Welcome to Joy Lab!: Welcome to the Joy Lab podcast, where we help you uncover and foster your most joyful self. Your hosts, Dr. Henry Emmons and Dr. Aimee Prasek, bring you the ideal mix of soulful and scientifically sound tools to spark your joy, even when it feels dark. When you're ready to experiment with more joy, combine this podcast with the full Joy Lab program over at JoyLab.coach
Henry: Hello, I am Henry Emmons, and welcome to Joy Lab.
So the Attorney General has recently called out, to the nation, to take loneliness seriously as a health issue. And to do something about it. This is a large and complicated topic, so we're not pretending to fix it right now. But we do have to start somewhere, and I believe that starting within is a really good place to begin.
Certainly there is a connection between loneliness and depression, both as cause and as effect. I believe depression is a call to create community. I think it's just a stark reminder that we cannot go it alone. We just are not made that way. So as with any act of creation, you must begin with thought.
So just picture this before writing a piece of music, composers have ideas and tunes that come into their mind. Before building a home, architects play with the possibilities in their imagination. They begin with mind. And that's what we're gonna try to do with the creation of more meaningful connection and, and a sense of belonging. I came across this phrase a long time ago from a poem by David White, the phrase "Build a house of belonging."
I really like that it follows that metaphor of house building where we need to create a blueprint for what we want and we need to make it clear enough that we can follow the plan once we've started building. so, you can think of this exercise as tapping into your skill of creative imagination.
At this point, it exists only in your mind's eye, but I believe there is real power in that. And I want you to believe it too, at least for now. So here goes.
You can start by just getting yourself into a comfortable, meditative position, whatever that means for you. Doesn't have to look any specific way.
But you do wanna be feeling relaxed. You want to be free of distractions. You wanna have your body be at ease.
Then you might want to just take a few moments to allow yourself to settle in to wherever you are, your chair, your cushion, the floor, the bed, whatever. Allow your body to sink in and feel held.
Take a few moments to just focus on your breath. Don't need to do anything different. You don't have to change your breath, just feel the in breath and the outbreath. Let yourself really sink into the rhythm of it. In and out, up and down.
Breathing in and releasing.
Now, when you're ready, just bring to mind the understanding, the belief that it is possible for you to create a loving community. In fact, it is inevitable if you focus on it and take a few simple actions. So just hold that intention. That belief for a while.
Now, let yourself also hold the knowledge that this belief that we are separate beings who must look out for ourselves at all times is false. There is a deeper truth that we are connected to one another. And really are meant to care about and for one another.
Now bring all of your attention to your heart center. Just that central part of your, chest. And with your attention there, allow for as much softening of your heart as you can.
Open yourself up even more to an awareness of your deep longing for connection.
Really accept that you have this need for relationship and love, and it is just woven into you.
Now you can bring to mind several people in your life who have been meaningful to you, either now or in the past. And you can choose from very close loved ones, children, friends, colleagues, mentors or teachers, neighbors or acquaintances. Whoever comes to mind, try to see them really clearly in their most innocent and loving form.
Now, whoever has come up for you, invite them, one person at a time, to approach you, your heart center. Even to enter in. And as you do, see if you can experience some gratitude for this person, for whatever they have meant for you or given to you, you might even envision yourself thanking them or embracing them.
Then you can release that person's image and bring up another.
And you can repeat this, bringing them up, seeing them clearly, inviting them into your heart. Thanking them.
Repeat it as often as you'd like till you feel really full.
Feel free to pause the meditation if you need more time with this, and you can always turn it back on when you're ready.
And when you are ready, allow yourself to just sit for a few moments filled with this sense of gratitude for the richness of this house of belonging. For these different connections that you have now and have had throughout your life.
And you can also hold the intention to continue to cultivate this. This web of connection.
Relationships like this do need attention. Just like you're doing now. And also if they're still living, if it's still possible to connect with them to do so in your day-to-day life.
You can repeat this exercise and you can create it to be exactly what you need. You can do it as often as you would like. Maybe each time you do it, you could add someone new. Somebody either from your past, your memories, or from your current day-to-day life. You might even want to remember to go through your days being alert. Kind of being on the lookout for another person you could add to this web of connection.
And then when you're ready, just allow all images, all intentions, just to be released. Sitting with an awareness of your breath, of your body, of being supported from below.
And then, you can open your eyes and just resolve to try to keep yourself as open as you can as you go through the rest of your day.