Less Fear, More Joy

A quick dream: I was married to Steph Curry!  (It was a very chaste and very brief relationship.)

When I woke up, I was struck by the odd visual and sensation it left me with, watching a guy play basketball, and yet feeling really happy at witnessing his happiness.

More than a couple of the yoga sutras tell us about an extraordinary light, a radiance even, that we each carry around within us.  Yet many of us search almost everywhere but inside ourselves for a source of light, love and happiness.  We seem to have a little expectation that the world will deliver these things to our personal inner doorstep.  I can't imagine how that began, but somewhere along the line of human development it seems we became so enraptured with the external world and all its astounding offerings that we completely forgot that there is an equally astounding internal world, very much worth exploring and learning to understand.  Not only does this internal world have all the light we're hell bent on seeking everywhere else, but once we find that light, it illuminates the rest of the world, inside and out.  It's a total two-fer!

When I was at my lowest low down point (the decade before being properly diagnosed with celiac disease) my inner light was covered up by an awful lot of illness and pain, veils, fog, lampshades and general smoky darkness.  My body ached, my head was foggy, I had dizzy spells and bouts of rapid heart beat.  Various inexplicable symptoms.  My stomach was completely undependable.  The whole world outside my (external) front door was mighty scary.  I had two kids to raise and a family to be a part of, but the fear was almost unbearable at times.  That's when the veils and fog would bear down on me even more heavily.  Seemed like sometimes there was only a wee spark in there.  It felt safer in some ways to turn to darkness.  Maybe in an effort to keep things dark I thought I could make the suffering go away?  Like an ostrich!

When I woke up from my silly dream, I almost immediately locked onto the message.  And though I'm not such a fan of interpreting dreams, or even basketball, this one was a gimme: Less fear, more joy.  

I'm not sick anymore, but I still get flashbacks.  I read the news and my gut squeezes.  I tour colleges with my kid and feel melancholy.  And then I have moments of remembrance and illumination, such as this dream, that bring me back to myself, and my own dependable light.  It is always there, but the bulb needs to be dusted, and the veils need to be cleaned and folded away.  It needs to be tended.

If we move through our days with fear, we move through our lives with fear.  And in the words of Annie Dillard, how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.  In the rather less elegant words of me, if you're shaking in your boots and lying awake at night, you will be surprisingly ineffective in almost everything you do.  And our times are requiring us to do an awful lot.  You might want to be well rested.

Find the tools that allow you to manage fear and anxiety (yoga philosophy is pretty great!) and let that radiant light--the joy!--that we all have deep inside us, shine.  Let it out!  Look for Steph Curry and Kevin Durant on the bench cracking up in the middle of a crazy tension filled stadium.

Less fear, more joy.  It's a good mantra for our times.

jennifer durand