What if we became our own best friend?

The ego does not like unknowns. It wants certainty, plans! It wants control.

And yet, all our gifts reside in the place beyond the ego. The vast field of love that is our wider consciousness is just waiting for us to conspire with it.

What if we took a leap of great daring and allowed it to surprise us?

What if we bet on ourselves for once and became our own best friend? What magic might unfold?

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?

— Erin Hanson

Artwork my own. Free with any purchase through November 18th.

(Heads up – I’m giving away this print for free in my Etsy shop with any purchase made now through November 18th! May it inspire you to take a leap. While supplies last, yadda yadda fine print!)

MAY YOU FLY, BEAUTIFUL ONES.

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram for more joy and inspiration!

Are you running the old fear program? (Aka clippy from windows 97)

Our highest and true self – which is us – doesn’t experience fear. Fear is artificial to our natural state. We’ve been inundated with conditioning and programming that tells us otherwise. So why do we (ahem…I?!) continue to choose to listen to it?

Earlier this summer I attended sacred ceremony for five days and was able to observe what it feels like to be in the place where fear not only can’t touch you, it’s as though it doesn’t exist and can’t exist. It. was. amazing. Even though I’d been told that fear isn’t our natural state I’d never experienced it quite like this, where fear literally couldn’t touch me. It was so eye opening!

Of course, I left ceremony and returned home and eventually came back down into the density that governs 3rd and 4th dimensional reality. I saw fear creep its way back in.

Which got me thinking, what gives? What keeps me listening to fear when I know it has no business being in my world? Habit mostly. The brain has been running this old crappy program that’s sorely in need of an update. It’s like I’ve still got Windows 97 running with Clippy telling me to be AFRAID, be VERY AFRAID! (Side note: did you know his official name is Clippit?)

be afraid, very afraid! Says Clippy

Time to kick clippy to the curb! Sorry Clippy, 1997 called and wants its Spice Girls’ inspired shiny track jackets, choker necklaces and baggy pants back! (Ok that wasn’t very pithy but it’s surprisingly hard to sum up 1997 styles succinctly.)Time to go home to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and catch the latest Seinfeld episode. I don’t need you anymore!

(Enjoy all those 1990s references? You’re welcome!)

The brain gets used to habitual thinking but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it NEW habits. It helps me to remember that fear is as ridiculous as an animated paper clip that you can always just remove and replace with something so much better.

Good luck, let me know how it goes. I for one am ready for a new brain/office assistant, so to speak! (Just not Microsoft Bob, seriously what WAS Bill Gates thinking?!)

UPDATE: what should the new brain/office assistance look like? Ooo it needs a name! Share your ideas!

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram for more joy and inspiration!

It’s probably not completely doomed!

“It is probably not completely fucked and doomed. At worst, it’s only slightly fucked and doomed.”  Mantra by *Sam Lamott (@samlamott) (*Offspring of one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott!)

Is it me, or does the world feel a little bit chaotic lately? Pretty sure that this week we moved up a notch from You Gotta be Kidding Me to This is Getting Pretty Bonkers.

6939ffec-dac1-4c72-b109-1cc2b48cce94-786-0000008410ad7071

Chaos galore. We’ve got hurricanes!! 3,000 dead people miraculously coming back to life from said hurricanes!! Taking money from the people who help during hurricanes so we can detain more children! (Although…if we can bring the dead back to life, maybe we don’t need FEMA??)

It’s all got me thinking: What do we do with chaos? That is, other than respond with fear. (Or booking a one-way flight directly to Justin-Trudeau-land.) 

All I know is that I have a predictable pattern I use when the latest crazy drops from the heavens and into my news feed.  And–because you’ll notice one of the below steps is writing (HA!)–I’m gonna write about it and share with you

Let’s call it, Sarah’s Seven Steps™ to Responding to the Chaos: (fictional trademark and everything.)

  1. Denial. Muttering over and over How is this HAPPENING? This can’t be happening! 
  2. ALL-CAPS STAGE. (AKA seeking validation from those who see it the way you do.) Post to facebook with crazy emoji faces that basically scream “OMG GUYS DO YOU SEE  THIS IS?!” *Yes they do unless they don’t and in that case your article won’t make them “see” it.  (Not that I heed this advice, I do this ALL THE TIME. See the all caps??!)
  3. Fight or Flight.  Responding with, “I’ve gotta do something! There are kids in cages! “OR,“Nope nope nope. Can’t deal with the crazy today! Gonna binge watch Making-It.” 
  4. Grapple with existential angst. Chocolate helps. So does talking aloud to beagles. 
  5. Surrender. Sweet, sweet surrender. You know, facing the feelings under it all. Having a good cry about the children. Discovering that you feel a lot better after facing the feels.
  6. Magic! Transmuting/alchemizing the pain. (Which auto correct wants to change to “Schematizing” – sure that works too.)  You feel the feels, you eat the chocolate…now what? For me, I transmute the pain through art or writing. I take the pain and turn it into joy. It’s basically magic.
  7. Repeat.  Again and again and again. The world is at bonkers-level crazy after all. And maybe bit by bit…our creations of joy build a beautiful new world out of the chaos.

THAT’S ALL I GOT. (OH: and vote in the midterms. Do that too! Register to vote and/or request your vote-by-mail if you haven’t yet!)

What about you? How do you cope with the crazy? Did I miss any steps? What level comes next you think?

1d49b925-4615-4444-b251-2458d9b8207a-786-00000083dcf4eab6-1

theodor-adorno-art-quotes-the-task-of-art-today-is-to-bring-chaos-into

Pursuing joy

At some point this past year I decided I wanted my life to be about pursuit of joy rather than reduction of suffering. And to paraphrase Frost, it has made all the difference.

For me it looks like embracing my inner artist. I was born an artist but along the way morphed, conformed, forgot. It’s all good. The journey back to myself has been so sweet! I’m leaping into fear, taking an undergrad art class with students who are literally half my age. Fear and joy! Fear and joy! Even the smell of art supplies makes my heart sing.

Are there any small ways you can increase joy? Share you victories below!! I’m so happy to give virtual high fives to you brave souls.

Be like the Painted Bunting

When a male painted bunting feels threatened it sings out a loud, clear, beautiful song from its perch, all the while dazzling in a bold palette of red, blue, green and yellow.

You can do this too. When facing darkness and fear, dare to show your bold colors and sing your beautiful song. Sing it into the void. Pierce the darkness. Display your beauty in an act of radical love and joy.

11955472114_77a5abe40f_z

Male painted bunting. https://flic.kr/p/jdsVky “Painted Bunting” by Andy Morrfew is licensed under CC BY 2.0

*A female and male bunting have been visiting my feeder this week. Highly unusual for my location in Florida. They aren’t even scared away by my loud three year old or my barking beagles. Can you believe it? It all defies logic and makes my heart sing. These birds fill me with such joy and hope!