly. Our life is filled with laughter and peace.” Those words come from my purpose statement. I could choose to look at the words as nothing more than nice thoughts, however, I treat them with reverence and they have life.
Here’s a true story of how having a heart-sourced purpose statement is a part of my life. It is an expansion of my last blog where I introduced you to the line, “Kerry is my partner for life.”
Some background. Hold your arms out to your sides at shoulder level. Wiggle your fingers. You might not be able to actually, totally see your fingers, but you can picture and sense them moving. Now picture yourself angry. Your vision narrows, and your blood pressure rises. Scientifically what happens is that your frontal cortex shuts down (That’s where your higher thinking lives) and your prehistoric brain takes over. (Yes, we are back to the stone-age brain again). As we now know, that brain served us well to avoid being eaten, it does not serve us well now as we prepare to argue with the one you love.
In this emotional flight/fright/ freeze stage we can’t communicate. Most importantly, our intention moves from loving-kindness to “I am not listening. My only thoughts are how to respond in a way that hurts you.” Not good for relationships. You will continue down the angry path unless you can jolt yourself back to your true self.
Sorry, back to the story.
I felt myself becoming angry over something that Kerry had said. In less than 1/20th of a second (more measurable science) I went from calm to angry. I felt the above sensations of narrowing of vision and rising heart rate. I began to select the hurtful words. I found myself puffing up, getting bigger…..I leaned in…….
and……a big, red neon sign went off in my head. The sign read,
“Kerry is my partner for life.”
I settled down, took a breath and my true-self returned and my ability to converse as an adult returned. We discussed the issue and I came to realize that the situation I perceived as worthy of an argument, was really trivia, especially as I listened to Kerry.
As you work with us at Reclaim Your Joy, you will develop your own usable, integrated, heart-driven purpose statement. It is part of our Life Mastery Program. And a heart-driven purpose statement coupled with the insight and tools from our program will lead you to more joy. You will make life decisions that support living your heart-driven purpose.
“OK- I am ready to live my heart-driven purpose. Where do I start?
The starting point is defining what you want. This will be different from what corporate marketing tells you. It isn’t about light up reindeer. It is about acceptance, love, peace, calm or companionship. These are words that come from deep within. What you really want, those inner-most desired experiences, are covered by fears that are built up your entire life. Identifying the desired experience of what you want defines the shape of your purpose statement.
In my last blog I referenced my commitment to Kerry and how it started with this line in my purpose statement; “Kerry is my partner for life.” This blog gets to how that statement came to be. My purpose statement did not start out as “Kerry is my partner for life.” Instead, after completing the first step, I realized that my desired experience was love and companionship. The change was that I recognized how important love and companionship were to me and that led to my growth and putting myself in positions to live this portion of my purpose. By having you achieve a relaxed mental state, we will help you express the life experiences that you really desire.
The experiences you desire become the purpose statement. Again, my statement came from a desired experience of love and companionship. That led to, “I have a partner for life” as pat of my statement. I now knew where I was heading. My desire for a partner couldn’t honestly be hidden by fears of rejection or not being good enough. If that is the experience I want, then I owe it to myself to journey towards that outcome.
That last paragraph makes this sound like an easy process. And it is, if you have a great road map, with checkpoints.
Your road map to heart-driven JOY!
When you take a trip, do you go straight there, without breaks? Do you take a leisurely route? Are side trips allowed? All these approaches are fine, as long as you are making conscious decisions. The checkpoints that you will learn to recognize are really decision points where you will decide the route you will take. These points may be situations that used to derail you completely from your desired destination or those that energize you to move forward with confidence.
- For example, do you know the time-wasting activities that keep you from what you really want? How can you move away from them?
- Do feel like you don’t deserve your purpose because you are _______________ (please fill in the blank)?
- Who stands in your way of your personal growth?
Not every checkpoint is one that slows growth. There is always an opposite and recognizing and championing those will keep you focused and invested in the journey.
- What new beliefs do you have about yourself now that you are free to express what you really want?
- Who are the people that want to see you succeed and will provide the support?
- What are the rewards that come your way?
- How will you celebrate those rewards?
If you are ready to step into a joyous life ask yourself;
First- Am I satisfied with my the life-path I am on?
Second- Am I “existing” life or “living” life, and
Finally- What am I intended to be? How do I get there?
If you want to live a life that follows your heart-driven purpose, please contact us in any of these ways:
The journey bears fruit.
Here we are. This is not a set up photo, it is us at a birthday party for someone that supports us. We live in JOY. Heart-driven JOY.