Adonis Diaries

“Finding Joy”

Posted on: October 22, 2008


August 22, 2007

“Finding Joy” by Charlote Davis Kasl


“Finding Joy” by Charlote Davis Kasl is one book of the dozen that Lisa stuffed my bag to read.  I started to read a few chapters at a time just to break the heavy progress on my other books.  There are twelve major parts: Discovering the power of joy, Loving yourself no matter what, Tapping the power of your mind, Lighten up and finding balance in a crazy world, Marvel at your amazing body, Reaching out and breaking a few rules, When you’re sinking then grab a life line, Loving your body in spite of it all, Loving children and discovering ourselves, More years and more wisdom, Dancing with life, and Joy to the world.

I liked the section on “let joy into your being” where T.S Eliot said “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood” because it has a feeling of beauty and lightness and it creates an entity beyond words and an experience like a piece of tender music.  I liked also “prepare for joy” like when you are planning for a trip or backpacking and you start to exercise and get ready physically and mentally for your adventure weeks ahead of schedule. In his “Ode to Joy” Friedrich Schiller says: “By that holy fire impassioned, to thy sanctuary we come”.  Emily Dickinson expressed well the theme of hope bringing joy:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops, at all.

William Blake, whom I am under the impression of being humorless, said about holding on tightly and letting go lightly:

He who binds to himself a joy

Does the winged life destroy

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

There were times in San Francisco when I allowed time for simple pleasure to permeate me; I would set aside a couple of days a week with no advance plans and would walk to parks, read a book and tan and get lost in side streets and stops at libraries and discover the world around me or take ride with whoever was driving outside the city to investigate the environs and the tiny exotic or peculiar villages, the old forest and even stay two days in Reno for free because a co-worker could get free stays in the casino as a frequent client.  I didn’t leave any park or public place go unnoticed in San Francisco; I would have enjoyed chatting with the bummers on the streets but they were too pushy and too dirty for pleasurable moments.

Look for the positive intentions in your behavior.  Instead of working on a behavior change or a plan to forget the feeling of depression or strangeness or other negative feelings which basically does not heal the spirit, it is more advisable to explore the positive intentions, for example if you stay in bed in the morning because your feel safe and cozy in bed for reasons dating from childhood then consider these feelings as positive and not that bad and then get out to the kitchen table the place that feels as safe and cozy.  We are perfectly imperfect and there are no one just like our imperfections; thus, for any behavior that you cringe of having try to discover the positive intentions and go on with your life sensing the joy of everyday lot.  Much of our problematic adult behavior stems from ways we protected ourselves as children; it is time to recognize the great goblins of our parents, churches, schools and the authoritarian “shoulds” that distort our self-esteem.

Tapping the power of the mind provides the ability to change the emotional and physical state simply by changing our thoughts.  Say the following: 

No matter what I have done, I deserve respect.

No matter what mistakes I made, I am worthy of love.

No matter what are my looks or skills, I am a valuable person.

You can be late and upset and anxious and frustrated or you can convince yourself that you are simply late.  The mind that accepts garbage in will spew garbage out and thus you need to change the channels of your mind from words that upset you to words that bring balance; substitute totally negative words and calamitous tendencies to words that express possibilities for recovery from disadvantageous situations. The power of positive thinking that was expounded by Norman Vincent Peale is right.

There are sections suggesting repeating affirmations because they create light energy such as “I can take care of myself” or “I can learn to develop traits that help me have good relationships”.  These affirmations shouldn’t feel phony such as saying opposite feelings that you are not feeling; the affirmations should suggest possibilities as “I have the power to feel better” and add movement while saying affirmations like dancing or taping or clicking on a lap counter. This method might sound like New Age stuff but it works.

