When you feel miserable…
Remember, it’s not your boss giving you a hard time; and the world, the government, your brother, your wife, your husband, or anyone else, isn’t causing the repetition and your painful feelings. You’re the storyteller, and you can change the story anytime you like. When you perform the final step, develop a nature scene and bring it into your awareness and experience a few moments of joy with all of your senses.
It’s imperative that this experience of joy relates strictly to nature. Don’t seek to re-create one that involves a relationship, because relationships change, and your mind will point that out to you. For example, if you say, “A moment of joy for me was when I looked at the beautiful face of my baby,” your mind will rush in with the not-very-joyous thought: And now my baby is 16 years old, and she’s driving me crazy. She crashed the car. She doesn’t want to go along with my rules, and she’s impossible!” Relationships are complex, emotionally laden, and multi-dimensional. Only in nature can we experience the purity and awe of joy.
Most of us have had at least one such uplifting experience. If; however, you’ve been housebound and unable to experience the outdoors firsthand, then watch a nature video. Pause at the scene that most uplifts you and enter into it. Absorb it with all of your senses. Feel what it would be like to be standing in the middle of the scene. Memorize the colors, imagine the smells and sounds, and visualize being there. When you select a joyous experience with nature that stimulates your senses, it’s easier to recall it at will.
To find joy is to experience a brief, exquisite moment without any expectations or demands placed on us, one in which we feel touched by Divine love and compassion.
A very short description of your nature scene can serve as a code that will allow you to instantly access it. Most of us have visited an ATM to extract money from the bank using a PIN that immediately connects us to our account. Recalling the experience of joy as discussed in the 4 Steps of Joy is similar to using an ATM card. Metaphorically speaking, our “ATM” – A Touch of Magic-card instantly cues us and allows us to access our joyous experience.
Detailed Summary of the 4 Steps of Joy
STEP 1: STOP!
Say “Stop” aloud or silently and visualize a red stop sign.
STEP 2: BREATHE.
Take one deep breath thought the nose; hold it to a count of four, or four seconds; and exhale through the mouth, always allowing the exhale to last longer that the inhale. While inhaling, relax your shoulders. While exhaling, drop your jaw and breathe out slowly and evenly with a “Haaaaa” sound.
STEP 3: ACKNOWLEDGE – “WHOOPS, THERE I GO AGAIN!”
Simply acknowledge and affirm that this is your story without judgment or criticism.
STEP 4: RECONNECT WITH JOY.
Say your “code” or descriptive phrase silently or aloud. This immediately brings your nature memory into your awareness, resulting in your brain releasing happy hormones, allowing you to experience a few moments of joy with all your senses.
Excerpted from Repetition by Doris Cohen, Ph.D.
Copyrighted © 2008 (Hay House)