1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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New Program Day 20: Embracing Joy

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. MicheleRenee

    MicheleRenee Peer Supporter

    hahha yayyy i told myself... the day that i get over my fear of this (doesnt matter if it goes away) will be the best day of my life so far. when i can get over my fear of this life doesnt seem so fearful after all!
    plum and Eugene like this.
  2. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    That's great to hear! When you do find yourself feeling this sensation, just attend to it. You don't have to hold on to it, but by attending to it when it's there, you familiarize yourself with this sensation.

    The more we practice this, the more familiar it becomes. And our brains naturally gravitates toward the familiar.
    Nice! You didn't just feel joy, but you focused your attention on the physical sensation of joy. This is how we develop new neural pathways.
    nele and shmps like this.
  3. hsbarry

    hsbarry Peer Supporter

    Sometimes when I look for something joyful like a beautiful cardinal sitting in a tree, I end up tearful rather than smiling. Kind of like laughter through tears. Emotions all over the place. I'm guessing it is normal??? I will practice feeling/tracking these emotions.
    plum likes this.
  4. James59

    James59 Well known member

    As I watched the baby GIF it helped me smile and feel a sense of joy, but my body still felt like it was being squeezed in a vise.

    FWIW, looking back on my life the times I felt safest were not necessarily those when I felt the most joy, but rather the times I felt the most loved regardless of how difficult things were.
    Ollin likes this.
  5. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    After being severely disabled by lower back pain for 15 years and having tried so many treatments I was ready to accept that this was my lot in life. I came to the dark realisation that there was no 'out' and I had to find a way to live like this without being sad all the time around my family. I was ready to go through the grieving of my true self which could not exist in the status quo.

    One night after a long prayer asking for a way to authentically accept a life disabled and in pain until I died, I came across tms therapy. What unfolded in the coming months was such a miracle to me. One of the first questions to my therapist was "Is this a cure?" Her answer was 'Absolutely!". "How can this be?" I would ask myself over and over. The impact of those words from my therapist will stay with me forever. True joy that I let live at the forefront of my mind every single day. The contrast in the ensuing hopeful emotions threw me on a new pathway of recovery. This has been the single most important factor in my profound healing by giving me the enthusiasm and empowerment to mindfully take on each day as a newly discovered adventure.

    I am finding my true self once again but I am much stronger and more centred. I realise that the only ceiling that we have is the one we put on ourselves. I wake up every day and smile :)

    I am so grateful to this community of caring, intelligent, empathetic people.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
    Hayley, HeleneCured, Ellen and 5 others like this.
  6. FindingJoy

    FindingJoy New Member

    So, the exercise made me cry! Not a bad cry, but more a moment of intense joy followed by a happy cry. I tear up a lot during sweet things (movies, school/sport events for my kids, touching stories on NPR) so not totally unexpected but it still surprised me.
  7. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    That makes sense. Just because we experience joy, it doesn't mean that our brains are going to instantly feel safe. It can take time and practice and get to that point where we're able to embrace a sense of safety, and release that tension in our bodies.

    To your second point, joy is just one of the feeling states that we can gravitate toward. Love is another one, so is gratitude. The important thing is to find something positive to gravitate toward so that we're not solely running from the negative.
    suky, plum, James59 and 1 other person like this.
  8. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    This is just perfect.
    All through this past three weeks I have been listening to a recording my supervisor gave me nearly 30 years ago of Thich Nhat Hanh's first week-long workshop for integrating Buddhist principles with psychotherapy. In his talk, he speaks of breathing and smiling.
    He told a story about how after the horrible battle at Hue, in VietNam, when a ceasefire was broken and hundreds of bodies lay in the streets, the young monks in his monastery were told to go into the city to help load bodies on to trucks. Their instruction was to do this service while practicing the meditation of "In, I am breathing in. Breathing out, I smile."
    He taught us: If we could do that while loading bodies on to trucks, amidst terrible devastation, then surely in southern California you can teach your clients to breathe and smile. You can breathe and smile. ...and in this present moment find joy.
    I have synchronistically been breathing and smiling instead of pendulating when one of my pain pitstops pipes up and wants attention. Then, came today's exercise and I do feel joy.
    I am so very grateful to John Sarno, Alan and Drs. Schubiner, Schecter, Levine, Siegel and others who have taught me something, given me tools to add to my toolbox and to everyone who has been sharing their challenges and stories with such courage and vulnerability.
    I am changing my mind. I can see the difference in me - my observer is clearer than before - I was hesitant to do this series of exercises, a bit scared of kicking up old pain that might want to go a few more rounds and the biggest thrill is in arriving at a kind of acceptance of TMS: As It Is.
    Miracle: I swam 100 laps today without pain. No burst of pain afterwards, so fear of pain.
    I was afraid that the feelings that would arrive if there wasn't any pain would then overwhelm me but they haven't.
    I think I am trusting this process ever so much more deeply than before.
    That's cause for joy. ...you know, Joy was my mom's name. That woman loved me like a rock.
    Sweet dreams, you all.
    Katya, suky, schnurma and 3 others like this.
  9. hsbarry

    hsbarry Peer Supporter

    All day long after reading this, I kept thinking of that song from Peanuts..."happiness is two kinds of ice cream, finding your skate key, telling the time...". May you find your two kinds of ice cream today!
    Eugene likes this.
  10. hsbarry

    hsbarry Peer Supporter

    I appreciated the story of the monks. I decided if they could do that, I could try it on my first "battle" of the day which is getting everyone out the door. I think I view too many things as battles when they are really opportunities to find joy, love or gratitude. Thanks for your message.
    chemgirl and Bodhigirl like this.
  11. Pickle

    Pickle Newcomer

    Am I the only one that felt like a raving lunatic sitting here smiling away for no reason?? Haha... Seriously I felt more like I was grimacing, like I probably looked like Jack Nicholson in the Shining...
    plum likes this.
  12. LEW

    LEW Peer Supporter

    I have a video of my grandson and daughter that I play over and over again. He is about a year old and my daughter is making goofy faces and noises to him. He laughs hysterically over and over again....even before she makes the funny face, he is anticipating it. When I watch it I get a huge grin and feel great.....that's what it is all about!!! Thanks Alan. I hope we will all continue to check in and encourage each other as time goes on. Wonderful group and great support!!
    plum and Eugene like this.
  13. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    I feel happy and then I immediately feel sad and want to cry. I don't know why. Maybe because it makes me realize how much joy in my life I'm missing.
    TrustIt likes this.
  14. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Thank you Plum for the good wishes. May you too have abundant joy and freeing moments of dance and a GLORIOUS recovery.
    plum likes this.
  15. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    My experience trying out the Julia Roberts smile:

    It felt like a bizarre, scary, grimace (think of the Joker in Batman movies). Clearly I need more practice.

    I taught myself at a young age to smile with my mouth closed because my teeth aren't perfect. I am going to have to unlearn this. I think of all the dopamine and serotonin I've missed out on....
    fredb, HeleneCured, Ollin and 2 others like this.
  16. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    OF course its "normal" Happy tears, sad tears, all are normal.
    plum likes this.
  17. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder of what a truly miraculous phenomenon TMS healing is. It's easy to get caught up in the daily work of it, and forget the joy of true progress and recovery. All done with the power of the mind.....
    TrustIt, birdsetfree and plum like this.
  18. hsbarry

    hsbarry Peer Supporter

    Exactly. I understand this. I believe we have a joy deficit and I think, perhaps, we need a lot more joy than average.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
    TrustIt, plum and Penny2007 like this.
  19. hsbarry

    hsbarry Peer Supporter

    I really enjoyed this thread, "Ah, is this not happiness" I tried that making scrambled eggs this morning-such pretty shades of yellow and all the bubbles on top! Ah, is this not happiness! Now, I have to go to the dentist today. Having some trouble with the happiness thing there.
    plum likes this.
  20. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Ahhh, the poor, beleaguered dentists. Share some of your joy and change his/her day.

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