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Joy

I had a beautiful experience recently that I want to share as it reminded me about transition and being with the unknown; living in the mystery. We are always in transition. There are big transitions like a career change, moving, having a baby, divorce, and death of a loved one. There are also daily transitions like waking up from sleep, going to work, dropping the kids off at school, moving your body and then going back to sleep. Then there are the deep soul transitions we may journal on and only discuss with a couple of entrusted friends or family.

And sometimes we are thrust into a SOUL AWAKENING. 

This is where I want to drop in today. Recently, a dear friend said, let’s go to the beach; bring your bathing suit. My first thought was no way. I love the Pacific Ocean, but it is COLD, and I dislike being cold. I have lived in CA for 23 years and have only gone into the ocean in Northern CA about three times, only when it has been a scorching day. I love to WATCH the Pacific, not be in it.

Then I remembered my daughter saying she recently went into the ocean with some friends, and it felt invigorating; she felt so alive having her body immersed in COLD water. She had said, “Mom, you should try it; I think you will like it.”  As she knows, I resist the COLD water. I decided to follow my daughter’s lead.

I planned to go into the ocean and do a 60-second plunge and be done. But then my friend brought boogie boards and said, let’s boogie board. Again, I thought, no, I am just going to plunge in the COLD water and then watch the water, not hang out in the water.

We got to the water’s edge; my friend went right in with her boogie board; I left mine on the sand. I slowly entered the water; damn, it was cold, freezing, but a whisper within kept saying, go in further, just a bit. I listened to this whisper. Then I kept going in until just below my neck. My body started to acclimate slowly. I spent the next 30 minutes in the water as the waves crashed over me. I watched my friend’s joyful smile as she caught the waves on her board. It brought me joy watching her joy. I think in Buddhism, they call this sympathetic joy.

Then she called out and said, get your boogie board, catch some waves with me. This time, I did not think; I just moved my body, grabbed the boogie board, and started riding the waves with her in the COLD Pacific Ocean, and I loved every minute of it. We were in the COLD water for two hours.

This simple act broke me open in a way I have not felt for a long time. As my daughter experienced, I felt invigorated, alive, and so much JOY!

Then something even more magical happened. I started to cry, realizing how much I held myself back from experiencing joy. Unbridled joy, not that I don’t have satisfaction or fulfillment; I have a lot of that in my life and a lot of gratitude. But what I realized is how much I hold back from JOY!

This was my soul’s transition. This moment broke open the more profound desire to let JOY in. I don’t think JOY is that far away at any given time, but we have to notice it. Two hours in the cold waters of the Pacific opened me up in a way I have not felt in a long time.

This led me to be in inquiry about joy:

  • What personally brings you joy?
  • What is the felt experience of joy in your body?
  • When was the last time you felt unbridled joy?
  • What is your relationship to joy?

This moment of soul awakening thrust me into JOY, but other times, it may be gratitude, love, or wholeness.

What are you profoundly desiring or missing in your life right now that getting out of your comfort zone may open up for you?

Every day, I work with clients grappling with some life change. Humans are always trying hard to figure it out, but what if you tried something you are typically resistant to today, like staying in the cold Pacific Ocean? What might the mystery open up in you?

What is your COLD Pacific Ocean moment waiting to happen? 

Let a loved one guide you if you can’t answer that right now.  Look for the signs in your life where you are asked to do something that you typically say, no way, and consider if this may be something you may want to re-evaluate and try. It may surprise and even delight you.

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