book in progress
This is a love story.
The story of how I found the greatest love of my life.
I share it in the hope that it may lead you to your greatest love story too.
This love story is set in our deeply complex, perplexing, wondrously beautiful and terrifying world. Not every character in this story is set up to succeed as easily as another. Yet inside each person are three great forces: the power to feel deeply protected, the power to feel lovingly nurtured, and the power to be joyously free to thrive. These powers unleash a magic called resilience-the ability to live with a deep sense of inner joy, to flourish despite great stressors, and, most wondrously of all, to reshape the very forces that threaten our aliveness and create a whole new world.
Have You Ever Wondered?
With so much information on the most effective ways to build resilience, ranging from general tips to better mental health, such as meditation, exercise, time in nature, and online hygiene, to the latest statistics and strategies that neuroscience can offer:
what keeps people from accessing all this well-meaning advice and education in the first place?
Or if you practice many of these tools and techniques, and yet find yourself irritable, down, anxious or dissatisfied
do you ever wonder what is missing?
Joy did not just fall into my lap in the years of doing healing work. I did not become automatically resilient.
Joy was inextricably bound with a deeper, more harmonious relationship with the voice in my own head and my emotions. It required attuning to my own feelings and needs; soothing and nurturing myself amidst fear, anxiety, grief and distress. It necessitated pushing back against and transforming self imposed and societal limitations, so I could be myself and do the work I loved. It meant giving myself the permission and skills to protect my body, heart and time with firm boundaries. The joy I wanted, needed my wholehearted attention to blossom. It demanded less listening to what the world said was broken, missing, wrong or successful and more, much more, of discovering and validating what my inner voice had to say.
I realized that if I wanted Joy to come beyond the high days & holy days--the special occasions & celebrations--then I had to make it a practice. I had to CHOOSE Joy At The Center Of My Life. And choosing that Joy meant choosing first and foremost to get excellent at learning to truly and unconditionally love myself.
Is the magical and powerful force that emanates from an inner locus of nurturance, protection and emotional attunement. This foundation gives us a life long ability to not only experience, but LIVE and CREATE as, our most Joyous Self.
IN THIS BOOK
We are going to look at three parts of ourselves which are at the heart of suffering and which are also the sources of resilience. Together we will walk through this practical guide to identifying and changing the internal dynamic and dialogue (the Cycle of Suffering [COS], which outlines the three roles of Victim, Neglector and Abuser*) that is at the core of almost every person and relationship. This dynamic leaves individuals, families, institutions and even countries locked in a cycle of violence, helplessness and victimhood. The COS turns the more commonly-known resilience strategies into mere Band-Aids—solutions that are either temporary or only mildly effective, because they fail to address how the three roles at the heart of this dynamic act within each person, corroding their inner dialogue and keep them from utilizing these stress remedies. Drawing on attachment theory, neuroscience, trauma healing and developmental research, you will learn about and begin to practice the alternative to this cycle of internal distress. The solution is to develop the Joyous Self [JS]: through rebuilding the core inner structures of Nurturer, Protector and Resilient Self that are at the heart of any child and adult’s ability to thrive under duress and reclaim their connection to joy. This highly effective method for cultivating our Joyous Self was derived over my 14 years and more than 30 thousand hours as a licensed psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery and cultivation of joy.
The Bigger Picture
We are becoming increasingly aware that while America is one of the wealthiest developed countries of the world, we also boast one of the most stressed out, sick, depressed, scared, violent, isolated and polarized populations. Most self-help/psychology books that look at resilience in a stressful world are backed up by the western mental health mindset, and therefore root each individual’s suffering in their own psyche or in their family history. These books often only give a cursory glance, if that, to the larger pressures of race, class, gender, environment, socio-cultural pressures and institutional oppression impacting them—stress factors that often overlap, requiring an intersectional approach. This analysis of socio-political factors is normally left to social justice or political books, which, in turn, suffer from their own blind spot: a relentless look outward without pointing to the inner changes activists and regular citizens need to make in order to stay healthy and not burn out. In other words, to withstand stress and be resilient in their journey to transform our world.
From what I’ve seen, the truth lies between these two extremes of inward and outward focus. It’s true that resilience can only be built when we focus on the essential internal shift towards becoming our own best allies, protectors and nurturers, and it’s also true that we must explore and ultimately confront the intersectional layers that block our access to this resilience. Resilience intentionally creates this bridge. It is meant to speak directly to the broad dilemmas and stressors people are facing in our current times and act as a galvanizing call at this vital moment of both personal and social awakening. It presents our personal healing journey as an opportunity to leverage our power, deepening the skills we need to collectively thrive and create joy.
In the Fall of 2017 I sat down to write the book proposal for this self help-psychology book on Joy & Resilience. I’m so pleased to announce it's acceptance by North Atlantic Publishing, distributed by Penguin/Random House. My heart is so full of gratitude & gladness and my being excited, a little nervous and eager to enjoy the process of giving birth to this “joyous being” in the coming year.
Like many a transformational journey, I’ve no idea what it will be like or even if I can do it but I feel committed to enjoying the process, learning from it, and hopeful to creating something that will bring joy, comfort and a deeper sense of personal power and self love to anyone it touches -specially during these difficult times.
This book is inspired by and written for the incredible, courageous, brilliant and loving humans who have graced my practice these past many years. Thank you for being who you are and for becoming the light of love in our world. Please celebrate with me and send your loving energy for the coming year of writing this gift that I look forward to having in your hands soon.
"The price of true love is self-knowledge.
Becoming acquainted with yourself is a price well worth paying for a love that will really address your needs."
– Daphne Rose Kingma
*This theory draws on the work of renowned clinicians Eric Berne, M.D, father of Transactional Analysis (TA) and his student, Stan Karpman M.D, who first coined the Drama Triangle and it’s roles of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer, and integrates their approach with Gestalt, Internal Family Systems, and Attachment Therapy models.