Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No joy, again

I am, even as I type this, listening in to a live web broadcast from a young woman who styles herself a "joyologist," who has found her calling in helping other people live joyous lives. I first heard about her because she's worked for a musical artist I'm a fan of, and he seemed pretty jazzed about who she is and what she does. And she's gone into business as a life-coach-type person, working with other bands and now doing seminars and one-on-one sessions. I was simultaneously skeptical and intrigued. I've never thought I needed a life coach. I tend to think I do pretty well on my own.

But at the same time, I know (as anyone who reads this page regularly knows), I still don't feel like I'm doing this life thing with an optimal attitude. And I think it IS my attitude, formed by my experiences, because intellectually I get that life is what it is, and probably isn't persecuting me or anyone else personally. Life is life; I have no control over that. I only have control over how I navigate it.

So while I've always been a little smirky-snorty-eye-rolly about the whole life coach concept, I fully admit the possibility that someone else might have a different piece to this puzzle that I do not currently have, and that I can use. How can I know unless I check it out for myself? I signed up when I found out she was doing a seminar for what basically amounts to could donate whatever you felt like donating, because, frankly, I could use a little more joy in my life, a little more contentedness as a baseline, rather than the pendulum swinging, rather speedily, between "I'm fine, life is pretty groovy" and "Jesus, is this all there is?"

She's adorable, and young, and she's got a lot of good ideas that, if you've never considered them before (and it's entirely possible that you haven't in a culture that is constantly judging you as deficient in a thousand ways, urging you to judge others as harshly, and that runs on dissatisfaction and competition rather than peace), could be revolutionary. The commentary on the running chat that accompanies the broadcast indicates that for some folks, it is, and good for them. I am, regardless of my own personal growth agenda, thrilled that young people are reaching out to other young people to share these new, counterculture messages that they are awesome, right here, right now, always were, always will be, even as they continue growing and learning.

She talks about feeling your feelings, but choosing your attitude, giving examples like being pissed off because it's raining or because you're stuck in traffic. And as I know people who tend to blow piddly crap all out of emotional proportion, I'm aware that plenty of folks need guidance on even that level. She says shit happens, life happens, and you just have to choose to deal with it head on. She talks about loving yourself. She talks about negative, neurotic self talk and how destructive it is. And how "should" is limiting. She shares a lot of important messages, exciting ones if you haven't heard them before.

But the stuff that is the lead weight to my balloon of joy is a little more serious than a rainy day and old biddies driving 15 mph in a 40 zone. It's missing my beloved. It's a world where people treat each other in stupid, abominable, inhumane ways and don't seem to notice or care they're doing it, and my frustration with that. I'm kind of beyond this Self-Actualization 101 stuff. I was looking for, hoping for, more. More wisdom. More depth. More than I have.

Because I keep looking for sages with answers, even just tidbits, that will light my way further than I can manage myself, and what I keep finding is that other people are equally benighted as I am, or worse. (Much worse, in some cases.) And while I guess it's neat that I've managed to figure some things out in this life, I want good answers from someone wiser than I as much as anyone else does. But I just can't seem to find that someone.