After posting a heartfelt giddy rant of joy on my facebook page, the shame slowly crept in and I found myself getting out of bed hours later to delete it.
This gratitude birthed after the slow reappearance of health and a long awaited move to open space sprawling along the Rocky mountains where bald eagles circle and coyotes run wild.
As my heart filled with exuberance for life, I felt the natural draw to share it. So I did, then went to bed.
As my heart filled with exuberance for life, I felt the natural draw to share it. So I did. Then I checked the newsfeed and went to bed.
Unbeknownst to me, the tragedies hitting the world over the last 24 hours negated all right to share happiness. There was instant backlash to my sunny post. 1st world issues and Must be nice comments had found their way under my post in the hour since I went to bed.
California was burning and sliding right off the now muddy map, and those gorgeous jaw-dropping coastal neighborhoods I had driven through this summer were gone. Just gone. I quickly searched for online videos of what had happened and there filling my screen was Oprah walking her now destroyed California land in boots looking lost and distraught. I know it sounds silly, but when someone like Oprah, a force of goodness and positivity for so many of us is shakily videotaping her own devastation, something inside of me kinda cracked.
That rush of heat and shame I’ve felt after doing something wrong crept its searing redness throughout my entire body. Who was I to share my happiness when such tragedy was hitting so many people? How dare I gush the beauty of my life all over the internet while friends in tragedy hot spots might see my post as they mourn their losses and feel their fears.
So, I did what any shameful and guilty person would do; I rushed back online to erase any trace of my happiness. I trashed my own joy.
Deep shame seared as I replayed my sparkly fairy dust words of joy through my mind. God, I hope no one saw that post. Who do I think I am? I feel so selfish!
I caught myself as I pulled out that old familiar shame game and began to wonder if there’s some faulty default button inside us all that immediately minimizes the good in life when the people around us go through tough times.
Why do we trash and stash our joy in dark secret places when the rest of the world seems to be going down? Why do we feel unworthy to experience anything good when the rest of the world is suffering?
It’s because we really care, and we forget that joy heals the world.
We all know the greatest power in the whole world is love, but we forget that joy is the by-product of love They’re like the dynamic duo you see when you unlock the door to all things wonderful in life.
The side-effect of love is joy, and joy explodes all over itself when our hearts are filled with gratitude. When we take the time to really notice what we’re grateful for, joy suddenly starts spreading like room temperature butter on a hot frying pan. It’s a trickle-down effect. We trigger love when our hearts are filled with gratitude and the sweet emotional consequence that comes from this union is one of pure joy.
Have you ever noticed that we’re exceptionally grateful when we’ve survived a period of pure in the toilet miserable existence? Why is that? We go through hard times, we survive, and if we’re very lucky and resilient, we grow stronger for it and learn to appreciate what truly matters in life.
And, that’s exactly what I did. Like you, I earned that joy. A joy I then tried to diminish in shame.
I know the Dalai Lama, Jesus, or perhaps your favorite great Aunt, would remind us of 3 things:
Love heals the world.
We can’t get sad enough, poor enough, or sick enough to heal the world.
We heal the world by shining our brightest and letting our love flow.
Goodness in life should not be minimized because the world is hurting. Our joy actually heals the world when we feel it openly because we’re filled with love.
When we’re super powered to spread that love, to lift others up and to remind them of the love and joy they’ve felt in their own lives and will feel again, we become the solace and hope that lights their way back home again.
It’s time to trash the shame game.