Learning to Lean into Joy.

content me

I posted this photo today on-line describing how content I am feeling.

Almost immediately this little voice popped up: Who do you think you are? Stop bragging. Enjoy it now cuz it’s all gonna come crashing down. How dare you be this happy when there are children locked in cages in our country.

And on and on and on.

The first time I heard Brené Brown talk about foreboding joy, every cell in my body vibrated with recognition. Foreboding Joy

It’s that space of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Or think you don’t deserve this happiness so it will soon be taken away.

2019 has been a good year for my family. Both of our daughters have graduated with their Bachelor Degrees. One is headed back for her Master’s on a full scholarship plus stipend as a Graduate Assistant. The other is getting ready to apply to an accelerated nursing program.

My daughters and I enjoyed an amazing 16-day adventure traveling to 4 different countries across Europe in May.

I came home to find my husband had bought me the perfect car.

We adopted a sweet puppy from Good Karma puppy rescue and her transition into our lives has been pretty seamless considering her background and how we were expecting it to go.

My BFF has almost completely recovered amazingly well from heart surgery.

I have stepped back into my role as yoga teacher after a month-long sabbatical in May and I feel even more at home in that role, connected to my purpose to create and hold space for my students to meet themselves where they are on any given day. A lovely student recently shared with me how much she has enjoyed watching me blossom into this amazing teacher and how much she loves my classes.

My heart is full with joy and gratitude.

And yet.

There’s this fear lurking beneath the surface. This fear that it will all change. All be taken away. That some catastrophe has to happen in order to even things out. No one person deserves this much joy, especially me.

That especially me is what Jen Pastiloff calls “my inner asshole.”

I am quite familiar with her. Luckily, I am also able to recognize her when she shows up. She showed up recently when my youngest (who is 22) chose to drive across the state on 4th of July to go to a party. My IA came out in full force. I felt this enormous anxiety about her safety. Drunk drivers on the road. Driving all that way then needing to drive back home. What if something happened to her while swimming? All these worst-case scenarios took up residence in my mind in technicolor details.

Then I recognized it for what it was. My IA and foreboding joy.

Brené Brown suggests using gratitude as an antidote when this happens so that is what I did. I called up everything single thing and person I am grateful for (it’s a long list). The sense of anxiety didn’t completely go away. But what did happen is that it created just enough space between me and that story. Between reality and fantasy.

I know this will never go away. It’s part of being human. But I know that I have the tools to see beneath the surface of the IA, beneath the anxiety and fears.

I have the tools to continue to lean into joy, day by day, moment by moment.

And I am not going to stop sharing my joy.

Or the vulnerability I feel at experiencing it.