Don’t fake the joy.

I read something the other day that made my stomach turn.  A blog chastising moms to “love it all” and “enjoy every minute of it.”

There are plenty of moments in parenting that just plain bite.

There are plenty of moments when I am not joy-filled as I clean up squashed and crunchy food on the floor, separate my two kiddos as they bug each other…for the upteenth time…that hour, look down and realize that I have strawberry stains from little hands on my ONE (ONE!) NEW cute, stain-free t-shirt, and think about how in the world am I going to get to the Y today?!

It’s in those moments when jumping in to being “joyful” would be to deny what is present right here, right now.

Yes, I get the whole “self-talk” thing and “positive thinking” thing and the “you have a choice in every moment” thing.  While there is a place for “embracing the positive” and “choosing joy”….

…there is also a crucial first step that we CAN NOT skip.  Whenever we deny what is present — anger, rage, sadness, loneliness (you name it) — we cannot embrace true joy.  I’m not talking about getting all mired in the emotion (that doesn’t help either!  Then we are hijacked).  I’m talking about not chasing after joy, clinging to it, and believing that it’s a permanent feeling.  We set ourselves up to feel awfully guilty if we believe we should be joyful every moment and we deny what is currently present within us.

So what do we do?

Before running after joy, “shoulding” ourselves in to it; before getting mired in our emotions…… we pause.

We notice whatever is present. 

We say “Ahhh, I see you, dear one” with tenderness.

We put our hand on our heart.

We allow whatever arises space to be.

We accept.

We allow.

We breathe.

Without clinging or pushing away — anything.

And what happens?  We soften!  We relax.  We create spaciousness.  Insight arises.  We embrace the next right thing to do…which may be mom taking a “mama time-out” or hugging and saying sorry…and going outside to play and buy something from the ice cream truck that comes down our street riiiiight around dinner time.

Ironically, as we accept WHAT IS — without denying anything or forcing ourselves to ‘be joyful’ — joy naturally arises.  A deeper joy that sustains us.

So don’t fake the joy.  Create the space for it to rise on its own.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cate Wenzing
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 14:44:55

    Thank You! I get so sick of people just saying basically “don’t feel like that”
    I prefer authenticity, THEN getting over it. Thanks for the permission!


    • barefootlisa
      Mar 29, 2012 @ 21:04:02

      yes cate. I hear u. I know of no other way to live. There has to be an authentic allowing of what is…positive or negative. We just have to give it space to breathe n it shifts on its own.


  2. Shelley
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 17:39:23

    The word that grabs me here just like it did in another recent post of yours is soften. I think so many of us don’t realise the difference it makes both physically and mentally to adopt a softer approach. Thank you. xx


    • barefootlisa
      Mar 29, 2012 @ 21:06:16

      Yes Shelley. As u know softness has been a word I’ve been sitting w for some time. It definitely has taken up residence in me. Yes we could all use a dose of soft ness w ourselves n each other.


  3. istopforsuffering
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 06:47:17

    So incredibly profound – I love this! And so very true.


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Copyright. 2013. All rights reserved. No portion of any post may be copied without written permission from the author. The advice offered herein does not constitute a substitute for professional psychological treatment, therapy, or other types of professional advice and intervention. The self-help contents are solely the opinion of the blogger and should not be considered as a form of therapy, advice, direction and/or diagnosis or treatment of any kind: medical, spiritual, mental, or other. If expert advice or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

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