Today’s episode is about Joy, Transformation and Self Acceptance, and it’s my first “Solocast!” I’ve really loved getting to know so many of you through this blog, and the journey of the past few months has been completely uplifting. As I’ve mentioned in passing on other episodes, I’ve had a list of people that I wanted to interview for years … and finding a home to interview them here, in a podcast format, has been just amazing.
Joy is the platform here, but there’s so much more behind joy … and I think that’s why I love talking about it every week. I firmly believe that every person hits a stage in their life where they are challenged, either by physical, mental, emotional, monetary, creative challenges, each that have the potential to shake you to your core. In those hard times, you have a choice. You can choose to become engulfed in your circumstances, or you can choose to fight for joy, for love, for something that matters to you. To get there, you’ve got to accept yourself, right where you are. It takes embracing your shadow side, the scary parts, the stuff that you don’t want to look at or admit. Acceptance is a step, even simply accepting you want or need help is a step.
I’ve had my own dance with hard times. In this podcast I reference my 56 hour labor, followed by a C-section, at the birth of my son. This threw me for a curve that I didn’t expect. No birth class covers the “what happens when Plan A falls apart, Plan B becomes laughable, and Plan C wasn’t even written yet.” I’m sure you’ve been through this somewhere, somehow in your own life. There are times when even with the most thorough of planning, (and in the words of Pema Chodron), things fall apart.
It’s that moment, or those moments, when there’s not much left to hold on to, where you define who you are. Sure, it hurts, sure it sucks, sure, you can be as mad at the world, the universe, at God, as you’ve ever been. But that doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t further the cause. It doesn’t get you any closer to living or loving, or doing whatever it was you came here to do. Mad is easy, and mad has it’s place, but it’s not a destination.
One of the things that kept me going in those moments was the quote by Meg Cabot, “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear.” That and some amazing spiritual and personal stories that I will share at another time, later, when they are ready to be told.
In my case, I came out of that situation with PTSD. I could sense my own ability to deal with reality just outside my grasp. I could feel that I had to fight harder than I’d ever fought for anything in my life, just to get me back. And all the while I was trying so hard not to let the feelings that “I failed at this birth, I let myself down, my own body couldn’t do what it was supposed to do” take over. (And if you’re in that place, in any way, I want you to know that those things are just not true. Those are such painful thoughts. You’re OK, you are loved, you are cherished.) Truly, I had to know my core, and chose to fight for joy. Joy wasn’t really within my reach, I knew that, but it was still out there. So I got curious, I started asking why. I found a really good therapist. None of that could have happened if I hadn’t accepted myself, where I was, accepted that at my core I knew I could fight and this was the time to dig deeper than I even knew I could.
I think each of us is wired for joy. We are wired to find our way back home. That’s what the story of this podcast ultimately is, that fight for joy, that pursuit of purpose, even when it’s hard, even when it seems nearly improbable. For joy, transformation, and self acceptance. We need these stories, and we need to know joy is possible. Because it is.
This post is part of the “Weeks of Self” series coordinated by Theresa at Thrive Within.
In this podcast I talk about:
– the introduction I almost published as the first episode
– how Walter Capps inspired me as an undegrad at UC Santa Barbara, with his “Voices of a Stranger” class
– How Father Evan at San Damiano taught me about the theology of “Welcome Home”
– that Curiousity, Why, and Joy are all best friends
– Fear and Ego and how those two like to add wallpaper to change things
– the daisy chain of events that links so many life events together
Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic on Amazon
Brennan Manning’s book, The Ragamuffin Gospel on Amazon
ACT in San Francisco
BATS Improv in San Francisco
Walter Capps of UCSB
Episode 1: Kathleen Davies
Episode 2: Aimee Eyvazzadeh
Episode 3: Matthew Wood
Episode 10: Molly Larkin
Episode 11: Amber & Brady Black