Radical Joy means embracing the shadow parts of us that we don’t like; seeing them as potential power houses rather than shameful attributes to be hidden and avoided. Embracing our shadows frees up their creative potential to move us forward, rather than hold us back. This is why the word radical is so important. We must be diligent in pursuing our joy… we must be radical in cultivating it in our lives, which includes being radical in how we look at our shadows and their inherent repressed emotion.
Radical both as noun and adjective are defined as:
a) “of going to the root or origin; fundamental”
b) favouring drastic reform
c) a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles
When it comes to joy, going to the root or origin of joy is fundamental to our health. We must nurture it, and if we haven’t been (how many of us really do?), then we definitely need to favour drastic reform, which means getting clear and strong in our convictions.
In her book Molecules of Emotion, American Neuroscientist and Pharmacologist, Candace Pert says….
“I believe that happiness is our natural state, that bliss is hardwired. Only when our systems get blocked, shut down, and disarrayed do we experience the mood disorders that add up to unhappiness in the extreme…. My research has shown me that when emotions are expressed… are flowing freely – all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to be whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good, unifying chemicals that run both our biology and our behavior. This I believe is the unhealed feeling we want so desperately to escape from.”
This is where intuition, faith and follow-through come in. In the spiritual awakening process that we are going through en masse, our intuition is leading us to the places that we have been avoiding…. As Eleanor Roosevelt said so wisely, many years ago “you must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Ugh! That’s hard! Yet we are being shown a better life, if we would but trust our heart’s guidance. Faith in our natural state of being hardwired for bliss means a radical shift in perspective… it means that we must forfeit “apparent success” for the foundation of “what’s real.” Not easy. But necessary.
We must be radical in embracing our natural state of bliss which includes embracing shadow work which doesn’t feel so blissful. This is the faith and follow-through of sound spirituality and communication with self and others…. The ability to observe, to practice mindfulness and to understand and embrace and transmute previously denied emotions. If left denied, they will tear us apart and we remain ignorant of their true function… to help us integrate our humanity and our divinity.
Over time, as author Michael Singer outlines in his book The Untethered Soul, “you will come to realize that the center from which you watch disturbance cannot get disturbed… you will understand what it means to be transcendent. This transcendence can only come from embracing the shadow which eventually drops the insistence that things be different than they are. When we are willing to let that go, the inner force that sustains, feeds and guides us from deep within returns us to the ocean of energy that we came from. We will still have thoughts, emotions and a self-concept, but they will just be a small part of our experience. We begin to stop identifying with anything outside the sense of Self and over time, we never have to worry about things ever again!”
How radical is that?! To embrace the shadow with its terrifying emotions, knowing that in doing so, we are channelling that previously stuck energy into productive pathways that are nothing less than pure freedom.
Radical? Yes! Necessary? Absolutely. Viable? Only to the extent that we are willing to experience the temporary pain of letting go of our long-held suffering. It takes time. It’s not comfortable. But it’s the most authentic life we will ever live. Keep going. Be strong. Have faith. Listen to your heart. Purify the mind, drop the insistence that things must be different than they are, and experience the mystery of “peace that passes all understanding.”
Radical Joy is Radical Self-Acceptance… giving yourself the compassion and respect that you so desire from your world. From the inside-out, radical joy embraces the shadow for a radically different life.
Call to Action:
Rather than judge your emotions as good or bad…. see them all as equally important. As Pert outlines in her research, we do this “first by acknowledging and claiming all our feelings, not just the so-called positive ones. Anger, grief, fear – these emotional experiences are not negative in themselves; in fact they are vital for our survival…The goal is to keep information flowing, feedback systems working and natural balance maintained, all of which we can help to achieve by a conscious decision to enter in the bodymind’s conversation.”
If you enjoyed this article, let us know! Individuals and organizations find Cheryl Brewster’s expertise as a Transformational Speaker and Coach refreshing and timely. She inspires growth in empowerment and connection through creativity and transition. To explore her work further, visit TheIntuitiveLife.com or email to book a complimentary 15 minute exploratory session.