Inside: Episode eight of The ALIP Podcast: Rebranding Middle Age.
“What if joy is not only entangled with pain, suffering, and sorrow but is also what emerges from how we care for each other through those things?” – Ross Gay, Inciting Joy
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I learned to armor up at a young age. Lately I’ve been thinking through some of the reasons that may have led to this. In my early childhood, two of my friends died – one of cancer, one in a house fire down the street. Siblings who had been abused joined our family and because they did not receive any support as individuals, and we did not receive any support as a family, this brought some chaos to our home. One of my sisters burned our house down when I was 11. My mom got cancer the first time when I was 21 or so and she died 10 years later. My dad died of cancer about 10 years after that and there were a lot of other layers of heartache and fear mixed in.
My parents relied on my husband and I to come help whenever there was a new crisis – and I was happy to help. But I lived on high alert. I remember one day recognizing that I could not and would not allow myself to feel too happy because when the next bad thing came that lay in wait just around the bend, I’d have further to fall.
SOME KEY IDEAS
- Brené Brown says that we armor up to avoid shame, anxiety, uncertainty, and fear and this usually revolves around 1 of 3 methods: striving for perfection; numbing out; disrupting joyful moments by dress-rehearsing tragedy and imagining all the ways that things could go wrong.
- Joy is a basic human emotion and it’s also the most vulnerable emotion – it makes sense that we armor up as a form of self-protection. To allow joy to live in our bodies and lives we must learn safety in vulnerability.
- I mention soul child theory re: the Enneagram / my nature or essence is joy.
- You can’t necessarily manufacture joy but you can allow it, notice it, feel it, savor it. We can also become awake to conditioning and cultural dictates that rob us of joy (I didn’t say this but more to come in season 2).
- When we are mindful of our suffering and respond with kindness… we cope with greater ease. We create a state of mind and heart that reduces psychopathology while enhancing joy and meaning in life. – Kristin Neff and Andrew Costigan
- Joy is a distinct positive emotion “for when we feel connected or reunited with something or someone that’s really important to us.” -Phillip Watkins, psychologist who studies joy, gratitude, happiness
- “Rejoice. An odd word that literally means ‘to experience joy again.’ That should be our daily mission. To experience joy again. Sure there’s stuff that needs doing, stuff to wade through and stuff to fix but there’s also the joy of small things: a hug, a conversation…walking on the land, listening to great music or enjoying silence and a cup of tea. Rejoice. Fill yourself again.” – Richard Wagamese
- An intellectual experience of joy is not the same as embodied experience.
- Join The Brave + Beautiful Membership Community Autumn Session – our theme is Filled Up + Overflowing. Final day to join us is Oct 6th (start date Oct 9). Register here https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/membership/
- I’m taking a break and season 2 of this podcast begins Oct 26/23. The focus will be on Embodied Joy.
- Expand Your Capacity for Joy Workshop: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/the-joy-workshop/
- The Hope Map: my Monday Morning Email: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/hope-map/
- Find Krista on FB: A Life in Progress and also Rebranding Middle Age. Find her on IG.
The Midlife Crossroad
Midlife can be messy! It’s a time of truth-telling, important transitions, and invitations to growth. Here are 7 powerful truths to help midlife women (re)claim freedom, health and joy amid the messiness.
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