A new year, a fresh start . . . This is the best time of the whole year to intentionally let go of every emotional albatross that’s been holding you back! Many of my students come into Juicy Joy training with a troubled childhood story they’re carrying around like a sack of gravel. Great gains can come from recognizing the factors that led us to create our world-views, but the recognition itself is worthless unless we take active steps to rewire our early programming.
Each of us has many, many factors contributing to our own unique perspective on the world and our place in it, as well as many reasons for our subconscious tendencies to limit our own enjoyment of our successes and blessings. But for people who have suffered childhood abuse (emotional, verbal, or physical) it’s safe to assume that’s a major contributor to their feelings of unworthiness.
If I’m talking to you, let’s try a smidge of inner-child/re-parenting work to see if we can shake loose a bit of that harmful childhood program . . .
(Find this exercise and the rest of this article at Aspire Magazine.)
Happy end of 2011! Happy new beginnings!continue reading
Find out, for free, by playing with me in my new blogging sandbox! Yesterday I posted this invitation on Facebook: “Juicy Joy is the art of feeling blissfully comfortable in your own skin; being so crazy-in-love with your own delicious self that the ups and downs of real life can’t shake your baseline joy. So send me your thoughts/questions, or whatever you feel is keeping you from your own Juicy Joy, and I will respond through the filter of Juicy Joy wisdom.” Buckets of thanks to those who responded, both privately and publicly!
I’m going to kick things off today with Mike – the first, brave, public responder. Here’s his challenge, in his words: “Letting go of the fear that was instilled in me as a child through physical abuse as I was told that I would never amount to anything . . . I have found moderate to great success in my life but have always felt limited by the belief that I didn’t deserve it, that I somehow ‘lucked into it,’ and I move on to something else instead of fully exploring and enjoying success. To date, I have been a plumber, teacher (K-12 and college), sous chef, CIO, and run several small companies. I keep reinventing myself because I never feel successful enough in my own right. Next up, writer and artist.”
Mike, first of all, you rock. Your situation and background are egregiously common, but you are a huge step ahead of the pack with that impressive degree of self-awareness. Cheers, my friend! You are closer to your Juicy Joy than you know! Gaining clear awareness of what’s running you (usually obtained through detailed Juicy Joy processes) is the first critical step in any Juicy Joy journey. Each of us has many, many factors contributing to our own unique perspective on the world and our place in it, as well as many reasons for our subconscious tendencies to limit our own enjoyment of our successes and blessings. But it’s safe to assume that the one you’ve identified (childhood abuse) is a major culprit in your undeserving feelings.
I’m sensing what you need first is a touch of inner-child/re-parenting work to re-wire that early programming. Much more could be accomplished in Juicy Joy training, of course, but for now, try going on this little imaginative trip with me: Let your mind wander to a time in your childhood when you felt judged by a parent. What is the first word or phrase that comes to mind to represent their judgment of you? Maybe it’s “stupid,” or “incompetent,” or “unlovable,” or maybe it’s the whole idea that you’d, “never amount to anything.” Take a few moments to figure out what one word or phrase might sum up your unworthiness best. It sounds like for you it most likely came from your parents, but for some it might have come from a sibling, teacher, or friend. You know you’ve found it when it triggers an inward cringe – an instinct to push it away. Call it forth instead.
How does this word feel to you right now? Chances are you’ve spent much of your life trying to prove yourself to be the opposite of this word. But there’s also a good chance that you secretly, or perhaps subconsciously, fear that you do possess this trait. Look to see if that might be true for you, even if your first instinct is to deny it. If you feel any energy around this word – if it triggers discomfort – it’s active for you.
As vividly as you can, imagine the whole scene from your childhood, as it played out in one particular instance. Who leveled this insult? How old were you? If you don’t remember a specific incident, make one up. Whatever you imagine right now will be fine for purposes of this exercise. When you have the scene pretty vivid in your imagination, pretend it’s a scene in a movie and you’re sitting in the audience, watching. How do you feel as you imagine watching this scene unfold? Does the audience buy into the insult at all, or is the audience feeling love and compassion for the child in this situation? Isn’t it clear to the audience that this accusation says much more about the accuser than it does about the child? There’s no truth to the accusation, is there?
