Have you ever felt that you are not allowing yourself to really feel the entirety of the joyful and hopeful moments in your life? Does the fear of your wholehearted happiness being taken from you ever stop you from really embracing all that is good?
It can be easier, sometimes, to anticipate and accept the disappointing waves of life, than to fully embrace the blissful, hopeful and joyful things that come. It may just be, that it requires an equal amount of courage, faith and bravery to face the light as well as the dark.
It takes a great deal of vulnerability to really live from a place of hope, to fall in love, and dance with joy and true happiness. To wholeheartedly experience all that is good, is to acknowledge that the opposite of these feelings exist, and despite that knowledge (which of course comes from experiencing those opposites), we choose to throw ourselves into the greatness - knowing that the fall from such great heights may break us (again).
Maybe you have heard the voice of fear creeping in - "you know this won't last, you know that something this good, is going to feel so bad when it goes." or "you don't deserve to feel this good, remember the time you (insert shameful act)."
Dr Brené Brown writes that sometimes the bravest thing we can do, is allow ourselves to feel joy.
“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.”
Self sabotaging behaviour can lead us down a dark narrow alley of self-conscious doubt, anxiety, guilt and shame that systematically has us robbing ourselves of the joy in our lives, until we're stuck in a corner and we don't remember how we got to a place where we couldn't enjoy what was good and never felt so adept at anticipating the bad.
So how do we practice being vulnerable enough to feel and embody the good things as they come, with the grace to let them go as they do?
Becoming aware of our thoughts and their control over our behaviour is key to gaining a higher level of self awareness. Practicing self observation through meditation, allows us to see our thought patterns, loops and uncover our own personal knots, that through meditation can start to come undone. Just becoming aware of the fluctuations and focus of our mind is incredibly helpful to silence the voice of fear when it raises its head and tells you "you are undeserving of your joy, please, happiness…."
As Elizabeth Gilbert writes, “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”
Ritualising your Silatha meditations and committing to your self practice daily will create the space to notice destructive thoughts as they arrive and perhaps realise the voice of fear - which is programmed to keep you safe - has been given a very loud microphone and we need to pass it over to the voice of love.
Attuning your mind and body towards feeling pleasure in your daily life is a way to give yourself a daily reminder that you are able, and deserving, of feeling good. It's so important that we spend a little time each day to feel good in our bodies and navigate ourselves towards what feels good. This may mean noticing the way a very soft sweater feels on your skin. Taking a few moments to really feel the sensation and be fully present for the sensory experience. Another day it may be looking at a beautiful scene through a window, and you really allow yourself some time to absorb all the colours, the textures and depth. It may be swimming in the ocean, feeling the breeze on your face or walking through a forest. When you begin the practice you'll discover that your day is actually made up of so many small pleasurable moments that you couldn't believe you missed them all.
The warmth on your fingers from your coffee cup.
Feeling the water run over your fingers when you turn the tap on.
Your first stretch in the morning.
A fleeting moment petting an animal on the street.
If you can make a practice of attuning your attention towards what is pleasurable in your daily life, you will start to tell your mind and body that you deserve to feel good things. And having little bite sized pieces of pleasurable moments makes it easier to feel into those bigger moments of hope, joy, love and happiness. Because they won't feel so fleeting. You'll see moments of good and pleasure are available every day, in small moments that we can expand into.
Affirmations are another beautiful way to keep our mind focused towards what we want, and away from these old cyclical destructive thought patterns. As always, what comes from within is what you need. However, here are some to get you started:
"I deserve to feel boundless joy"
"I expand into pleasure"
"I let the light of hope shine fully upon my day"
"This love/ joy/ hope is my birthright"