Thanksgiving. It’s about being grateful, right? About recognizing all the external stuff in our lives that we should be feeling gratitude for. That’s all fine and good, but this year I want to challenge you to step up your game. I want you to channel that gratitude in a completely new and different direction.
Because here’s the problem: Quite often, there’s a subconscious program running when it comes to the concept of gratitude. We’re told again and again that we should be grateful for the good things in our lives, but what if – gasp – you know on some level that “grateful” doesn’t quite accurately describe what you’re truly feeling? Then you’re forced to pretend to be thankful, so that no one will discover your secretly dark, ungrateful heart. Now you’ve given yourself one more thing to be inauthentic about, one more thing to judge yourself for, one more opportunity to energetically beat yourself up.
Let’s face it — being authentically grateful is not as easy as it sounds! And there’s a reason for that. We’ve been programmed to look outside of ourselves when making those lists of things to be grateful for. Our homes, the food on our tables, our luxuries. Even if we nobly look past the more materialistic aspects of our lives and focus on being grateful for our relationships with loved ones (which is a step in the right direction), we’re still looking outside of ourselves.
And guess what. Deep, real, delicious joy doesn’t ever happen from the outside in. Can you feel the truth in that? We keep thinking: “As soon as I can get xyz in my life, I’ll have this joy thing in the bag. Then I’ll be truly grateful.” But what happens when xyz shows up? That’s when we decide it’s really abc that we wanted after all, and we start chasing abc instead.
But xyz, or abc, or whatever pdq-circumstances you manage to manifest will never bring you true happiness, no matter what they are . . . until you learn the most basic, most misunderstood, most significant skill you’ll ever master: the art of deeply loving and accepting YOU. That is the only path to daily, sustainable, joy, and the only position from which it’s possible to feel the deep bliss of authentic gratitude.
So here’s my Thanksgiving Challenge for you: Before the family arrives, before the turkey goes into the oven, before the bags are packed for the airport . . . carve out a bit of time for YOU. Sit in silence with the intention of deeply, sweetly, loving YOU and feeling gratitude for who you most truthfully are. If that brings up some discomfort, allow yourself to feel grateful for the realization! Make a commitment to finding things to love about yourself and new ways to accept and honor YOU. Do a NakedWriting with the prompt, “If I wholeheartedly adored and accepted myself, it would be for these reasons: . . . ” Then treat that list like the pure gold that it is! Read it several times a day! Commit to believing it!
Celebrate even the smallest shifts you’re able to make in your ability to genuinely love yourself. That IS something to be truly grateful for! You’ll start to notice how releasing your long-held self-judgments just naturally makes you less judgmental of others. You’ll start to notice how being at peace with yourself causes all of your surroundings and life-situations to magically become more peaceful as well. You’ll discover that the more authentic your love for YOU gets, the more fun it is to freely pour love into everyone around you.
I promise you that if you make self-love your top priority, soon genuine THANKFULNESS will become your truest, most natural state of being.
(I’m super thankful this week to be featured in Breaking Limitations alongside many of my most beloved teachers — Eldon Taylor, Robert Holden, Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Joan Borysenko, Gary Renard, Sandra Anne Taylor, Denise Linn, Michael Neill, Deborah King, Marci Shimoff, and more. I’m tomorrow’s speaker! It’s a fantastic event, and you can still get in on it here.)
Crazy, right? Everyone says gratitude’s the shZizzle! But in working with my Joy-Training clients, I’ve found that very often there’s a smidge of a belief — way underneath there — that if we’re really grateful, it means we don’t deserve the thing we’re grateful for. Like: “Oh, thank you; I’m so grateful to you; I don’t deserve this . . .” In a super-subtle way, it puts you in a slightly lower position to the thing you’re grateful for. And if you don’t fully believe – on every level – that you deserve a thing, you are most definitely subconsciously blocking yourself from receiving it.
Know what word I like better? “Appreciation.” You can appreciate a gorgeous work of art, for example, without any of that subtext. When you’re appreciating something, you’re merging with the wonderfulness of it. It’s like you share its energy; you’re feeling joy from this thing, period. You’re not feeling indebted to it, the way “gratitude” almost, sort-of implies.
The most insidious side-effect of all this focus on the importance of gratitude is this: It causes a lot of people to look at their lives and say, “Wow, I should be thankful for this.” But what if that feeling isn’t authentic for you? Then you add the “should be thankful” judgement to that laundry-list of judgements you carry around about yourself. And compounding that list does nothing for your self-love. So if you’re feeling like your life sucks right now, I want you stop trying to be grateful for it. It’s too hard. I’m going to show you how to “appreciate” it instead.
Let’s say, for instance, you feel a financial lack right now. You’d like to have more money.
Well, you have some money, right? If I said to you now, “I want you to be grateful for your money,” you could probably stretch and do it, but you’d most likely feel a little resistance when I suggest that. Like: “Ha! Money is the source of all my stress. How can I feel grateful? Sure I have some money, but it’s hard to feel grateful when it’s not nearly as much as I need/want, blah, blah, blah . . .”
But what if I said, “Can you appreciate the money you have?” It’s easier, right? You do have some money, and you did have breakfast, and I presume no one reading this is sleeping under a bridge tonight. So . . . that’s something to appreciate, right?
Maybe it’s not money for you. Maybe there’s something else in your life you feel you’re lacking. What one thing, if it were to materialize tomorrow, would make you feel complete, joyful, like you’d arrived at peace? See if you can identify it as a concept word like money, fitness, success, love . . . .
Now whatever it is, I want you to acknowledge that there is some of this thing in your life. If you want to be thinner, or more fit, or more healthy, you can probably acknowledge that you possess some degree of health in this moment, right? There are people who have less health than you have. If love is what you’re lacking, I want to congratulate you for loving yourself enough to read this post. You do have some love in your life.
Point is: I guarantee you that there are multiple people in this universe walking around right now with half of whatever you have in this area of lack that you identified. Half your money, half your health, half your love.
So you can see that there’s something you can appreciate about this specific area of your life. Not necessarily be thankful about it – not if it hurts – but you can appreciate it, right?
Well, guess what. Appreciation has a causative effect on growth. What you appreciate grows. Even in the financial world, this is the word they use! In the bank, if your money is “appreciating,” what is it doing? It’s growing. You’re getting more of it.
It’s okay to want more of this thing. But only, only, only from the space of appreciation. If you didn’t appreciate it, you wouldn’t want it to begin with! Why do you even want more money? Because you have some money, and you appreciate what you’re able to do with it! If you lived on Krypton and you’d never heard of money, you wouldn’t want it. I want you to internalize this right now. This is an opportunity to make an energetic shift that can have freakin’ miraculous repercussions for you!
If you want from a space of lack, you’ll never manifest jack. Wanting needs to be exciting! Fun! That’s where the creative energy is. In Juicy Joy Training, we wiggle our hips when we say the word “want.” We have a gleam in our eyes.
Wanting a thing = loving it. You can’t know you love it unless you have — or have had — some degree of it. Ergo: Wanting = Having and Loving! Wanting = Having and Loving!
When you get really immersed in the appreciation of having the thing you want, you’ll be dialed into the right frequency to allow more of that thing to flow toward you. That’s the zone of effortless creativity. Appreciation is a form of love, so whatever it is you want more of, the secret to getting it is to deliberately focus your attention on your genuine love for this thing!
There’s a Kafka quote I adore: “By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.” So desires are good! Necessary! They just have to come from love, not lack.
I wish you happy fulfillment of all of your desires. I’m appreciating you this holiday season.continue reading
I’m liking 2012. I’m the new featured article today on Hay House’s awesome website, HealYourLife.com. I rang in the New Year with lots of laughter, love and cherished family. From right here, right now, 2012 looms like a shiny, radiant bucket of promise and wonder and juicy, juicy possibilities. I’m wishing you every good thing this year. You have all you need to create whatever your heart is most longing for. You are meant to love your life and your self, and you are powerful beyond your imagining. Make 2012 the year that you claim your freedom, your passion, your YOU. I’d love to be part of your journey.
Read my New Year’s Day article at the link above!
I’m off to Tampa for another spectacular Hay House conference. How cool is my life? (Universe, have I told you lately that I love you?) Tune into Hay House Radio this Wednesday at noon EST to hear me and my juicy soul-sister Karen McCrocklin dish about authenticity and the best ways we’ve found to deal, feel, and be real. (Click here on Wednesday to listen and call in.) We’re all born gloriously authentic but our socialization ensures our authenticity is beaten out of us. Here’s what I had to say about that in the Juicy Joy book:
Over and over throughout our lives we’ve absorbed the message, implicitly and explicitly, that “image is everything,” and “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” My friend who works in sales for a large publishing company likes to quip, “Anybody who says you can’t judge a book by its cover never tried to sell one.” The cover is all we judge by! And all of us want us our covers to be the shiniest, most impressive covers we can manage to project. But where does that really leave us in terms of self-love and genuine connection with our fellow humans?
At the root of all people-pleasing tendencies, and most inauthentic tendencies in general, is a fear of being judged. Many of us grew up with some degree of a fear of abandonment from being found unlovable if we were judged and came up short. And we all judge ourselves to varying extents. If you think you don’t judge yourself, it probably just means you have a judgment about judging yourself.
If you’re sensitive to the criticism of others, consider this: The extent to which you feel hurt by anyone’s judgment of you is directly proportional to the degree to which you judge that trait in yourself, either consciously or subconsciously. If I called you a jerk you might feel insulted, because most of us have a fear, deep down, that we have the capacity to be jerks. But if I called you a rhinoceros you’d probably just think I was nuts and shrug it off. You know you’re not a rhinoceros, so there’s no way I can insult you with that—unless you have a big nose or a big butt that you’re sensitive about, in which case your own self-judgment would cause you to feel insulted.
Juicy Joy training transmutes your self-judgments into self-love, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have incentive to make further changes in yourself toward ever-greater degrees of Juicy Joy. Of course you will continue to grow and evolve, but you will do it much more speedily and effectively. Genuine change can only happen when you are first accepting and loving every part of you.
If you try to change anything from a position of “I hate this aspect of me,” you’ll gain nothing from the change. If you hate your nose, and get a nose-job so you have a perfect nose, it will only be a matter of time before you hate something else about yourself. Your nose wasn’t the problem; hating yourself was. Conversely, when you accept and love all of who you are, making changes is juicy fun! You can be as creative and daring as you please. You know that you are fantastic now and you will continue to be fantastic, and that makes it exciting to change and grow. from Juicy Joy – 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gutsy Selfcontinue 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