It's midsummer in the Western Hemisphere, a pivotal marker since ancient times of the turning of the turning of the wheel of the year, at the time of longest light. Amidst the work day responsibilities, the daily rituals, the creating and producing, a time to pause and give thanks and refuel resilience through a celebration of life through all of our senses.
We have been taught to look outside ourselves for joy and fulfillment. To fix ourselves rather than to be restored and transformed. To believe someone else has the answers, rather than to connect with the guidance of our body and it's innate desire to move towards what feels good. We have been given quick highs that create sharp lows, in place of sustained, nourishing fulfillment. Not so very long ago, our ancestors, were connected to innate ways of finding meaning, connecting with joy, moving through hardships and stress, in communal, creative and celebratory ways.
Food was not just a fuel for bodies, it was a grown, harvested and brought to the table in reverence that was expressed through slowing down, taking in the pleasure of taste, and the gift of the season and the grace of the Earth. It was eaten together, and followed at times with song, story, crafting, dance, firelight and friendship, with loving laps or gnarled hands braiding hair, offering touch, or the warm presence of home animals, all leavening the hard day's work, the tribulations of the time, the stressors of the unknown. All providing natural ways of returning to laughter, contentment, expression, meaning making, upliftment, connection and hope, so necessary for the soul.
There was time and space, literal, to look at the horizon daily and see it's vastness. To marvel at the colors of a sunset, to recognize the beauty of birdsong, to lay back and open to awe under the brilliance of stars. To find some way to feel a part of the larger universe through feeling connected to the cycles of sun and moon, the planting and harvest, the light and dark at play all around and inside us.
Experiencing the world through taste, sight, sound, touch, scent and allowing ourselves meaningful time each day to connect with pleasure, play, fun and creativity are necessary remedies of the soul. They are also in our own hands, in our power, to create and enrich our lives with. They belong to no one culture, and certainly no profession or academia. They belong to the rich, wise traditions, housed in our bodies, imbued with the best of our heritage which when tapped into intentionally, contain the way back to our most resilient self.
May this midsummer meditation (in video) provide you with the very reminders and resources you need to fill this summer and all the days ahead with the sensory play and pleasure that is a return to your wise and resilient self.
What are your favorite ways to restore and reset your energy in summertime that involve your senses?
What does summer taste like? Ice cream, watermelon, peaches, sweet tea?
What does summer smell like? Tang of sea air, fresh cut grass, jasmine in the sultry night air, hot pavement?
What does summer sound like? Outdoor music, summer thunderstorms, crashing of waves, laughter at barbeques
What does summer touch/move like? swimming, biking, digging, weeding, dancing
What does summer look like? Whether you had these experiences or its your first time. What would you create this summer if you were to use it to replenish yourself through the senses.
Share with us your resilience play and pleasure in comments below.
Let's play ourselves whole again and use our joy to reengage with purpose in the world.
With much love and midsummer blessings,
I saw a gorgeous video the other day showing the unseen life of seeds as they split open under the ground, and life emerges, rooting down into the earth and rising up as new green shoots ready to greet the sun.
Rumi said, "Don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous."
Knowing that, gives me faith in the slow and hard seasons of life, where on the surface it can seem nothing much is changing, and yet, somewhere deep down a new life is silently readying for it's birth. Someone just told me that seeds that are planted right before the winter sets in actually thrive best, as they send down stronger roots to withstand the tough weather! There are certain dreams inside of us that are like that too. Needing for us to get a little sturdier, a little more seasoned before they are ready to emerge.
Either way, seeds and dreams have a knowing inside. A kick start, much like the contractions that signal to the body that the baby is ready to be birthed. It can feel like a persistent nudge, or a glad impulse, a strong intuition, or a yearning. However it shows up it is a signal that something is ready to begin. The key word being BEGIN. Not complete. Not be fully formed. Not perfect. Simply begin to open like the seed, and to allow life to move forward to the next step.
For me, that desire has felt like a persistent yearning to connect with people around the world and share about joy and resilience, in a way that is more direct and less polished then a website or the written word. Webinars, courses and TED talks all have their space; yet, I suspect there is a special healing in the intimate, heart to heart, informal and imperfect sharing that remind us that all of us are teachers, students and above all humans on this humbling journey of life. This first vlog was a simple (and daunting) step towards that dream of greater connection.
