10 Feb Of Elephants, and Embodied Joy
I want to tell you about Embodied Joy! In a previous post, I wrote about the process of preparing for my trip to Thailand, to visit the elephants. During that trip, our group spent 4 days at an Elephant Conservation Center, just outside Lampang. Several times a day, we would accompany the elephants and their handlers to the bathing pond. If you want to know what pure, Embodied Joy looks like, an elephant in water is the sight to behold! The elephants would dunk their heads entirely under the water. They would roll onto their sides. They would take in trunkfuls of water and spray it – into the air, at each other, at us! And, in case you didn’t know this, when elephants get excited, they poo. Yep…they literally get so happy, they poo! Needless to say, the evidence of their joy was undeniable! Add to this the sheer delight of their handlers and we volunteers, and that bathing pond was regularly transformed into a pool of Embodied Joy!
So, what do I mean by Embodied Joy? I mean a perspective and an experience in which your entire life is built upon a foundation of wellbeing, trust, abundance, and flow. I mean walking through every event, every encounter, every challenge, every moment – even the moments that are painful and tragic – with the awareness that Joy is your Birthright. And not just yours. JOY IS EVERYONE’S BIRTHRIGHT!
And most of us aren’t living it. The majority of us are going through our lives trying to prove, to the world and to ourselves, that we are worthy enough, working hard enough, lucky enough, good enough…whatever enough to deserve to “have a little joy in our lives”. We place the source of joy outside ourselves, and when it eludes us, we chase after it through experiences that give us highs, or numb us out, or we just keep our heads down and accept the idea that we don’t get to have joy.
To be clear, I am not talking about the pseudo-joy that comes from highs, numbing out, or entertainment. Nor am I talking about walking through life as if everything is wonderful, refusing to see the pain and tragedy of life. That is the path of the Fool at the beginning of the Tarot – ignorant bliss that cannot or will not see both sides of life.
Instead, I am talking about a joy that comes when you know that, no matter what happens, you are resilient. Joy that embraces abundance over scarcity. Joy that sees the pain and suffering in the world, and is still able to celebrate the beauty. Joy that is based in love, comes from love, embraces love and offers love out to the world around us. There is pain, yes. And we feel it…we allow it to penetrate us and move us. And we still come back to a baseline of Joy. This is the path of the Fool at the end of the Tarot, the Sacred Fool – who sees the world in it’s truth, and says “I choose Joy”.
So, how do we live a life of Embodied Joy? I have identified these core principles as being essential to living Embodied Joy:
– Curiosity – I approach the world with curiosity, and intend to love the abundant uniqueness around me
– Non-attachment – I let go of attachment to outcomes, and allow the world to surprise me with an even better result than I could have imagined on my own
– Trust – I trust that the Universe is a place of abundance, that delights in our thriving. I trust that there is actually enough, and I don’t need “more” to be safe or happy.
– Humor – I see that life is full of humor. I am willing to laugh, especially at myself. I value the importance of the pain and suffering in the world, yet I do not take myself or anything else so seriously as to kill my joy.
– Choice – I remember that I am always at choice. Always. I can set boundaries, I can take risks, I can change my beliefs and paradigms.
– Embodiment – I have a body. It has the capacity to experience immense pleasure, and immense pain. I treat my body with love and respect, which includes deeply experiencing everything that is happening in my body.
– Experimentation – I approach my life as if “Everything is an experiment”. I try out new things, and notice the results. I do not label my efforts “failures” if they don’t produce a desired outcome. Instead, I adjust my experiment.
– Acceptance of Death – Death is inevitable. We all do it. The fear that it will happen is irrational – it will. When we build our life around that fear, we cut off our ability for Embodied Joy. We try to cling and control, and we become the walking dead.
To learn more about how I can support you to live a life of Embodied Joy, click here.