I’ve been focusing a LOT on Joy lately… you got a hint of that in last month’s Deb’s Picks, and even moreso in the past few weeks if we’re connected on Instagram and/or Facebook. (If not, join me there!)
Well, maybe more accurately, I’ve been re-activating my life-long connection to joy. And that’s because in mid-September, I was introduced to the “Chair of Joy™” movement.
I admit, when my dear friend Minx (she’s one of the co-authors on our Authentic Woman Seasonal Playbooks) turned me on to it, my knee-jerk reaction was to roll my eyes and think “Really?? You want me to jump onto that clichéd JOY bandwagon with Oprah and Deepak??”
Which, in retrospect, was pretty out of character for me — #1 because my default response to most things is generally more positive than cynical; and #2 because years ago, when I was first trained as a coach in the late 90s, I identified JOY as one of my top three core values. AND it’s at the center of my “Life Purpose Statement” that I crafted back then and still resonates deeply for me today. (I’ll share it with you if you ask!)
I’m still unpacking exactly why I responded like that… something about not wanting people to think I was superficial or “Pollyanna-ish” to be so passionate about joy, especially in the midst of tumultuous times. And also feeling as I have in the past, that I have to tone down my natural enthusiasm cuz it’s “too much” for some people. (I actually had a friend in high school tell me I was depressing to be around because I was always so cheerful.)
The Chair of Joy™ Experience
Whatever it was, within a few weeks, I was with the totally joy-full, visionary founder of Joyely, Sheryl Lynn, introducing the Chair of Joy™ (CoJ) experience at two different events in Trenton, NJ. I was blown away by the reactions of people who participated and sat in Sheryl’s magical “throne” (that’s me in it above!), from burly maintenance guys and police detectives, to sensitive social workers and pastors. (You can click on the photo to go right to Joyely.com and find out more.)
So what exactly is this “experience”? Basically. it’s a 4-part meditation — SIT, BREATHE, THINK, FEEL — that anyone can do, anywhere, in just a few minutes. So simple and, I’m discovering, incredibly powerful. I now do it every day — in my office, on the subway, under one of my trees — and have introduced it to tons of people already, including highlighting it in one of my recent YouTube videos (definitely check that out to get a taste.)
An added bonus, and something that really locked in the importance of this work for me, is that there’s an extensive body of neuroscience research that shows the affects of JOY on the brain, and by extension, in your life. A regular, mindful practice focused on joy can help reduce stress, lower your blood pressure and heart rate, and increase resilience and productivity. Pretty cool, huh?!
How about you? What’s your relationship to joy? Is it something you can call on in tough times?
One of the reasons I think the CoJ is so powerful is that you actually evoke a special “chair” and place yourself in it very viscerally during the meditation. As one of my coach friends said after he went through it, “I get it now — imagining yourself physically sitting in a significant chair really allows you to fully embody the experience of joy.”
And the earthy-y, body-loving energy of the upcoming Taurus Full Moon is the perfect time to introduce this to my Spirited Living community! The fact that we’re now moving through the deep, transformative Scorpio season from October 23rd — November 22nd only highlights this embodied energy as well.
So be sure to join us for my upcoming Taurus/Scorpio Full Moon TeleMeditation this Friday, October 27th when, among other things, I’ll lead everyone through a Chair of Joy experience! Click HERE for details on how to join us. Hope to “hear” you then
Now check out this month’s Deb’s Picks for a creative mix of joy and/or body-centered resources!
Minx found this one, too… and as you can see, I jump on anything she recommends cuz I know it will be great! This 5-day practice offers questions for reflection, poetry, videos, short essays, and research highlights, as well as a guided practice that builds on the day’s focus and resources. Sounds like yet another powerful way to build your joy muscle. I’ve registered and you can, too, by clicking on the link above.
I’ve written about this powerful kundalini practice before… it’s been one of my “morning meds” since the beginning of the pandemic and it’s another one of those mindfulness practices that’s has some powerful research attached to it. What I love about it is that it’s one of those very embodied forms of meditation (are you catching the theme here?!), with both chanting and mudras (sacred hand movements). Click on HERE to watch my YouTube video about it and get more information. Let me know if you try it!
If you’re overwhelmed or have experienced trauma, any number of sensations can hijack your nervous system — anxiety, panic, anger, rage, hopelessness, depression, sadness, body aches and ailments. If there’s anyone who can help you calm down and re-calibrate before you go over the edge, it’s my dear friend, Lynn. SE is what it sounds like — a powerful body-oriented therapy. This Taurus season could be a perfect time to explore it and re-discover joy. Click on Lynn’s name above and check out her website.
When I first started leading Women’s Circles in the mid-90s, one of my early mentors introduced me to this gentle, therapeutic form of movement and I’ve incorporated it into many circles and workshops since then. With your eyes closed and no music, you explore spontaneous gestures, movement, and stillness, while being “witnessed” by someone else. Your witness can be live or even holding the space for you through Zoom. It really is a powerful experience for both the Mover and the Witness. Janet Adler’s book “Arching Backward” offers a beautiful glimpse into its healing power.
I’ve often said that singing is one of my favorite “therapies” and has brought me joy since I was a kid, so of course I want to share resources here! That’s me singing with some of my SoHarmoniums chorus sisters (next month I’ll tell you about our Holiday Concert coming up in December) in 4thU Artivist’s Cabaret a few years ago… and if you click on the photo you’ll get a terrific article on the health benefits of singing. Sacred chanting is another wonderful outlet — basically it’s like a vocal meditation. I did two videos 10 years ago offering some favorite chants — one of them with Sanskrit chants and the other Women’s Circle chants. Click on the links and enjoy! And let me know if you want to hear more.
I hope some of these Picks inspire you to find new ways to cultivate JOY in your life, and from that balanced space to spread it into the world. And as always, if you have any events or resources to share, I’d love to hear them!
With joyful Autumn blessings,