Statue with cracks and light shining through from inside

Choosing Joy In The Midst Of The Storm

We have been taught to wait until the struggle is over so that we can be free enough to experience joy. Joy is not something that one can afford to wait to choose only after the struggle is over. Fight, after fight, after fight, a lifetime can be spent waiting to breathe. The truth is that if you are waiting for joy, you will wait a lifetime. The battles and the fights never stop.  Even when your fights are over, friends, family, and community will show up with theirs.

For joy to take root in your life you must choose it, today! 

From State of Fuck-it-ness to Joy

State of Fuck-it-ness is one of our key terms at Big Joy Theory because it names that frustration that takes root in your soul and so often gets in the way of your breath. When State of Fuck-it-ness is activated it is like whatever has incensed you jumps to the forefront of your mind and pushes your sense of self to the back and out of your soul. Your thoughts become so focused on that frustration that it can consume your very breath. Sometimes you become so outside of yourself that you even physically stop breathing for a moment. So, how do you choose joy when you are not even in your soul and your thoughts have shifted from you to them?

Breathe and be whole.
Know that you are the subject matter of your own existence.

Steps To Choosing Joy In Struggle

Stepping into joy has a few productive routes. One is to simply tap back into your joy. You can do this by remembering the last time that you experienced joy. When you recall that experience, breathe into the fullness of your power. Remind yourself of how that is the real you. Some will know just how to do this and may even be able to tap into other moments of joy that pull them back into their soul and place them back where they belong, at the center of their own world. If that’s too much, and you are really tanked out, then simply take some space and time. When you are ready follow these steps to get back on your journey into joy:

  1. Name the root cause of your frustration.
  2. Identify who brought that frustration to the front door of your soul. That person could be in the present moment or in the past. It all depends on the root cause.
  3. Next, give that frustration back to its rightful owner. If the cause is not yours, meaning it did not come from your energy, your thoughts, your actions, or your behaviors, simply give it back. 
  4. Now, take a deep cleansing breath and reinforce your knowingness that if you did not create the frustration, then you don’t have to own it, hold it in your spirit, or even react to it. You do not have to take responsibility for that which you did not create.
  5. With the frustration disconnected from your sense of self and who you are in your world, take another deep breath and turn towards your soul to invite it back into your center. 

If you are not getting paid to fight,
then you don't have to show up to work.

Stepping Off The Battlefield

Separate from the battlefield of struggle and frustration, you can go back into your whole self. In whole self, you know who you are despite the struggles and frustrations of the world. In whole self, you can so clearly name and honor all of the ways in which you have successfully defeated the key struggles of adversity in your life.

Take a moment to think of all of those times that people called you into a battle. It could have been racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, or it could have been another pointless meeting at the office. It could be a trigger from having worked with an abusive leader who weaponized your strengths against you. It could be that, once again, someone has lied on your soul. Whatever it is, it is important that you see that someone, most likely in the name of their own insecurities, called you to a battlefield that was not of your own making.

Many people project their insecurities and unresolved trauma onto other people. It is called projection and it is a rather lazy defense mechanism people used all the time to justify calling people onto battlefields so that people don’t look and feel silly standing on a battlefield all by themselves fighting against their own internal conflicts. Once you can see the battlefield for what it is, you will more than likely remember that you have already conquered that particular challenge. In other words, you have already fought that war and won! It is only that the person who called you to the battlefield can’t let go of their need to fight because it has become intertwined with their identity. You don’t have to respond to that. Just acknowledge and honor their conflict and where they choose to stand, on a battlefield of their own design, and keep on moving into your joy.

Once you can see someone stuck on their own battlefield it is so much easier to step out of it and to leave them where they are at. If you are not a psychologist, social worker, coach, etc., by design (e.g., informed by strengths and the wisdom of your own soul) then it is not your purpose or profession to intervene. At the very least, please make certain you are getting paid to help people fight their own internal demons. This being said, it is important to name that stepping off the battlefield is really difficult for a lot of people who have been socialized to think that they were designed to fight. Just keep in mind that your joy cannot be found on a battlefield. Your joy is within.

For so many people who have been forced to struggle against the grains of society, being a warrior feels like who you are, or, at least who you are supposed to be. Not being a warrior might take you to a place of not knowing your identity outside of the struggle, off the battlefield. It might cause you to question your race, gender, class, etc. It can feel like you might not know your sense of purpose anymore. A recent client even asked me specifically, “If I’m not supposed to be Superwoman, than how am I supposed to be?!” 

But, questioning all of this is the very point. Take a breath and ask your soul, “was I designed to fight?” If the response is “no”, then release the fight and get curious about your true purpose in life. If your soul says “yes” then go out there and be sure to get paid for it. Stop fighting the good fight for free. Stop climbing mountains without even being acknowledged for your amazing skills. Instead, step into joy and leverage the best of who you are to move the world forward, no battlefield, and only opportunities to do amazing things in the world that truly fill your soul.

It is time to truly center the well-being of humanity and, from there, design systems, build institutions, and foster communities that hold people in the light of their own joy.

The Reintegration Of Joy In You

So, it the truth of the matter is that you are not designed to fight, then we invite you back into joy to listen to the data from the other half of your soul. This is where you have been living and leading just by simply breathing. No fight. No struggle. In the wisdom of your own joy lies all of the information about who you are off the battlefield. The wisdom of your own joy offers data on who you are when you are whole and at your very best.

If you analyze the data that comes from the wisdom of your own joy, you will begin to see glorious patterns that can inform who your are through strengths and how you lead when you are whole. It can illuminate a sense of purpose and engagement in the world that reflects the highest goal of your self. In fact, the wisdom of your own joy informs your soul’s ability and allows you to bring all of your magic without all of the heavy lifting and fragmenting yourself to fit anyone else’s conceptualization of who you are supposed to be as a leader in this world . It clarifies where your natural “How” for how you lead so well has been positively impacting people since you were on the playground.

The future of leadership and leading well in the world will require you to be fully you. To simply keep up with the pace of change and transformation in the world we cannot be distracted outside of who we are truly designed to be through the strengths turned joyful wisdom of our soul. We simply will not have time to fight, so we must learn how to simply be.