Now imagine a new character strides into the scene. It’s Present-Day You, dressed exactly as you are dressed right now. Present-Day You is the child’s ally. Yay! The audience is relieved! Present-Day You tells the insulter to never call Child You that again, and the insulter stomps off screen in a huff. Then Present-Day You gets down to eye-level with Child You and the camera zooms in for a big, warm hug. In your own words, let Present-Day You comfort Child You and assure Child You that the insult has no bearing in reality. Sing Child You’s praises, and promise that you’ll be there from now on to protect Child You and make sure Child You knows how intrinsically wonderful and special he is. Soak up all that loving energy oozing around the movie theater now.
Do you feel any loosening of the resistance around your trigger word from doing just that one super-simple process? You may need to repeat it several times to get to the deep feeling place where this wound can be unwound.
If you still believe that the trigger word accurately applies to you in any way, it probably means that you’ve created some evidence in your life to support it. If that’s the case, I want you to consider this crazyass truth: the belief you had about yourself – whether conscious or unconscious – is what led you to create the evidence. The evidence is only there because of the belief. Allowing the belief to remain will only cause you to create more similar evidence. Working now to unwind the belief will lead you to create the opposite kind of evidence from this point forward.
I hope this tiny smidgen of Juicy Joy helps you, Mike. I’d love to get my hands on you in the upcoming online course! Message me privately if you’d like a discount coupon for it.
Ahhh, it feels so good to be blogging again! I’m enjoying this new format, so keep the questions coming, my juicy ones. Message me through Facebook or Lisa@LisaMcCourt.com so we can get juicy together!continue reading
Letting Children Express Their Natural Enthusiasm and Joy – Reclaiming Our Own Juicy Joy That Was Stifled in Childhood
I believe most of us are not experiencing the full-out joy, abundance, and love that we are here to experience. And I believe each of us is solely responsible for our own Juicy Joy. I have a few theories about the origin of our miserly tendencies to stifle our joy, and one of these theories was formed about six years ago, on vacation with my kids.
We had been waiting for almost a year for our turn to stay at the brand new Animal Kingdom Lodge that had just opened at Disney World. My son, who was seven years old at the time, was just a tremendous animal lover. He had jungle scenes painted all over his room, stuffed animal monkey collections, the works. My daughter, Katy, who was two years old, had naturally caught the contagious excitement, and she knew something really spectacular was waiting for us on this vacation.
We checked in kind of late and went out on our balcony, and I think we saw a deer off in the distance, but nothing really amazing that first night. The hotel was set up in a U-shape, with a Disney-esque African savannah in the middle where the animals would make appearances. Trees were beyond the savannah, for the times when they didn’t feel like socializing. We’d been told the best time to see the animals was morning, so we went to sleep.
Being two years old, my daughter was the first one awake the next morning. I picked her up and I didn’t want her to wake up my son, so I decided to take her out on the balcony for a while since it was still pretty early.
I pulled back the curtain and I saw the most spectacular display of animals. There was a watering hole where they’d come to drink – giraffes, zebras, all kinds of antlered creatures . . . I stepped out onto the balcony with Katy, and she lifted up her sleepy head.
It took her a moment to process everything. Then she just went crazy with excitement. She started shouting, “AMINALS!! AMINALS!!!” And as soon as she did, every single animal jumped and ran off into the trees. Disappeared.
I heard this broad, collective “AWWWWW,” and for the first time I noticed that everyone who was staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge had come out on their balconies to witness this silent, reverent morning gathering of the whole menagerie.
I said to my daughter, “Katy, honey, you scared them away . . .”
