Mindset Training Week 28: Joy
Slap slap, slap slap, slap slap, slap slap. The double time of rubber soles echoed between my ears.
Slap slap, slap slap, slap slap, slap slap. Flying down the hill together toward Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle, our bodies moved with a balance of effort and ease, even as our breathing became more labored.
Slap slap, slap slap, slap slap, slap slap. My friend Jane was by my side. “Keep your breath steady,” she said.
Slap slap, slap slap, slap slap, slap slap. Joyfully present with each step forward, we ran. Dark clouds hung overhead, but I could feel a light shining down upon us.
It was Thanksgiving 2021 and I indeed had much to be grateful for. A few months earlier, I’d rejoined Valkyrie Strength and Conditioning where I’d started my fitness career and coached for years. It’s not as fancy or well equipped as some gyms, but it’s the one I prefer. Today’s workout was called 5K Gone Bad: a series of 800-meter runs in between snatches, wallballs, burpees, and toes-to-bar. Normally a punishing routine. But today, as I ran beside my friend, I felt liberated.
For a decade or more, I’d been motivated with the thought that I was working toward something big. I’d been seeking, working, and waiting for this “big opportunity” to come about, not really knowing exactly what it was or where it was located. Waiting for someone to see me and my strengths, and open a door for me. After years of watching every door slammed in my face, I finally realized: I had to carve my own door into the beyond.
Slap slap, slap slap, slap slap, slap slap. We rounded the corner for the final hundred meters of loose gravel and potholes. We heard our names shouted by the workout crowd as we neared the finish line. Seattle was my home, where I built my career and a community that cared for me no matter how long I was away. From the beginning of my healing journey, the people in this first Seattle CrossFit box were there for me even when I didn’t acknowledge that I needed them.
There was Ian and David, my two faithful 5 a.m. yoga students. Rae, who suggested I turn my writing into a book. Valery, whose athleticism awed me. Beth, who welcomed me to my first class and taught me how to lift. Mary, who showed up at my door post-surgeries with food and friendship. Claire, who listened with the most caring ear. Bernie, who was always late for class and giggled as she did her extra burpees for tardiness. Megan, who never said no to working out. Aleta and Kyle who built our community, devoting their lives to helping others. Jane, whose effort and determination were even more impressive than the number of pounds she lifted. I loved these people and they loved me. As I sprinted over the finish line, I knew I did not need to go anywhere outside of myself to find home. Home was right here.
The end of this chapter of my life does not conclude with the idealized dream of family, partner, and love. It ends with seeing what I already had all along: the reality, more substantial in essence and power than any ideal. My family were all around me and showering me with their love. Their love for me awakened my strength to accept this love and give it back. I did not need anything else to be happy. I’d been roaming around the world—Thailand, Costa Rica, Boston—to find meaning for my life, only to discover it was always with me. Right here, right now, in each moment, I am building my “big opportunity” with my own efforts. I’m living my purpose in the lives of others and they are making a difference in mine. People. Loved ones. It doesn’t matter what job I do or where I live; what matters is being exactly where God places me, with my efforts put toward the creation of a better human race by spreading joy. The circumstances of my life are insignificant. I can let go of trying so hard because I found what I’m supposed to do each and every day: love. Selflessly love everyone with every fiber of my being. Wish for them to know joy and peace. Serve my community. Heal myself so I can teach others a way to heal. Love myself so I can teach others to love. It all starts with me. This is my purpose.
Just past the finish line in the alley behind VSAC, I put my hands to my knees to catch my breath. I felt a rush of freedom. I saw my light within and was making it manifest. There were no barriers and nothing stopping me. Only liberation.
LOVE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU
When I am deeply embedded in meditation, a fluidity comes to me: time and space become transparent and what is layered parallel to the continuum of matter comes into consciousness. It appears to me as a supernova, a collection of lights so bright they blur on the edges, inevitable, indescribable.
Seeking love, even seeking greater Love, has led me on a journey around the world, deep into books, and pushing the limits of my body. Nothing has brought me the consistency of Love felt when I turn my attention within. With consistent practice, sitting alone in stillness brings a higher vibration of peace than anything experienced in the physical world. Whenever I feel unsettled, this unchanging Love is always there waiting for me. The solitude I lived forced me to figure it out: When life is vacant of laughter and voices, the only voice heard is in the mind and its limiting stories. This left me with the choice to either find the source of love or deteriorate away in loneliness. What I awakened was a powerful supernova of love.
Love is always there waiting for you too. You are a supernova. There is nothing you cannot do in this lifetime. Nothing is beyond your reach. Whisper to this part of your heart and it will awaken your light. Each moment acknowledged for its temporary nature is not morbid, sad, or frightening, it is exhilarating. You are a magnificent being of light, capable of brightness beyond the possibilities of your perceptions. Shine bright upon this earth.
The journey of your life will not be like mine. It is your own, uncovered through intentional, persistent seeking of the Truth. Life gets messy and complicated; you get lost then found, you make mistakes and learn from them, you turn around and readjust course. As you evolve your intuitive guide through meditation, all paths eventually lead to the same place: the inner knowledge of the oneness that permeates all beings, the place of divine wisdom, divine love, the highest vibration of peace and bliss that no one can take from you. You are not the mind. You are not the body. You are pure blissful consciousness. When you follow the path of your soul’s growth, you find that you are Love itself.
Love is always your home, and joy always follows.
LOVE CARRIES YOU
On a clear night in Twin Falls, Idaho, you can see billions of stars. Speckles of radiance light up the velvet canvas above like a Christmas tree. My best friend, Lacey, and I spread out our sleeping bags in the front yard of the house of my youth on Rim View Lane. Lacey had brought her constellation book, and we spent hours shifting our eyes from the pages to the sky. Navigating from the easily identifiable Big Dipper, we pointed up to the sky and traced Orion, Gemini, and Hercules.
After Lacey fell fast asleep, I continued to stare up at the expanse. Eyes locked into infinity, I strained to see as far as I could. The stars drifted closer to me and I to them. I imagined being able to reach up and inherit magic. The sky vibrated at the periphery of my vision. Stars seemed to move and swirl, expanding and contracting in constant motion. There was a dance above me and I felt engulfed in it, the pulse of my heart keeping the orbital rhythm. When my eyelids were too heavy to hold open, the show played on in my dreams.
Thirty years has passed since then. I stand before my 14-year-old self and tell her:
Beloved, the powerful force you’re experiencing right now looking up at those stars is the power of Unconditional Love, and it is within you. It will give you the courage to persevere when life gets challenging and the inner wisdom to know there is more out there for you to accomplish. Most of all, it will bring you joy just when you feel you have had enough.
Beloved, life will not always be easy. In your search for happiness, you will exhaust the world’s false promises and find yourself in the depths of despair and loneliness. In this place, you commit to change your life. Your transformation occurs when you pursue excellence relentlessly, balancing it with compassion, and underlying it with poignant awareness of the present. Defeating your mental and emotional obstacles through mind training and heart healing reveals an unchanging love: the infinitude of the universe within you.
Bad habits and negative thoughts cannot exist here anymore. Their control over the mind fades as you began practicing unconditional love for your own well-being, exposing your power. Just as the sun powers the universe, the light within you is the origin of all happiness. It is a permanent joy that radiates from the center of all beings and unites you with the Source of Love. When you remove the barriers of grief around the heart and defog the mind, you become open to the limitless possibilities of your life. You see fear for what it is! Fear is a lie. Fear is the roadblock of the unknown. Love is a rainbow bridge over that blockade. It is the faith and courage to proceed, trusting that an abundance of prosperity is on the other side.
The happiness and freedom you want in your life is not uncovered permanently by anything you do. It finally comes when you sit with and clear out the limiting emotions of insecurity, rejection, self-hatred, and self-abuse trapped in the mind. This frees you to the unchanging love that resides within. Unconditional love births the joy of your soul, unveiling your ultimate purpose.
