Expanding our view of joy

“What if joy is not only entangled with pain, or suffering, or sorrow, but is also what emerges from how we care for each other through those things? What if joy, instead of refuge or relief from heartbreak, is what effloresces from us as we help each other carry our heartbreaks?” ~Ross Gay

Joy can be found in unexpected places when we look for it. Recognizing it in these unlikely moments can help make it easier to motivate ourselves to support one another through our heartbreaks.

 

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Stay present even in the mud

“Even when we are in the thick muddiness of our pain, despair, and tenderness, we can grow through it as long as we are alive and present enough to bear witness.” ~Alex Elle

My first inclination in the muddy patches of life is to disconnect and avoid feeling as much as I can, but the only path to growth is through staying present in those times and bearing witness to the pain, despair, and struggle.

 

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Joy is not disloyal

“Don’t be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous.” ~Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

We are capable of feeling many emotions at once. Just because you may be grieving, hurting, or suffering from trauma doesn’t mean you can’t also experience joy or other positive emotions at the same time. Your pain doesn’t need you to be “loyal” to it by suppressing those positive emotions. Let yourself feel all of them!

 

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Sitting with pain

Sitting with pain

“When we are brave enough to sit with our pain, it deepens our ability to sit with the pain of others. It shows us how to love them.” ~Valarie Kaur

When we are in pain, everything in our being urges us to escape it. It takes great courage to just sit with the pain and experience it. Not only is facing the pain directly the best way to get through our own pain, it also deepens our capacity to be able to sit with others who are in pain so we can better show our love in their difficult times.

 

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Dealing with pain

Dealing with pain

There are two extremes to avoid: being completely absorbed in your pain and being distracted by so many things that you stay far away from the wound you want to heal.” ~Henri Nouwen (from “The Inner Voice of Love”)

I naturally tend more toward one of these extremes than the other and will sometimes judiciously employ aspects of the other extreme to help me find a healthy middle ground. How do you help yourself stay away from the extremes and find your way into that healthy middle space of healing?

 

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