Pilgrims were brave pioneers that put themselves on a ship and sailed through rough seas to a land they knew little about. Imagine how courageous that was! Truly, it took an enormous amount of courage to accomplish what they did and I applaud and honor them for that.
There was another side to the pilgrims that I want to talk about here–that is the puritan piece. As puritans anything fun or joyous was looked on as an act of the devil. Life was about hard work and struggle, some of the very qualities that allowed them to do what they did in coming to this land.
That Calvinist belief in hard work and struggle lives in us today—it has been passed down through the generations in our psyches, along with other emotional and psychological imprints—fears, superstitions and unresolved emotions.
The effect of the belief that struggle and “nose to the grindstone” hard work is necessary to accomplish anything is exhausting us. As the world moves faster and faster, we are working harder and harder to keep up, and burning out.
Too Much Fun
My mastermind buddy was telling me how much she was enjoying graduate school ; giving herself permission to immerse herself in learning about the things that excite her and being with like minded people. However, she said, there is a part of her that believes that she is not supposed to be enjoying herself; that it should be struggle and strife; that somehow struggle means she is paying her dues.
I knew exactly what she was talking about—I have felt the same thing bubbling around in my head whenever I am enjoying myself “too much”. I believe it harkens back to our puritan ethic—our heritage of hard work being noble goodness and the only path to salvation
Where is the joy in that? When we live from our heart’s delight, tap into the joy that gives our hearts wings, life is a beautiful experience. And it is from that well spring that we give to others, which gives them permission to express their joy.
Go For the Joy
The way out is by giving equal value to the qualities of joy and ease. When we prize those qualities, we stop driving ourselves to the brink and start looking for ways to experience that part of ourselves that finds pleasure in living our lives.
I don’t know about you, but believing that struggle and strife is the only path to the good life is a belief I want to let go of and move toward nurturing more joy and ease in my life. Like changing any belief or habit it takes time, awareness, and consistency to change.
In this season of giving thanks, I give thanks that we live in a time that allows us to question our beliefs, heal from the past, and choose to live our lives in joy and ease.
Have a beautiful, joyous Thanksgiving with those you love,
Joy, it lives inside of us, sparkling bright
Precious jewel, facets of every shape
Joy, untouched by circumstance, go with the flow
Accepting self, contentment in our core
When we come home
Joy, maker of pure delight, essence of who we are
Joy, grateful to be alive, glistening in our hearts
©2007 Lyrics by Diane Ingram/Music by Chris Farrell