Her sweet face just crumbled. Huge tears started streaming down her face. And then I started to cry, too, as I realized that it was my embarrassment about all the people on their balconies that caused me to react to her that way. All she was doing was expressing her natural joy and excitement over something that was so wonderful to her.
And I thought about how I do that to my kids – how we all do it – even in our mundane, day-to-day activities. When my son was young, he would express his joy at the beach by running, full-out, as fast as he could down the shoreline. I stifled his joy by stopping him and calling him back.
My daughter used to express the joy she got from her spaghetti by standing up in her chair in the restaurant to sing and dance about it. And of course, I stifled her pasta enthusiasm when I made her get down. Just think about how many times in an average day we ask children to REIGN IN the natural joy and enthusiasm they’re feeling!
It is inevitable, under these conditions, that a child would form the subconscious belief, “feeling and expressing my joy full-out is wrong, wrong, wrong.” It is inevitable that a child would start to subconsciously equate his unbridled enthusiasm with feelings of unease, so that whenever a situation felt too good, too joyous, he would subconsciously feel a need to cap that happiness before it made anyone upset.
My point today is not about whether or not parents should rein in the expression of emotions, but about acknowledging that this IS one of the ways we indoctrinate our offspring into our culture. This is how every one of US grew up, whether we had fantastic parents or awful parents. For some of us, the message was more barbed than it was for others, but the way our society is structured, it’s unlikely any of us escaped messages about limiting or censoring joy, or escaped forming the limiting beliefs these stifling messages generated.
As with practically every Juicy Joy practice, the first step to rewiring these limiting beliefs is AWARENESS. Pay attention to your subconscious tendencies to limit the amount of abundance, love, and joy you allow yourself to experience and express. When you notice that feeling of unease when things seem “too good to be true,” make a conscious decision to enthusiastically push past it – to deliberately bump up your threshold for joy. It may take many baby steps, but with every small step you’ll be inching toward an ever-juicier and more joyful existence!continue reading
A juicy joyful article I wrote was chosen as today’s Pick of the Day Feature Article on Diva Toolbox! Read, “How to Find Soulful Self-Esteem and Exude Confidence” at the very cool Diva Toolbox site by clicking here!
Many of us make the mistake of constantly adding to ourselves in our attempts to increase our self-esteem. We think if we do more, earn more, create more, or elevate our status somehow, then we’ll feel authentically confident. But the trick to finding soulful self-esteem is actually one of subtracting. If you recognize that you are not as authentically confident as you’d like to be, it can only mean that you are holding some negative judgments about yourself, either consciously or subconsciously.
Some people look at the circumstances of their lives and draw the mistaken conclusion that their circumstances provide evidence that the negative beliefs they hold about themselves are true. But this is backwards thinking.
If you have a lot of seeming “evidence” in your life to support your negative beliefs about yourself, consider this fact: the only thing your “evidence” proves is that you have the negative belief to begin with. It’s the belief itself that creates the results you see.
Read the rest of this juicy joyful article about soulful self-esteem at Diva Toolbox…continue reading
Eleanor Roosevelt said: “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” I believe she was talking about overcoming our resistances to living authentically and passionately — living in Juicy Joy. I mean, there’s really no point in doing a bunch of stuff you think you cannot do unless those things will expand you and propel you toward your dreams. These “things we think we cannot do” are the obstacles that keep us from our Juicy Joy. And it’s hard to force ourselves to do them! Sometimes it feels impossible. When that’s the case, it’s time to ask: How committed are you to living the richly textured life you crave? Do you believe, deep down, that you deserve that life? If not, why don’t you deserve it? Nothing good can come to you until you first believe that you deserve to have it. So if you can’t yet bring yourself to “do the things you think you cannot do,” take an honest look at your beliefs about how much joy, abundance, bliss, and adventure you deserve. Getting clear on that is one of the most powerful steps you can take toward claiming your Juicy Joy and stepping into your glorious, gutsy self. (Today is definitely a day for “teaching what I need to learn” about Juicy Joy.)continue reading