I am not a morning person and it’s early.
I am rushed and annoyed that I have had to abandon my morning coffee. A sweaty mess, stressed that I may miss my train out of town, having packed a too heavy bag, yet again, and no one wants to offer me a seat on the subway.
I stand in the middle of the car, surfing, with nothing to hold on to.
A small child starts shrieking.
A man in a suit steps hard on my toe.
I decide today is not my day.
It’s only 7 am.
With this all swirling through my mind, I take little notice of my beloved dance tracks vibing in my ears and even less notice of the electricity my body is conducting, never mind that it begins channeling these currents through my hips.
And then my toes.
It’s happening; I’m dancing on the subway.
As the realization takes hold, I begin to smile to myself—almost giggling at how ridiculous and free the moment is.
As this moment of folly begins to crest into an even greater moment of pure joy, my dear friend Reason taps me on the shoulder:
> What are you doing?
> Stop dancing! There are people around!
> If you’re going to dance, don’t smile as well! Smiling will make them think you’re weird!
The wave of joy continues to gather and attempts to crest but Reason keeps enforcing the resistance.
And I wonder: Why?
I recently realized that blocking these waves of joy is something that I do.
Strangely, how fortunate I am can be measured by how often I try to cap these waves. Read: all the time.
This has given me pause.
I am a happy person with an abundance of blessings in my life. A person who works hard to cultivate inner peace and clarity, not necessarily in the hopes of The Big E of enlightenment but certainly with aspirations to increase the amount of bliss I experience on a day-to-day basis.
In spite of my natural disposition, hundreds of these potential moments arise within a single day and I shut them down.
Why? Is it not obvious that I shouldn’t sabotage joy?
I pride myself on living as an open-being. And there lies the rub.
As an open-being, I have often experienced what it means to be truly vulnerable.
While I know that openness can lead to joy, it doesn’t always.
It can also lead to Those Most Painful Things like heartache, shame, embarrassment and failure.
Openness can even be sneaky and allow a wave of joy that, once crested, delivers you straight into the arms of Those Most Painful Things. There are no guarantees.
So, when I see joy coming, I hedge my bets and dress myself in my armour and pick up my shield.
Just in case…
Lately, I have started to wonder: What might happen if I were to stop blocking the joy?
How much more powerfully would I be living?
And what if I were brave enough to let these waves come without worry of what awaited me on the other side?
If allowing myself the joy of dancing on the subway opens me, could it not also open the man in the suit next to me? Could it not bring us both to then join in unbridled laughter with the little girl who has traded her banshee shrieks for a wave of joy all her own?
What could the rest of our days look like, how could we affect all the people we encounter, simply because we were willing to not block the joy?
As the subway surges forward, I risk turning up my music and shaking my groove thang a little more loosely.
Right there, in the middle of the subway car, with nothing to hold on to.
I also might start an early morning dance party and encourage people to uncork their own joy.
There are no guarantees.
But I figure, I’m already surfing, I may as well see where this wave takes me.
Lauryn Allman is an actress, writer and yogini who loves comedy and thinking the most. Born and raised in the prairies, pursuing her dreams and her great sense of adventure continue to move her Eastward. Follow her Twitter.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise