Choosing joy

A letter to myself

December 18, 2015

It’s real intense out there right now. The world is crying. Meaning people, collectively. We are being invited to change a lot faster than we are comfortable with changing. 

These are the two posts from my Facebook page I referenced in the December Naked Songwriter podcast on self-forgiveness.

Those of us who are sensitive are feeling the collective anxiety (dread? panic?) within our own bodies. You may observe yourself alternating between fear or anxiety or fatigue or despair on the one hand and ecstatic optimism, commitment to your highest potential or a sense of finally “being present” on the other.

And then feel shocked and crushed to be deep in the old patterns again.

Big waves.

As oppressive and invasive as it feels to experience the collective unrest within you, remember that a crisis is always a “danger opportunity.”

What more fitting way could there be to celebrate the Winter Solstice and the passing of this most transformative year than to once again get the chance to surf some of the biggest psycho-energetic waves this side of the Milky Way?

Every time you get rolled by a monster surge and wonder if you’re going to make it back to the surface alive, you’re getting clearer on the old emotional wounds and limiting beliefs you can no longer afford to drag around!

And every time you find yourself flying down the front of the wave, alive with the thrill of having surpassed your old limits, you are affirming the vibrant reality your soul has been wanting for you since the day you were born.

Claim your joy. Do one thing you love to do. Just get started. Give yourself five or ten minutes. After that you can quit. If you haven’t started to notice the fear has receded, the heaviness in your soul has started to lift, there’s a current of energy cutting through the middle of that place where the fatigue used to be.

– a letter to myself

Imagination in Action

December 19, 2015

For the last few months, most of 2015 in fact, I have been mired in the worst financial slump I’ve experienced in years and years. It got to the point I started freaking out one day this week, thinking imagining I might not be able to buy my 9-year-old a Christmas present.

I went into this vividly dire imaginational pity party, projecting old, old feelings of shame about how unloved she was going to feel, what a loser dad I must be…it was ugly, people!

After I calmed down, I realized that (a) I will surely have more money by the time she arrives after Christmas; and (b) even if I don’t, I will make it up to her as soon as I can; and (c), the last thing she would ever want is for her daddy to feel ashamed. She’s so not materialistic, and she knows how much I love her and…that imaginary future scene still pushed my buttons in ways all of you parents can understand.

My affirmation this week has been:

“Some day soon you are going to be SO grateful for these last few months. Because you will look back and know that this is the time when you cracked the code. This period of hardship is when you finally learned how to use your mind to create the reality you want and not the future you were taught to fear.”

Every time I center myself and get grounded and imagine myself in that future moment, I can feel the stress melting. Because the lack of money is *real* – at the moment. But all of my stress and worry and bouts of desperation and self-doubt?

Their only cause is the habitual, consistent misuse of my imagination.

And that is a learned behavior that I can unlearn.

In the three weeks since I announced my decision to stop recording the monthly Astro forecasts and to cut ties with the public identity that had sustained me and my family for several years until 2015 — I have been gifted with a series of astonishing insights.

Suddenly, answers to riddles I have been laboring to solve for 14 years now started flashing into my consciousness.

So, here I am, part of me just wracked with shame, guilt, self-pity, feeling like I’ll never, ever “get it”. And the next moment, here I am experiencing myself as my unlimited soul self, joyously chasing these spiritual bluebirds across sun-dappled meadows and into the deep dark woods, and back out into the sunlight again.

When I’m in that place of following my heart into a new realm of self-exploration, I’m in my joy. I’m in the flow. In the zone. It’s the most fulfilling, exciting journey imaginable. I feel like a secret agent, knowing I’m in the process of solving the one case Scotland Yard said could never be cracked.

A Brief Victorian Detective Fantasy

“How did you do it?” they’ll ask.

“I surrendered to the Mystery,” I’ll intone, mysteriously.

“But seriously,” they’ll plead. “All the clues to this case led to nowhere. Even Holmes couldn’t solve it.”

“Heresy!” I’ll roar. “Holmes certainly could have solved it, had he a mind to. In fact, I don’t doubt he did, and told you as much, but ye had not ears to hear.”

They’re looking at me somewhat, askance, shall we say. I relent. I know they won’t believe me, but I can’t resist sharing the truth.

“The clues were written on the air in invisible ink,” I say. I discerned there was a pattern to their appearance. But they would glimmer into existence for the briefest of moments, then vanish straightaway. So, what was I to do? Every procedure I’d tried in 14 long years had proved an utter failure.

“As a last straw, I pulled an oracle card.”

Now they’re gaping. They can’t decide if I’m gloating at their expense, or if I’m legitimately cracked myself.

“It was the 10 of Bones,” I said. “You know, the one that says: ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!’

“And so I did. I taught myself to vanish just like they did. I learned how to be here one moment and over here the next. And wouldn’t you know? They thought I was dancing with ’em!”

Where Miracles Come From

And other miracles keep happening, too. Such as my landlord sending a text asking if I would have November’s rent before Christmas. When I said I didn’t know and explained the situation, he texted me back: “Take it easy. I understand your situation. Things will turn around soon. ”

I mean, come on! I would rather have the rent, but a text like that from my landlord is pretty damn close to the next best thing.

(In growly Tom Waits voice:) My landlord called me the other day, asked me if I had the rent.

I said, “No”.

He said, “OK, then – just take it easy, son.'”

I says to myself, “Relax, fella. It’s Christmas. Landlord tells you to take it easy, you take it easy….”

Miracles such as my mom, out of the blue, offering to fly my daughter up for Christmas because she wouldn’t have been able to be with us otherwise.

So, I can focus on these things, or I can slide back into that learned fantasy of scarcity and looming disaster. The pull of the old fantasies still amazes me, and it still sucks me in. It’s tempting, perhaps especially around ‘the holidays’ – that time of year when we are supposed to be full of cheery goodwill whether we feel like it or not. It’s so tempting to surrender to the pull of the habitual patterns. Like recently-freed hostages suffering from Stockholm syndrome, a deep part of us longs to retreat into the familiarity of our uncomfortable comfort zones.

It’s a practice and I’m falling flat on my face a lot, but boy! When I manage to stand up and stagger from one chosen good thought to another, and then another? When I stop frantically trying to do something – anything – to prove that I’m worthy of a few scraps, and instead pick up my guitar and sing, or walk outside and listen to the birds?

When I remind myself that I can choose to be in my joy, even when it feels completely foreign to do so?

That’s the shift of a lifetime for me. That’s the revolution. That’s the gift.

3 thoughts on “Choosing joy

  1. Beth says:

    DK, this is so exactly what I have been challenged with this whole deeply challenging year. One of my family karma strategies has been to imagine the worst possible outcome in any situation, focus on it relentlessly and use it as a whip to drive yourself. With what we realize about manifestation, you can see how well this strategy works out. Upon reflection I think at its root this is about living under a punishment and reward cosmology. I am now working to dissolve the tentacles of this in my own web of wyrd. Bless us everyone!

    • DK Brainard says:

      Hi Beth! Sounds familiar. Me too. Let us know what works for you. I think so many artists and healers asbd people helpers are kike us – very good at giving, not so skilled at receiving. Which is not a healthy recipe for life in the long run. Bless us asll, indeed.

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