I walked down to the beach this morning. We live just a few blocks away in a wonderful, small beach town in Florida called Flagler Beach.
As I walked I felt this welling of joy. Absolute happiness.The conditions were right, the air the perfect temperature, the sun hanging low in its morning position…but this feeling wasn’t coming from the outside, this was welling up from inside, percolating like a bubbling spring.
As I stepped barefoot on the asphalt, it hit me, like it always does. The fear. The caution. I have been taught for most of my life that ecstatic joy is in fact a bad thing–a symptom of a mental illness. You know, the M word: Mania. Up until this past year I’ve been the most dutiful of bipolar patients..constantly guarding against the “craziness” that might slip in.
But something happened when I went out on the beach this morning. Out there with my toes in the sand I did my routine sun salutation, like a yoga prayer to the rising sun. And as I brought my arms upward and gazed at the crystal blue sky I heard a voice. Not a crazy voice…just me in my most open state.
The voice said simply, “Don’t be afraid of joy.” And I smiled.
This was not a crazy feeling. In fact, it was the exact opposite. This was being truly alive. Connected.
So please, tell me what you think. Should us bipolar folk regulate joy, our connection with the divine in order to protect against a treacherous down swing? Do you “normal” people out there temper your happiness in order to protect yourself from hurt?
I’d love to hear your input on this one. In the meantime I’m going to savor this joyous glow…..
Peace and joy to you,