Lately I’ve been experiencing moments of joy from unknown origins. Many times through the years when there seemed to be one test after another, I truly thought joy and happiness were mine no longer. At times, my happiness seemed to just be moments of reprieve or a lifting of sorrow. Or I’d have a fabulous experience and believe it was the experience that brought me what I was longing for—instead of realizing the experience had given a moment of silence from the constantly tracking & comparing mind. Joy is an upwelling, not an outward achievement (although it can seem that way). Joy is not about getting; joy is a state of being.
After years of studying consciousness, my teacher said to me “it’s time for you to practice being happy.” I had no idea what he was talking about. “Isn’t happiness something that occurs naturally?” I thought. Actually, he was right. I had had too many years of constriction and challenge, and had gotten out of the habit of making room for simple joy and happiness. What had changed? For starters I had stopped fighting what was—and let me tell you that was no easy task! I had let go of guilt and blame for the pain of my child, my choices, my fate, my naiveté, my unawareness and frankly for the choices in both my formative years and later in life. As Maya Angelou said, “you may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” I had to stop looking over the fence and assuming that life was better on the other side.
“Comparison is the death of joy.” ― Mark Twain
Today I was trying to help this little gecko get out of my screen room and into the backyard but in doing so I was scaring him. Watching him begin to make some panicky moves, thrusting himself at the same screen that was keeping him trapped, it suddenly struck me how life directs us towards our own freedom- yet the whole way there we resist and feel afraid. Only because we haven’t yet grown into our what we are becoming. We keep throwing ourselves at the same screens that have kept us stuck because it’s all we know. We want love, we want aliveness, we want to be seen, we want freedom but not the vulnerability, doubt and letting go that brings them about. To be truly yourself, who you were meant to be—your destiny if you like, you need to peel off all the layers of non-you.
We’re only envious of those already doing what we were made to do.
Envy is a giant, flashing arrow pointing us toward our destiny.”
Glennon Doyle Melton
Next time you feel trapped or caught by circumstance, pause:
Open yourself to Life.
See what it might be showing you.
Because something inside of you already knows the answer…
With love and kindness,
Anni Johnston, LMHC-S, BC-D/MT, CEDS, CYT works at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Movement Therapist. In addition to her therapy work, Anni offers weekly Beginner and Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse. She also offers book studies and special workshops throughout the year.