This past February, after completing my 5th rebranding, I chuckled that joy was at the core of my brand identity, because I had no clue joy was even a thing that existed!
About 7 years ago, at the peak of my DWG Indoctrination*, I was simultaneously:
- running 4 businesses: a digital design agency, a coaching business, a real-estate portfolio and an aerial yoga studio)
- flying back-and-forth 4 times to California to complete a year-long leadership certification,
- flying back-and-forth to NYC to complete my Antigravity Yoga certifications,
- designing / running my first leadership workshop, and
- moving homes, all in the same month.
I listed all of the above, and then some, to my coach and "Phew!!" she ran out of breath just listening to me.
Then she prompted, "What's your capacity for joy?"
Without batting an eyelash, I answered, "Ah, no worries. I can handle this. This is smaaaaaall potatoes."
"I know you can. I'm asking, 'What is your capacity... for joy?'"
"Oh, I have a super-duper high threshold for pain. Really, don't worry. I can take it."
"Your capacity for pain, I see that. I'm curious about your capacity... for joy."
Hmm... I slowed down my speech, "Well... I've been a skyholder since I was 3... So there's no duty... task... injustice... burden... heartbreak... bullying... ostracizing... violation... or load too heavy for me to carry." And I got really quiet.
My coach matched my silence, waited, then gently and lovingly insisted, "And your capacity for joy?"
I was stunned like a deer in the headlights, or rather like the spinning wheel of death on a Mac, buffering but stalled. I heard the question. But I didn't understand the word inside the question. She might as well have asked me, "What's your capacity for Stuwvyxz?"
Wait, what's Stuwvyxz? I am so confused. Wait, what's joy? What are you talking about? Are you speaking ancient Sumerian? How is it relevant to my professional success?
It was as if I came factory installed with "Duty and Suffering." So when my coach tried to install an app called Joy, my iOS froze. Warning! Foreign entity detected! Potential virus. Do you still wish to install Joy?
The Junk Drawer Of the Psyche
She left me that question as an inquiry to chew on. With inquiries, I normally load up my fountain pen and fill entire journals with discoveries and insights.
What's in your psyche's junk drawer? What is a thing you never knew even existed?
About a week or two later, friends came over and we randomly watched Love Actually. The next morning, it hit me, "Oh! Those scenes at the airport arrival hall, the hugs and kisses and reunions, THAT must be joy! THAT must be the Stuwvyxz that my coach was asking about." 🤯
That's how I came to mind-know joy. My coach had no idea that she had awakened my mind to something it never knew existed.
The seeds of knowing joy had been planted in my mind. But because I never felt joy, the self-development junkie in me didn't desire or seek it out.
It wasn't until the Fields of Gold in Bali that my body would recognize joy.
* DWG Indoctrination = Indoctrination of all women as utterly worthless unless she outproduces all the conveyor belts of the Industrial Age and becomes the best white man she's expected to be and follows all the rules set by Dead White Guys (DWG).
Live fierce and free,
Fan the flames
Spread the freedom
What did you feel or take away? Every comment frees genius and spreads freedom.
"Fear not the flames. You are the fire."
May these reclamation stories and liberation tools inspire and guide you to navigate time, identity and creativity, gracefully and joyfully. xo, Ellany
To renew or sustain an identity or creative pursuit,
start with Freedom Fundamentals. ⤵︎