Midway through Season 3, I found myself really re-visiting what joy is, how we interact with it, and what it means to have joy in our life. For part 1 of the season 3 finale, I’m really excited to be sharing the new insights I have as I look back on the discussions with Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth, psychotherapist and grief expert Julia Samuel, and author and Yoga expert Suzan Colon.
Across these three interviews, there’s a profound theme of how the energy and presence of grief and joy show up in our lives. Each of these guests have personal and professional experience in working with joy and grief, and they understand the emotions from several angles. They’ve each experienced profound loss and grief, and each has also worked with and witnessed the power of actively choosing joy in their life. I feel deeply honored to have spoken with them, and I’m excited to share how these three conversations have shaped me.
Here’s what I summarize in this week’s episode, while layering in bits of the conversation with each of these three guests:
Grief and Joy are emotions that are full of energy, and all of us will feel these emotions at some point in our life.
Find a way to express and release the emotions you feel. Harness the energy for something positive, where you can. Take a walk or do something physical if possible.
Be mindful of the impact the emotion is having on you. Notice it. Allow yourself to feel it.
Choose to make space for joy, even when grief is very present in your life. This one is big for me, as it goes deeper on the idea and importance of choosing joy in life. The choice is always available to us, and it’s even MORE important to choose and take the action to make room for joy (or a positive distraction, if that is all that you are able to make room for in the midst of grief) when you are grieving. We need both emotions, especially when grief is present.
Choosing to connect with others opens the door to joy, and small acts of kindness can create a space for joy for those who have connected with you.
You may not choose when grief enters your life, but you can always choose to notice and make room for joy in your life.
Look for the moments of contentment (Santosha) every day, and feel them, even when you’re in a space of fear or grief. Santosha can show up in your day as a feeling of being connected to others, in laughing over something silly with a friend even when you are in an oncology appointment, or in taking in the wonder of a flower on a walk. Contentment is a window to joy.
As humans with complex emotions, it is possible for us to feel more than one emotion at a time.
We are not taught how to grieve, so when grief hits it often feels isolating, confusing and foreign.
Everyone is different, so there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is, however, a right and wrong way to act if you are supporting someone who is grieving. You can find the right way explained over on GoFundMe in pretty simple terms.
Joy is a choice and we must keep choosing it. There’s a lot of mindful action involved in choosing joy, especially when you are grieving, or in a hard situation.
Julia Samuel on Episode 127 of Jump Start Your Joy
Julia Samuel’s Website
Julia Samuel’s book, Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving on Amazon
If you are grieving: Julia’s 8 pillars of strength (a free download)
On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss by Elizabeth Kubla-Ross
Suzan Colon Episode 133 of Jump Start Your Joy
Suzan Colon’s Website
Suzan Colon’s book: Yoga Mind: Journey Beyond the Physical, 30 Days to Enhance Your Practice and Revolutionize Your Life From the Inside Out