Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Experiencing more joy | Family

Friends recently posted a beautiful photograph of their newborn grandson, saying, “He is a bundle of joy.”

The birth of a child can ignite a tsunami of joy. Joy is happiness on steroids. It is a brilliant excitation and expansion of our heart that touches our soul. It transports us to a lovely, elevated state.

We love the joy that we see children express when they dance, sing, play. Their very being is joyous. Wouldn’t it be great to experience more joy during the ordinary, everyday parts of our lives? Is it possible to experience joy if we have wounds and have had icky things happen?

Both are absolutely possible, if we slow down. Joy requires us to be in the moment. The birth of my friends’ grandson was a hard stop moment. There was no ignoring it. Through his presence that little one said, “Stop, I am here. Your world will no longer be the same. Everything changes.”

Joy also requires us to experience loss in the same way. When my brother died in October, he said through his shocking absence, “Stop, I am gone. Your world will no longer be the same. Everything changes.”

There was no ignoring the moment or sliding through it with eyes closed or tucking it away. Grief, also a tsunami, creates an expansion of our heart that touches our soul. It transports us to a stunning, elevated place.

In No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with The Internal Family Systems Model, Richard Schwartz wrote, “Within each of us is a wise, compassionate essence of goodness that knows how to relate harmoniously.” He further explained we are not “one messed-up mind, but an internal system of parts.

Sure, these parts can sometimes be disruptive or harmful, but once they are unburdened, they return to their essential goodness. And because this is true, each of us has a clear path in front of us to access and lead our lives — inner and outer — from that essence.” That is where we experience more joy even in the everyday.

Slowing down can be scary because it gives voice to those parts of ourselves we may not wish to notice, listen to, or even admit exist. They might be frightened parts, angry parts, judging parts or hurt parts. However, the book’s title says it all — there are no bad parts. By slowing down, we can courageously give voice to the parts of ourselves that have been hiding out and allow them to be heard and supported (unburdened). That can be a painful process, and the benefits are vast.

Richard Schwartz said there is much to gain, including “more love for yourself and others, more access to your inner joy and delight (as well as to your rich sadness and grief), and more meaningful habits and activities with a sense of fulfilling vision .”

I invite you to slow down, take the time to discover your many parts — a journey you need not go on alone but with the guidance of a good therapist or coach — and understand that beneath the veneer of each of us is goodness. From there, joy can arise even in the ordinary, everyday of life.

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