Many problems have their sources to negative paired associations in our childhood like a teacher saying that we have no talent or feeling humiliated by our inabilities.  These problems, when identified, can be corrected by inviting the right person to reverse the association to a pleasurable endeavor.  That was then, this is now and I can do it differently.  Hmm, that’s interesting; it happens to people all the time.  It is not my fault and I can change it.  I am not bad, I am not stupid and it is not a catastrophe.  I get to ask for what I want.  Self-esteem chorus group can play therapy games channeling energy by working together.

Every time we bury our emotions we contribute to creating a stiff body and to access our inner world we need to sing, dance, jump, yell, howl in order to feel grief, sadness, joy, anger, and stripping away our self-consciousness.  Start my moaning and by the by your voice take a bright and high sounds because the energy vibrations can clear the tension.

There is a spiritual aspect to simplify your life and clearing the clutter around you and getting rid of possessions that we never use.  Try potluck parties “a come-as-we-are party” instead of getting frantic and frazzled preparing parties for others.

Death is part of life and one of the task of the dying should be to help the left behind and leaving a trail of dignity and completeness in the presence of death.  There is a group in Missoula, Montana, called the “Chalice of Repose” who minister to the dying with music and choral concerts.

If you practice reading the energy emanating around you it would be like a thermometer for self-preservation; instead of believing that it is your fault that the atmosphere is dense when you go to a meeting you start recognizing the persons who are the culprits with low energies and tense emotions.

Always remember that if you feel lonely that it is not necessarily that you are alone among the billions of individuals who are in your situation or even far worse.  Thus, it pays off to adopting a cosmic perspective; earth has been around for millions of years and human kind less than a hundred thousand.  As specie we will get extinct but earth will have a chance to rejuvenate and get rid of the existing pollution and devastation. 

Any hobby that you have the urge to undertake then it is worth doing even badly; you need not be afraid of mediocrity or clumsiness; it is better to be a run-of-the-mil player than go to the grave regretting you never tried what you really wanted to do.  There are situations when you have the tendency to procrastinate, not because you lack the skills but because the task overwhelm you, then if you feel like a baby and want to scream and badly need aid, get a baby-sitter who will talk to you and care for you until you finish your task; you always require a friend in need because you are trained to take care of everything single handedly.

There are times you need to relax your over careful behavior and take the plunge; at a certain point you have to stop being picky and worrying about every little thing and just do it.  Imperfect situations can be part of the fun if you see them as drama and think that things could go right more often than not.

There are situations when you are going against your principles but can’t seem to stop yourself and you resolve to control your behavior and you find out that you are doing it again to your chagrin and bitterness; the approach of stay-awake-stay aware allows you to observe your behavior and ask relevant questions every time the situation recurs then you go through your drama with your self-esteem intact; the approach helps you break the trance of the addictive behavior by attempting to tune into your inner world.  The stay-awake-stay aware technique does not result in immediate gratification because consciousness and addiction cannot co-exist. Thus, lighten up and keep slowly observing yourself.

Going on a binge, eating, drinking or shopping, is fun because you hide your shame secretly which is part of the high and then you say what a horrible and terrible person you are.  When you are planning a binge, invite a friend to be with you and make him agree to be a support and then reach inside and talk out loud about what is going with you.  This process might make you realize that binging for the wrong reasons doesn’t make much sense and it involves transformation rather than quitting cold turkey without understanding.

Suppose than a wild fire is coming from one direction and the wind from the opposite direction, then what you should do? Run away like hell and pray for rain.  If you are in a situation where your neighbors are throwing garbage out the window and are not relenting, then you should move.  There are times to bail out, quit, leave the struggle, and have more time for joy.

The dance of the journey to joy involves being open to detours in the road.  You should set goal but you need to keep your eyes on the present and the various opportunities offered to you and listen to your calling and follow the guidance that comes around.  The idea is to live by the truth and not a plan hatched twenty years ago.  When your mind is focused on the present it provides a constant feedback loop that helps you assess and re-assess your goals that might be changing. 

