Find out what brings you Joy and do it more often…
Stalk what steals your Joy and give it less attention.
Sounds simple enough. But the way our brains are wired… we tend to focus on the negative. Our “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous systems are being flooded daily by external and internal stressors, real and imagined. There’s so much going on in the world that is beyond our control and these are troubling times for our planet and many who are suffering and struggling.
Right now, make a list of 5 things that steal your Joy. These might be the things that you lay awake at night ruminating about; that create stuck stress and fuel anxiety; ; that leave you tired or wired; that when you think about them, you get shallow breathing, a racing heart, a tight jaw and scrunched shoulders; that make you feel separate and alone. It could be a pessimistic belief, an ungrounded fear, a toxic relationship, a soul-sucking job, someone that you’d like to forgive or something you need to do that you’ve been putting off, or maybe it’s a serious concern about the world or your place in it. Notice how you feel when you bring these things to mind.[Please know if you are currently facing any kind of imminent danger… then my heart and prayers are with you… and this is not what I’m writing about.]
Right now, make a list of 5 things that steal your Joy.
Here’s 5 that came quickly to me (and not listed in any particular order of importance):
1. worry about my children’s wellbeing
2. any person, ideology or Facebook post that promotes fear, separation, intolerance or hatred
3. global climate change and the bushfires currently sweeping eastern Australia
4. the fear that I am not enough and at the same time, that if I step into my full potential that I’ll be too much
5. feeling helpless to make a difference
Phew! Take a few deep breaths… put your hand to your heart and let yourself know you’re ok. Bring yourself back into this moment, to the screen you’re reading this on, to the sounds around you, to the feeling of your body on the chair/bed/floor. Say, “I am here now. It is 12 November 2019 and (smiling with relief) there is no tiger in the room.”
Now… what about 5 things that bring you Joy or a felt sense of aliveness?
When you think of these things you might feel an expansion in your chest and the desire to take some deep breaths; a sense of being connected with your true self, with others, with nature, with life; a smile in your eyes and your heart; a spring in your step and like the world is full of boundless possibilities; simultaneously microscopic and Universal; being centred, grounded, and radiant all at once; feeling like you are ‘in flow’ and ‘on purpose’.
Here’s the first 5 that came to me (oh and there are so many more… how did massages, making love, belly laughs, puppy licks, starry nights and nature walks not make it??!):
1. hugging my children
2. dancing in community
3. ocean time
4. looking into another’s eyes in a silent exchange of love
5. inspiring Joy and supporting personal transformation through Nia
Nia’s White Belt Principle 1 – Joy of Movement – invites you to get to know the sensation of aliveness and to choose it again and again.
Your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms can only activate when you are in a relaxation response. Being in a positive brain state allows your creativity, connection and compassion to flow. It’s not always easy. It IS a practice. Energy follows attention, so it makes sense to stalk patterns and habits that stress your body and mind as well as put your attention on what you want to feel more of. Joy. Peace. Gratitude. Love. Faith.
At this precarious time of bushfires and bullies, heartbreak and homelessness, injustice and ignorance, environmental disasters and political oppression, domestic violence and mental health crises … there are also hundreds of precious moments and miracles. Let’s raise the resonance and practice together… Today I choose Joy… choose breath… choose movement… choose love… choose gratitude… choose life.
This post was originally written by Sophie Marsh in November 2019 and published here.
Sophie Marsh is Australia’s only White Belt Trainer in the International Nia Training faculty and the first Aussie Black Belt teacher. She has completed the Nia White, Green, Blue, Brown and Black Belt trainings, the Art of Teaching (Level 1), Moving to Heal, 52 Moves and the Nia 5 Stages trainings. Sophie is based in Brisbane.
For over 18 years, she has guided and inspired people to reclaim their aliveness, fitness, well-being and sense of Self through Nia’s body-centred movement and education. After living and training in the US, Sophie brought Nia home with her when she returned to Brisbane in 2004. She has been collaboratively building and leading an Australia-wide Nia community ever since.
In her classes, workshops, retreats and trainings, Sophie holds a welcoming and playful space for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with their body’s innate wisdom and joy of movement. Sophie also shares adapted Nia sessions, “Joy Therapy” for populations with special needs, including multicultural communities, teens and older populations, mental health groups, cancer survivors, and for women desiring to heal their relationship with their sensuous body.
Learn more about Sophie and her Class Timetable.