JOY AS BIRTHRIGHT
My friend and teacher, Peggy Nash Rubin, says:
“Restructure your belief system to place joy at the heart of creation. An ancient Egyptian story says that the world came into being because God laughed. Think of that holy laughter as the foundation stone of life. It rings through everything with a wild clear power.”
What a jolly concept! The Big Bang as a giant belly laugh! A joyous creation! Could life have been created that way?
My life story includes a childhood of religion-taught fear and trembling to my elder-hood where Unity principles teach that I create through my freely chosen thoughts and beliefs. Beliefs, to me, are just thoughts I think a lot, and they drive my universe. Change my beliefs and I experience a brand new universe. My thoughts will be in accord with those beliefs. As I work with thousands of people and their life stories, I have not yet found one story that could not be interpreted differently, using this concept. I used my painful childhood as a means of keeping my story inside the boundaries of a limited existence. I was ok only if I was perfect, pleased everyone, kept strong, and tried hard. A change in my belief structure led me to think differently. Thinking differently led to different feelings and, believe or not, different behavior. As an outcome of my new belief, I discovered I could make mistakes, please myself, be weak, and stop trying so hard but just go ahead and do something.
In my view, awareness and consciousness are the essence of my spirit. And my spirit expresses through my beliefs-thoughts-feelings-behaviors, which brings my evolutionary growth. What if I choose to believe that the world is an astounding creation from a primal source that looks more like joy than fear, depression, shame, guilt, or inadequacy? What if the Creative Life Force is a joyful energy? I can feel that as I read Peggy’s words. Beliefs are the power. If I change my beliefs, I will change the other components.
We teach laughter yoga at Interface, Inc., the company where I serve as a consultant. The departments with managers who regularly allow time for laugh breaks and laughter yoga sessions have fewer sick days, higher morale, more efficient productivity, and a general pervasive sense of happiness. Our managers who lead in forming more positive relationships seem to rely on laughter and fun as a cohesive bond. They work together, joyfully. They create a better world with every laugh.
One way to get to this generalized sense of Joy is to re-train my brain. My brain was hard-wired for fear resulting in knee-jerk reactions of the urge to flee, to freeze, or to stand up and fight. Fight is last on my list. I would rather fade away and disappear or freeze into invisibility than to speak up or challenge someone.
I discovered my substitute reaction was to find a way to “fix” the other person. (Indeed, as a counselor, I was a professional fixer).
New brain training proves that I can fire together and ultimately wire together new pathways in my brain that are more in the direction of creativity, compassion, comedy, positive communication, and caring. I can create happiness and joy. Joy is just unreasonable happiness. The way to create joy is through the power of attention. Whatever I pay attention to will get bigger. So, I remember three good things that happened every night before I sleep. That causes my brain to construct new happy highways and diminishes the old roads of worry, anxiety, depression, and self doubt.
So, if I want to pursue a life filled with Joy, I can face up to my desire to change. I can change my thinking so that I give up the bad F’s (fight, flight, freeze, or “fix”) and operate more from the good C’s –cooperation, communication, compassion, creativity, and caring. There are also some good F’s: food, fun, fellowship, flow, freedom, to name a few. The good news is, I can change my beliefs, my thoughts, my feelings, and my behavior. The bad news is that I cannot change for anyone else!
Reverend Ellen Debenport, pastor of Unity of Wimberley, recently featured two words in one of her talks. The words were Reaction vs. Creation. She noticed both words are spelled with the same letters. It all depends on where you place your “c” or your “see.” I believe we see what we look for. So I am looking for Joy. I choose to create joy rather than react to outside circumstances.
May you also experience Joy as your birthright, coming from the Holy Laughter that is the Foundation Stone of Life, ringing through everything with a wild, clear power.