All seeds have value, as do all dreams. Whether it is the desire to rest and care for our bodies; learn to bake a marvelous chocolate cake; pen your first poem; vacation with your loved ones; speak a new language; or start a non-profit; the process is the same. Listen to the nudge, and start where you are.
Let the dream seed inside you split open. Let more life emerge. And above all take delight in it.
Take Delight In Perfectly imperfect, Alive, YOU.
I Find Joy In The Unfolding Of My Dreams
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
Take some time in a quiet place to breathe and calm your mind.
Put one hand on your heart and one on your belly connecting with the life and breath within.
Ask yourself gently what would I like to open to today?
Ask yourself again. And again. And again. As many times as you like, and jot down every answer you get, from the mundane to the transcendent.
Circle any that feel like they fall under a shared theme (example service, self care, career, love)
Choose the one that feels lightest and least overwhelming.
Tell yourself you have permission to start to move towards this desire exactly as you are.
Decide one way you'd like to take an action towards it. For example, i'd like to connect with more people around the world and share my love through a vlog. My action will be making my first practice video.
Make a time for this action step.
Congratulate yourself right now on starting where you are, and remember to do so again when you complete the next action.
When you complete you step, take some time to plan the next lightest step. Example, now I will learn how to upload vlog to youtube.
Keep going & if you get stuck come back to the process with love and gentleness, and get help from someone you trust.
Share your dream below and your reflections so we can all learn from and root for each other!
Let's start where we are, learn as we go, and remember resilience is simply the ability to pick up and move forward again & again.
Books are a powerful adjunct to therapy. They offer a chance to gain important knowledge about any area of concern. The best offer great examples that address diverse perspectives, opportunities for active reflection, and practical guidance that can be put to use immediately. Delving into these at your own pace, and then deepening into the learnings in session, provides a tangible road map to your transformation.
At times, when an issue you are facing feels particularly isolating, books offer a low-risk yet high gain way of connecting with others who have walked a similar path, and realizing we are not alone and there is a way forward.
When I am suggesting books for clients, I look for a warm, engaging style of writing that is backed up by latest scientific research, social justice and socio-political framework, and real lived experiences shared with gentle humor and great inspiration.
Here are some of my clients' and my favorite 'personal transformation' reads for this year. I hope you'll find a new favorite or a life changer amongst these.
One of the things I have been fascinated with as a Resilience & Joy Focused practitioner, are the hidden costs of living in a technologically focused age with all of it’s “time saving” and “efficient” devices that have been taking over tasks that humans engaged in by hand over centuries. While, many of these technological advancements have provided enormous benefits in every arena of life, they have also inadvertently relegated to the ‘lost’ pile, certain vital mental, physical and relational benefits and most importantly the satisfaction that joy that can only be derived from living a hands-on life.
Dr. Carrie Baron, the author of The Creativity Cure, How to Build Happiness with Your Own Two Hands, writes eloquently about the ways in which,
“hands-on work satisfies our primal need to make things and could also be an antidote for our cultural malaise. Too much time on technological devices and the fact that we buy almost all of what we need rather than having to make it has deprived us of processes that provide pleasure, meaning and pride. Making things promotes psychological well-being. Process is important for happiness because when we make, repair or create things we feel vital and effective. It isn’t as much about reaching one’s potential as doing something interesting–less about ambition and more about living. When we are dissolved in a deeply absorbing task we lose self-consciousness and pass the time in a contented state.”
Dr. Kelly Lambert, neuroscientist at University of Richmond, who explores the relationship between hand use, current cultural habits, and mood, has shown that “hand activity from knitting to woodworking to growing vegetables or chopping them are useful for decreasing stress, relieving anxiety, and modifying depression. There is value in the routine action, the mind rest, and the purposeful creative, domestic or practical endeavor. Functioning hands also foster a flow in the mind that leads to spontaneous joyful, creative thought. “
What is immensely healing and corrective from a psychological stand point with all of these activities, is the emphasis on the process of doing and creating rather than accomplishing or competing. Finding satisfaction in the process of creation, helps create new neural pathways to feeling self esteem and confidence and a sense of pleasure and satisfaction in life.
Here are 5 simple and gratifying ways we can return to more hands on activities and help our brains and bodies build resilience, and experience joy through a sensory rich life.
Everywhere i go in the bay area, I find myself drawn to those glorious yellow wild flowers-brave banners of spring-heralding new life to come. Full disclosure: I am a sucker for spring and her magic. I don't quite know how nature does it, but no matter how far stuck in our urban, computer driven lives we get, that rising sap in the trees, the rising light and heat, & the little yellow flower that will push it's way through the tiniest crack in the most hardened concrete street, also swells up & pushes through the most disheartened of hearts. Born of a forgotten seed called hope. A little yellow flower named dream.
