Hello everyone! For this post, a friend gave me the following question to journey on:
“Given all the sadness in the world, how do we reconnect with our inner joy?”
I’ve discovered that while I’m journeying on someone’s behalf, I’m connected with them. And that influences the nature of my journeys.
So you’re in for a treat this week, because this means we have a special guest star! My friend’s pink unicorn spirit guide, Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 (there’s always a unicorn emoji after her name – it’s a thing). Remember that everything in a journey is also a metaphor, and everything about Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄, including her name, speaks volumes.
Without further ado, here’s the journey. Enjoy!
I settled myself in my basement studio, focusing my intention on my friend’s question about reconnecting with joy. I opened my eyes onto the non-ordinary reality version of my studio…
… just in time to see Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 pour a bucket of icy cold water over my head!
“What was that for!” I spluttered, feeling the cold water role down my back.
Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 dropped the bucket she’d been holding between her teeth and simply said, “Your brain was overheating. You think too much.”
Yeah, okay, guilty as charged. And I can vouch that overthinking things – because we’re usually overthinking ‘problems’ – is a good way to get disconnected from our inner joy.
But let’s be honest, there’s also a child-like joy in dumping water on people’s unsuspecting heads.
I stood, shaking the water out of my hair, when Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 exclaimed, “I can do that!” She pulled a massive industrial hair dryer out of… you know, I don’t want to know where… and blasted me in the face with it! And I do mean blasted. My hair was bone dry in less than a second, and matted straight backwards from the sheer force. Good look. Not.
A woman chuckled behind me, and I turned to see my spirit guide Spruce leaning against the far wall. “I figured I should come along,” she said. “Someone has to keep the two of you out of trouble.”
I explained to her that I was exploring how we can reconnect with joy, and Spruce smiled while snapping her fingers. Opening up a trap door right under myself and Ms. Fuck It Bucket. 🦄 And down we went!
I’ve been getting a lot of trap doors in my journeys. Almost every friggin’ one these days. Apparently they symbolize accessing hidden knowledge. But part of me thinks my guides just like pranking me.
So, I crossed my arms and let myself fall. Until I realized something. I’d fallen first. Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 was above me. Oh crap.
I looked up and saw her scrabbling with her hooves at the sides of the tunnel as we fell, rapidly yelling, “Trying to stop! Trying to stop! Trying to stop!”
Looking down I saw the ground rushing up towards me, and I slammed down feet first. Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 plummeting straight towards me!
Spruce floated gently down after us as Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 staggered back to her feet. Me? Well, at least my upper head and nose were still out of the mud. After a brief struggle, the two of them managed to pull me out of the ground.
I must’ve looked like a disaster – covered in mud, hair blasted backwards… and it struck me that this was also part of the answer on how to reconnect with joy. Not caring what I looked like, or how I was presenting myself. I looked how I looked in the moment. I was who I was, mud and all.
So I didn’t bother trying to clean up as Spruce led us from the base of the tunnel to a busy city street. One of those transitions that just happen as naturally as breathing in a journey. We walked along the sidewalk as cars and trucks whizzed by. I couldn’t help but notice that Spruce looked completely calm despite all the noise and distractions. Mindfulness – another hint. 😉
Crossing the street, we came to a small plaza overlooking a larger plaza below. Which was filled with a community fair full of vendors and circus games. “Yes!” shouted Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 as she raced down into the crowd. Spruce and I followed at a more sedate pace, looking at the different vendors. But I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure how this was answering the question.
Spruce started to explain, but Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 ran up to us wearing a dozen different necklaces around her neck and horn, including a couple of diamond ones. “What do you think?” she asked earnestly.
“I think,” I said jokingly, “if you catch the sun right, you could blind someone with those.”
“You’re right, too much,” she said as she shook her head and sent most of the necklaces flying. Then she darted into the crowd, calling back that she was off to find a cheeseburger. I laughed as I watched her go, thinking how she’s always snacking on something. But then I also thought, she wasn’t holding back.
I turned to Spruce, still feeling like I wasn’t getting the whole message from this journey. She snapped her fingers again, and suddenly we were on a darkened stage, black curtains all around us.
“Who are you performing for?” she asked, staring intently at me.
I stared back for a moment, unsure how to answer. But given the previous message about not worrying how I was presenting myself (mud, hair, etc.) I understood the deeper question. Who, and why, was I presenting myself a certain way to others. Why wasn’t I being myself? And that not being my true self would block me from fully accessing my inner joy.
Which is when Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 poked her head through the curtains. “What are you guys doing in here? It’s boring. The party’s out there,” she said, gesturing with her head behind the curtains.
But she walked in to join us. With a knowing look on her face, Spruce asked Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 the same question. “Who are you performing for?”
Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 just stared at her for a second before saying, “I don’t understand the question.”
Spruce cracked a wide smile, and I was filled with a sudden ‘knowing’. It wasn’t that Ms. Fuck It Bucket 🦄 hadn’t understood the question. The premise of the question was completely meaningless to her. She wasn’t performing for anyone. She wasn’t trying to be anything other than who she was. And as I hope you’ve gotten a sense while reading this journey, she’s well connected to her inner joy.
As she trotted back out through the curtains, I contemplated the fact that I had understood the question. I’m not always being myself. I’m performing for someone.
I immediately looked out to the audience to see who I was metaphorically performing for. And I was really surprised to see a bunch of wooden dummies sitting in the chairs. None of them had any faces, clothes or distinguishing features whatsoever.
And then I had a realization that floored me. They were faceless because they were a blank canvas for me to project my own expectations onto. My own shadow fears and desires.
I am performing for my inner critic.
I remember cradling my real-world head in my hands while still in the journey. I know this isn’t a new concept, but experiencing it first-hand like that? I was stunned at the absurdity of it all. And the truth of it. I… most of us aren’t being our authentic selves because we’re trying to satisfy this ever-critical task master.
And if we’re putting all that energy into performing for our inner critic, but still feel like we’re falling short of our own expectations, then we’re distracting (heck blinding!) ourselves to opportunities to connect with our inner joy.
Spruce didn’t offer any simple fixes to this challenge. But there are plenty of resources out there, like shadow work and coaching. And the more we see our inner critic and stop performing in an endless attempt to please it, the more we can start being ourselves. And I daresay stop taking ourselves so seriously. 😉
The more we do all of that, the more we’ll naturally find the joy in ourselves and the world around us.
I thanked Spruce for this bit of wisdom, and walked through the curtains in search of Ms. Fuck It Bucket. 🦄 And true to form, she’d found a 4-foot-tall tub of popcorn and was hauling it over to me.
“I’m glad I’ve got friends like you to learn from,” I said to her as she dipped her head into the tub.
“Me too, Magic Boy, me too,” I heard her say from under three layers of popcorn.
And, reflecting on the lessons of the day, I grabbed as big a handful of popcorn as I could and stuffed it in my mouth in one shot.
There you go! I hope you enjoyed reading this little adventure, and found the bits of wisdom useful.
Until next time,
Eric, your shamanic guide… into the unknown.