When you seek your own healing, you become an expression of Love to the world. You become one of those stars you are reaching for.
Beloved, you make it on your own. You take a few face plants, but you get back up and try again every time with a resilient spirit. You experience heartaches of such magnitude that you do not want to get back up again, but you stand. You rise to conquer addictive habits. You become an athlete. After flunking out of college, you go back to school and graduate at the top of your class. You single-handedly operate a successful business. You bet on yourself and give up all your possessions, trusting the way to financial freedom would appear. You teach yourself how to be mentally tough and emotionally intelligent, and write a book about it. You overcome the deafening voices of insecurity and develop confidence to live a joyful life. Most importantly, you achieve the most difficult task of all: You do the courageous self-healing work necessary to awaken unconditional love within yourself. You learn that love is not something you get from someone or something else. Love exists in everyone and everything in every moment. You awaken to it. You absorb it from the universe around you and it embraces you. It is the only thing permanent in life. It’s what you’re looking for when you reach up to those stars. Love, the strongest force in the universe, will always carry you.
Beloved, your story is not a fairy tale, it is an epic saga. Keep heading for the castle. You have dragons to slay and adventures to embark on. You are not a princess. You are a wild, untamed warrior. There is no prince that is coming to save you. You save yourself.
Your meditation practice will remain a constant companion in your life. It will always recenter you. Make it the most important thing you do each day to align with the vibrations of your highest consciousness. With a consistent practice, your spirit will evolve to a state of absolute joy and absolute bliss.
ON-CUSHION: 28-MINUTE MEDITATION
Meditate first thing in the morning and just before bed. Begin your meditation practice by repeating a statement of intention and liberation. Filter the truth of the words through your heart and mind. I am free. No constraints bind me. My future is brilliant and bright. All doors are open to me. I live each day with a joy radiating from within. There is nothing I cannot do and no one I cannot be. I am a magnificent being of light. I am guided to my purpose, protected by unseen friends, and loved by the entire Universe.
10-MINUTE EMOM + 18 MINUTES OF STILLNESS
- Set timer for 28 minutes with 10 one-minute increment bells.
- Sit with your spine in neutral, shoulders over hips, ears over shoulders.
- Close the eyes and focus gently at the third eye point between the eyebrows.
- As you breathe in, imagine a golden light entering your chest and exiting through the back of your heart.
- As you breathe out, imagine the light entering the back of your head at the point where the skull meets the spine, then exiting through the third eye point.
Minute 0:00 to 10:00 (five rounds)
- Circulate energy from the heart to the mind as you inhale and exhale.
- Inhale: Silently repeat “Heart.”
- Exhale: Silently repeat “Mind.”
- Retain breath.
- Concentrate at the third eye point between the eyebrows.
- Silently repeat “Love.”
Minute 10:00 to 28:00
- Sit in silence for 18 minutes.
- Concentrate at the third eye point of intuition.
- Circulate the breath.
- Forget the body. Dissolve into energy.
- Silently repeat “Om.”
Notice the feeling of self-love awakened from meditation. Affirm I am worthy of love.
OFF-CUSHION: THE CONFIRMATION OF PEACE
Just as in meditation, venture onward in your life seeking love from within. Validate right action in every situation by asking if you feel the vibrations of Love. Love is cosmic consciousness that resonates in feelings of peace, calmness, and joy. If love is not present, reconsider your thoughts, words, and actions. God—that is, Love—is not confusion. The further something brings the mind from the peace you feel in meditation, the stronger the confirmation should be of what the right course of action is. If unsure, repeat heart/mind as you inhale and exhale. This will reset you to a state of calmness and clarity to decipher the next step forward. Using intuitive, wisdom-based guidance will never lead you astray. It is never too late to change your course. Excellence awaits.
Complete introspection questions and Chapter 28 exercise from your TMHH Workbook.
HE SENT THE WIND
The wind whispers my name so softly
through the percussion of crimson leaves.
Loving arms circulate.
I said I would find you.
This life is but a fragment of time.
I will hold you for eternity.