And gosh, is that flower pushing up everywhere. Inside my heart and that of my friends and clients. It looks like wanting to start to exercise again, or wanting to dust off that dream to start a side business, to go after a promotion, or think about having a baby, or that most spring like of urges-to open to dating and love again. At times, it's more akin to having a good weed whacking party-from the iconic physical space decluttering, to wanting to make space for grief, clearing undercurrents of anger, or getting under a stubborn despondency that just hasn't gone away. Or, even harder to pinpoint, but so valid-it can look like an urge to stop doing so much and finally stop and rest in what is.
It's not about the goals-your particular band of flower growing or weed clearing-it's more about alerting you to these urges that are rising and inviting you not to trample these flowers. It's about how you respond to that tiny voice inside you that is urging you to open this spring-and find out exactly what kind of dream is budding inside.
Diagnosing Your Spring Fever-So if your spring fever looks like restlessness, like wanting to day dream more or go outside, like feeling like something is missing, feeling bored or sad or lonely. Before you label these emotions, as we have been used to being labeled since we were young, as unfocused, depressed, distracted or ungrateful-it might be worthwhile to actually think of them as a start to a wonderful conversation.
Same goes for the more tangible desires-that persistent idea that keeps nagging you, that goal you keep putting to the bottom of your list with a sigh, that vacation you keep hearing about but never allowed yourself to have, those jobs you keep meaning to apply to, that fun activity that just needs to be put on a calendar.
How to Handle It? Now that you know that you have the signs, and that spring fever is a hopeful condition. Next, it's time for the conversation.
Rules of Engagement? Get Grounded & Present.
Get Kind, Curious, And Open. That means no shutting down what this part has to say just because you are not sure how to make it happen.
Ask-where do I feel this urge in my body? Put your hand there.
If it could speak what would it say? Trust the first things that come.
Ask it what it's afraid of or upset about? Let it get all of that fear & upset out.
Ask That Part, what it wants? Let it get all that want out.
Ask That Part, Is there anything I can do now to help you? Listen. See if you can meet it.
Ask That Part, Is there anything I can do in the coming weeks to make this happen? Listen. See if you can meet it.
Make small concrete plans (putting it in calendar, booking it, making a budget for it, researching it). Tell that part, if I cannot do this, I will get help. And make a plan for getting help.
Thank yourself for sharing your dreams.
Thank yourself for learning how to pause and respond to those dreams.
If you have a connection with something larger than yourself; Unconditional love, the universe, light, God, Source Energy-now Is the time to surrender this to something larger and ask it to come to your assistance too.
Want To Be A Green Thumb Gardener Of Dreams? If this ability to get good at noticing your inner state, reducing your reactivity, and clearing your limiting beliefs is one you'd like to build, with great support from loving community, and ever greater support from a connection with the Unconditional Loving Energy of All That Is-come join us at the Spring ThetaHealing Classes, and let's do our spring cleaning together.
And when you see those lovely spring flowers waving their bright heads your way, may your heart open to their bright promise with tenderness, and then may it open again to the sweetness of your own dreams-
Welcome To Joyous Resilience! May this space serve as a warm, welcoming & inspiring resource for all things related to Healing, Joy & Resilience.
At the Heart Of It:
Resilience matters. Joy matters. In the increasingly difficult times we live in--our Thriving matters. Now MORE Than Ever.
Here's how I like to think of Resilience: it is the inoculation against stress and trauma that allows joy to emerge so we can thrive.
Where trauma is a grievous breakdown in safety and connection that erodes our ability to feel joy and thrive. Resilience is the ability to withstand, stand back up from and transform the effects of life’s stressors and traumas into greater strength, compassion and wisdom.
The JUICY CORE of Resilience--You Are Just a "Hunk Of Burning Love" ; ):
At its core is a sound inner relationship—one where we are able to ally with, protect and nurture ourselves in a world full of factors outside of our control.
Anjuli Sherin, LMFT
Welcome to Joyous Resilience Blog! An inspiring resource for fellow lovers of Joy, Healing, Beauty, Nature, Literature, Cinema, Art, Poetry, Music, Dance, Food, Culture, Photography & Spirit. Let's Share In Joy. Do Good In The World & Have Fun Whenever Possible!