I chose to love who I have become.
People will not always appreciate you being authentic. So find people who do. There may be those in your life who have assigned you a certain role and they are comfortable with you acting within their own defined parameters. When you start to change those borders, some people will really react negatively. But let me tell you, through the Joy Experiment I have really learned that there is no benefit to trying to please or accommodate others at the sacrifice of your own soul. You will become drained and hollow and you won’t even love who you are, because you are acting out someone else’s preferred version of you. Break free! Be outrageous! Be ok with people not liking you - it will surprise you how wildly giddy this might make you.
I was totally authentic about my life with my friends.
We sat down to a marvelous version of homemade taco soup - they carefully checked all the ingredients because they know that I’m a gluten-free eater (Note: not to be called “a gluten”, as I was once named. Indeed, somebody who chooses to not eat gluten is rather gluten-free, not a gluten). That little gesture of accommodating my eating was such a loving action and I so appreciated it. We discussed their home and work, their dog and the high-level updates of their lives. I asked questions and was genuinely curious about what was going on for them. My friend in her gentle way prodded at me to tell my stories as well, because I think she could tell I was keeping it light on purpose. She gently directed the conversation towards topics that were not overly personal until I had warmed up a bit. Then she gave me the opportunity to share a bit more of what was going on with me, and it all came tumbling out.
I shared my gifts.
I came across this fabulously cheesy little rhyme a couple years ago and it really stuck with me, “If you get nervous, focus on service.” It obviously was catchy enough to stick and has been an important guiding phrase in my life, especially as I started Impactful People. So much of my life purpose is associated with helping others to get through difficulty and to find ways to thrive. I so deeply love this planet and I desire people to experience joy and peace, but the harshness of life just seems so overwhelming at times. In those moments of despair, I have just dropped to my knees and looked up at the sky and thought, how are we all going to make it? Together. We can make it together. Truth is, we need each other. We need each other’s love, we need people as our mirrors to help us see the beauty within ourselves. We also need friends to be conduits for miracles.
I heard that my friend died, which was terribly sad.
I received news today of a friend in Vancouver who worked at the same insane, high stress office as me for a number of years. He was a bit overweight and in his 50s I’d say. I was a consultant to the group for some time then became an employee later, so I had overlapped with him for over a year and a half. I noticed that he increasingly seemed to be frayed at the edges, just overworked and stressed beyond belief. He would pump himself full of coffee to keep up with the long hours. Sometimes when the pressure was really on in the office for some new, random deadline, I’d notice his body respond with a real stress response - his face turning red, sweat starting at the brow and shaking in his hands. He ended up quitting the company and switching over to another group. My hope was that this would allow him time to physically recover from what we all went through. Well, today I heard that he died from a heart attack.
I cooked dinner. And ate it.
Needless to say, working through this has been very challenging and finding a way to get excited about life again has been tricky. One of the major things that I stopped doing was eating. I really stopped feeling interested in food, which is strange and new for me because I’ve traditionally always been excited about eating. I was crying the other day after reading a line in a book about a child who refused to eat 10 days after being born, they called it a “failure to thrive” and that really hit home - I was failing to thrive! I was resisting the core impulse to keep my body alive, I somehow had given up on the desire to nourish myself. What is that all about? Well, I think much of it has to do with the core principle of nourishment and love from the feminine side of life. I think the reason why the Joy experiment is bringing me back to life is because I’ve decided to dig into nourishment again. I decided that I fundamentally want to live and I must decide to nourish the feminine aspects of my life.
I wore something outrageous to work.
I had the mad desire to wear one of my floral goddess dresses to work today. It’s really something that is more appropriate for a summer evening out with friends, particularly because it is strapless. But, I put on a little prim and proper yellow cardigan and a long gold necklace and diamond earrings, so maybe it dressed it up sufficiently to be work appropriate. I also curled my hair in long billowing barrel curls, which is one of my favorite looks. All of this brought significant joy to my day. Usually when I would think of something that is a bit questionable, I would shy away from it, worrying that others would disapprove. But today it just felt really fun to wear something flowing and feminine, and because it is the Joy Experiment, I had to follow the nudge from my heart.
I spoke my truth.
Day 4 was very much a Monday. A Monday among Mondays that’s for sure. Things just seemed to be a bit off. I had a challenging moment come up in my relationship, and sparing the details, it was a real moment for me to either speak my truth or stay quiet to keep the peace. I chose truth, because the Joy Experiment is all about authenticity and not silencing myself anymore. I tell you, it was the most bizarrely joyous feelings in the world to stand my ground and speak my truth. Here I am having an uncomfortable discussion with My Love, and yet I felt so incredibly filled with Joy, I could feel it emanating through my body. This flood of strength just poured in through my body as I allowed my voice to be heard, even if it was difficult to say what I said. This was a new thing for me and it did cause some waves, but it was important to get the issues out on the table rather than push them down and suppress the emotions only for them to arise later in more compounded ways.
I walked haphazardly through the park.
And so it is with the Joy Experiment that I’m learning something very important about myself. As a Gemini, I value routine and stability just as much as I value spontaneity and new experiences. There is a fine balance, and when the scales are tilted too far to one side or the other it throws me out of my joy. Re-discovering the joyfulness of less rules and more saying “yes” to life has really uplifted my heart and is progressively silencing my inner nagging American. I’m not advocating getting nothing done, I’m realizing that life can still be orderly without being oppressive. There are little things you can say no to (like walking the entire track at the park in order to exercise the dog) in favor of a small yes which gave the activity new meaning and richness. I suspect the trick is to savor the mundane like the French. Walking the dog doesn’t have to be punishment, it can be an adventure for your inner child.
I made the bed. And I said no to drama.
Anyhow, this particular dog could just not stay off the bed. Peeling back each layer was an acrobatic feat as the dog would pounce right on the section I was trying to dismantle. She would scurry around the bed in circles as if trying to keep the territory in order. So I’d try to use nice words and pick her up and place her on the floor, but then she would insistently jump back up with her pink, floppy toy. Had it not been the Joy Experiment, I would have admittedly been very annoyed. Geez dog, go away. But, placing more focus on this experiment, I’m leaning away from feelings of irritation and seeking more amusement in my reactions. And the scenario became hilarious and endearing. Her enthusiasm around the whole activity was really the best part. It was so cute to see her having so much fun driving me crazy. I’m grateful for that little Lovepuff - she keeps life light.
I jumped in the hot tub.
My grouchy morning eyes squinted and the thought passed through my mind, “I’d really like to get in that hot tub.”
“You don’t have time to get in that hot tub” Business Lindsay said. “You have to get the dog fed and get ready for work and get out the door in 45 minutes. Just go inside and get going” I chastised myself.
“No”, said a little voice inside. “My Joy Experiment is underway, so I can do whatever I damn well please thank you. I’m getting in that hot tub and I’m going to enjoy it. So there.”