Joy and love come in many flavors

ice_cream_cone-2230“I am 32 flavors and then some.”~ Ani Difranco

February has come to a close. But before I leave it for another year I would like to pay a little tribute to the month devoted to love. In my bodywork practice, I continue to take note that human nature seems far more comfortable shining and sharing in its brokenness than in its love for self. It is common place for me to hear people describing themselves as an absolute mess, completely broken again or needing to be fixed. Yet we are brilliance, as well as brokenness and everything in between. So how do we find our own brilliance?

On this theme, a recent episode of Private Practice really caught my attention. A young boy is told that his mother has a serious brain tumor. He is absolutely furious that he hasn’t been told the truth sooner. This particular scene shows him seated at the foot of his mother’s hospital bed with his back to her. With eyes cast on the floor, feet swiveling the chair back and forth, his body language shares that he is just fuming. His dad tries to pacify the situation by asking him not to be mad at his mom. But his mom tells him “That you get to be mad. You get to have all of your feelings. As long as you know that I always love you, even when you are angry.”

I know it is just TV, but my jaw dropped as I realized I wanted someone to remind me of this possibility everyday of my life. I couldn’t help but wonder how broad a spectrum would our feelings encompass if we got to have all of them, because no matter what, love trumped all? Baskin-Robbins would definitely have to add more flavors.

So how big could our joy and brilliance be if we let them outshine our brokenness? First make sure the image you have of yourself is not defined by your injury or your illness. According to James Baraz, you can turn a potentially difficult circumstance, into a nourishing experience just by changing the default setting of your mind and heart toward greater well-being and feelings of joy. He reminds us that you should feel your full gamut of emotions, but know that sadness, anger, fear, etc. are only temporary visitors.

Next take some of the greatest teachings seriously and try on the notion that joy and love are present and inherent in us all the time. You don’t have to go searching for them outside of yourself. Author Sally Kempton reminds us of the importance of noticing the stories we tell ourselves, and monitoring our thoughts when they focus on our broken states. If you find yourself thinking that ‘I am a complete mess’, try resetting your intention to something positive like ‘I love myself just as I am right now.’ To make this shift in ourselves, allows us to utilize our full potential in healing as well as in life.

“All the colors I am inside have not been invented yet.” ~ Shel Silverstein


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