Going Over the Line Into JoyBy Phyllis Stein, Ph.D.
December 31, 2006
After practicing Inner Bonding for many years, Phyllis discovers the secret to feeling joy.
Joy is our birthright. It is who we really are. But we forget. A lot of us grow up in families where joy is completely absent. We may even see that other people in other families are joyful, but we have already decided that we do not get to do that. There are many life-changing events in Inner Bonding, but rediscovering your joy is up there with the most important.
I guess I could say that I practiced "joyless" Inner Bonding. I dialogued regularly with my little girl, trying to understand her, fix her, make her better. It did help, certainly compared to not doing it at all, but "better" was still within that narrow, sort of numb and uncomfortable place that I had spent my life. There were good times, of course and even better times at the many intensives that I attended, but not what I would call real joy. For openers, I had to get connected to spirit first (the subject of another column). Margaret keeps telling us this, but I want to repeat it. Getting connected to spirit, however that is for you, is vital. There is no way to get there without it.
One day, in the deepest pain and grief, that I believed was about knowing that my husband was leaving me, I asked my little girl if all of that pain was really about my abandoning her. She said "Yes" and a trap door opened inside me. For the first time in all those years of Inner Bonding, I felt the depth of the pain that my little one had felt all these year because of MY leaving HER, because of MY not taking care of her. I saw that I had tried to give the job of taking care of her to my husband, which was doubly abusive because he didn't want it. I totally got that she would be in this pain, whether I felt it or not, if I did not take the job of taking care of her. I was deeply connected to spirit as well and God showed me what a beautiful and amazing person she is and for the first time I was really able to bring God's love thru to her. I felt blessed to have such a beautiful child and blessed that I could really begin to take care of her. I went from the deepest pain to absolute JOY.
This JOY was the experience that does not disappoint. I had imagined that bringing love to myself would feel as good as it felt when my husband was willing to connect with me, only I would be doing it for myself. I think a lot of us have versions of that: Joy is something we get from other people. Well, I went over the line that day. Once I had the experience, I knew, for the first time where I was going with Inner Bonding. Margaret often says that if you are not feeling peace and joy you need to dialog some more, but if you never have you can't know that.
I think something that was very helpful was that I was not at an Intensive. I think a lot of people do experience this JOY for the first time at an intensive, but that makes it seem like you need an intensive to go there. I know now that is not true. I can't say that from that time on I lived in a state of JOY, but I can say that from that time on I wanted to learn about what was keeping me from feeling it. I can also say that now, a year later, my energy is tuned to the JOY station and that when the frequency drifts, I notice it and can choose to bring it back. It really is possible to be happy, even if you didn't have a happy childhood!
So, if you are in pre-JOY Inner Bonding, be patient. Just do the work, especially around finding a source of divine love. Once you go over this line, other people and things will not have so much power over you, because you will know that being connected with your child and with spirit brings you more than you ever hoped for. As we are fond of saying, "This stuff works!"
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What do you do when your heart hurts from others unloving behavior or from the pain of life? Do you get angry and blame someone? Do you shut down or turn to addictions? Do you ignore your feelings? Instead, hold your pain with compassion and gentleness and give yourself permission to cry, which is the god-given way of releasing pain.
By Dr. Margaret Paul