On the path toward joy you need to equip yourself with first aid kit such as: Learn to focus on breathing, to say “I am sacred and whole”, “it matters, but it’s not that serious”, “Whatever it is it will pass”, and learn to direct your attention outward and focus on concrete things around you, and play music and dance and laugh and hike.  When your mind is scattered and feel that you are losing control and overwhelmed then write a short list of tasks that you can do and stick to it.  As you take control, you may feel part of you rebelling and trying to distract you or make you sleepy, but hang in to your list long enough and the anxiety will slip away.  It might take several attempts to be able to stick to a list of simple tasks and in the mean time go ahead and take a nap and try again.

The trick to bypass the recurring child feelings of being out of control is first, to learn to connect with your feelings and backtrack to when you first got off course and then ask yourself; “What can I do about it?”; second, you need to connect with another person because the goblins in our mind get bigger in isolation; and third, you need to connect with your spirit because it is drama and not about your worth.  Remember to shout for help; even if nobody heard you, at least you heard yourself and you are ready to open to the vast powers of the universe.

Mistakes are made to occur and everyone is liable of making mistakes no matter how controlling he behaves.  Put the mistake in perspective, it is not usually a big deal and earth will turn.  Just because your parents screamed and yelled when you made mistakes doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

Clear your feelings one at a time otherwise your feelings will keep going in circle.  Learn not to let another emotion takes over your train of thought and talk all the way about a single emotion until you create a secure base from which to make decisions or find solutions.  This technique of focusing on a single emotion will help you be a better listener and thus we expand our lives and create deeper intimacy, and feel more joy.  Remember that there are always choices, even bad alternatives but you need to get over the “I can’t” status which is the joyless victim stance and move on.

No matter what your age and physical abilities it is how you feel and not how you look.  In Western medicine, health is seen as a lack of pathology such as a lump, fever, sore throat, or illness and not how alive and how you create a glow of vitality.  Accept your body the way it is today and don’t walk away from your spirit.  Exercising means bringing in more oxygen which is good for the immune system, the muscles and every cell; it helps stimulating the endorphin in the brain which bring feelings of pleasure and aid you to think clear and more at peace and have an abundance of energy. Exercise even badly but exercise; a little is much better than never.  The body heals faster when you exercise.

When you wake up massage your body and linger on the tender spots and the parts that feel sore; get the necessary pleasure from your body by touching it and massaging it and training it. From time to time make a date with yourself for a couple of hours; clean your room, take the phone off the hook, start a scented bath, and listen to soft music and sensuously touch your body all over.  You are how you eat, so learn to have a balanced diet.  Thus, when you are sleepy, sleep.  When you are hungry, eat what keeps you light and alive.  When you are full, stop eating and drinking.

When raising children you need to remember that the kids are looking up at giants and it is your job to either scare them off and curtail their normal growth or stoop in front of them and look them up in the eyes and takes them on your knees and relegate to them the power to communicate with you in comfort, confidence and joy.  It is not a matter of raising your own children but to get into your head that every kid is the next generation and you have the duty to care for every kid around you who might need your time and compassion.

Old age is hard work and those who reach old age are no Sissies because it takes a lot of determination and will power to go about the daily chores of surviving.  Old people realize that they have to make peace with their turbulent life and rediscover new passions if they failed to prepare early.  Old people need to re-learn to stay wild and restoring their sense of humor.  Lyla, an eighty-year old, who felt an outsider in her childhood, found it hard to inviting people to do things, yet she loved to be invited.  This lady participated in a Reiki class and opened up; she is staying active and open to introspection about her childhood and continued to make changes in her life.  It is excellent for older people to expand their circle of friends to include younger generations; it is not the age it is soul mates’ affinity.  Margaret Wickes told the anecdote of asking her husband: “Do you think you are dying?”  Her man answered: “I don’t know, I’ve never died before”.  Margaret was asked how she is handling so many of her friends dying and she said: “This is the reason my new friends are much younger”.

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October 2008

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