From "Connected (with Abe + Isaac) — Volume 6"

Friday, September 25.

Our terrace table, leaves littered: fragile, fibrous, crystalline color.

Joy is my job.

Here’s what happened. (Also hey, you might want to grab the beverage of your choice for this one – it is not short. 😄)

  • Abe and I were talking about business, about where ours are going, where they want to go, where we want to go. This was earlier this week.

  • Abe said that he wants to make $30M dollars.

  • I felt afraid. Immediately.

  • I recognized my fear for what it was, and recognized that did not hold good things. I recognized that his desire is multi-faceted – hiring friends, taking care of family, breaking the ceiling and insecurity he’s had around money in the past, playing, and just generally unleashing all the good we can with what comes next – and that all those facets are good.

  • I voiced my support of his desire, in an attempt to do the right thing.

  • The fear remained, and I found myself suspended between how I felt and what I was saying. Untenable, completely.

  • And Abe called it, immediately. That boy knows energy.

And then, I remembered that I had recently come across this emotional scale, in Ask and It Is Given. The idea is that each emotion we feel lies in an ordered place on this spectrum of energy, and – further – that it’s useful to upgrade your emotions one step at a time.

Interestingly, this model gives us full permission to step through each intermediate negative emotion, on our way to something better. This feels remarkably accessible: I don’t have to have crazy powers of enlightenment to just take one step forward. And to declare all the emotions in-bound feels honest, and accepting of my humanity: no emotion is bad, and I don’t have to carve out and throw away some part of myself to move forward. It’s all valid.

The scale:

  1. Joy, Appreciation, Empowered, Freedom, Love

  2. Passion

  3. Enthusiasm, Eagerness, Happiness

  4. Positive Expectation, Belief

  5. Optimism

  6. Hopefulness

  7. Contentment

  8. Boredom

  9. Pessimism

  10. Frustration, Irritation, Impatience

  11. “Overwhelment”

  12. Disappointment

  13. Doubt

  14. Worry

  15. Blame

  16. Discouragement

  17. Anger

  18. Revenge

  19. Hatred, Rage

  20. Jealousy

  21. Insecurity, Guilt, Unworthiness

  22. Fear, Grief, Depression, Despair, Powerlessness

And so, grocery list of emotions in hand and with Abe watching and listening from across the table, I started from the powerlessness and depression in 22, and I literally took my energy 21 steps upward, in the space of 30 minutes. I cried, a bunch. I said things were not generous or kind. I was testing the system. I wanted to know if it would work to gradually upgrade my emotional experience, one halting step at a time.

I want to share with you what each step was like, as an example. You ready?

22. Fear, Grief, Depression, Despair, Powerlessness I’m afraid that Abe wants something I absolutely cannot join him in. I feel depressed by my total disconnection and resistance to this. I feel just completely dead when I think about it. I have nothing here. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

21. Insecurity, Guilt, Unworthiness I don’t know how to begin to think about owning this idea. I feel guilty thinking about coming into that kind of money. I’m scared to even think about *wanting* that kind of money. Why would I be worthy of this?

20. Jealousy There are people who just have no emotional hangups of this kind of thing. I’m jealous.

19. Hatred, Rage This is not the first time I’ve run into this kind of internal resistance to this. And I *hate* it – ideas shouldn’t be terrifying, they’re just ideas. What’s wrong with me??

The author encourages spending just a sentence with each level. Even if a level doesn’t feel like it perfectly applies, give it a sentence, just to get the flavor of it. 18, “Revenge”, didn’t feel particularly like it fit. But, this was an experiment, and to get the results you do the steps.

18. Revenge Abe keeps bringing this kind of thing up. Does he know how this feels on my end? I want to give him a taste of this, let him know how bad this feels.

17. Anger I don’t know how to handle this. I don’t *want* to handle this. Our life is already phenomenal. Why are we talking about adding something that scares me?

16. Discouragement Abe wants a thing. His motivation is 100% pure. I know this guy. And I know what joyful things we’d do with that kind of money. And still, I don’t feel safe in it. This is hard. I’m bummed.

15. Blame It’s my upbringing, my community, where I came from, the people I hung out with, no one ever taught me how to be fearless about stepping into abundance.

14. Worry Honestly, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about this. I feel like it’s going to keep coming up. It’ll just keep being a thorn, and I’ll just keep feeling stuck/hopeless about it.

At some point during this stretch, Abe said, “Is this going to be positive at any point?”. I hadn’t shared the list with him ahead of time. And frankly, there are a lot of negative steps. Humans have an impressive capacity for negative emotion. Onward.

13. Doubt I’m not even sure I *can* learn this. And is this the right thing to be doing? What if my reactions here just mean that I’m incompatible with Abe’s desires?

12. Disappointment Welp, good show Isaac. Good work. Whaaaat are we even doing here.

11. “Overwhelment” This is a lot. I have a lot of feelings. This kind of desire has potential impact in so many areas. This kind of insecurity has potential impact in so many areas. This is a lot.

10. Frustration, Irritation, Impatience Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

9. Pessimism This is not going to end well.

But: each step was just a little less negative. (Do you feel it with me?) And by the time I got up to the inflection point of boredom, it was fascinating how much lighter I felt. Not good, specifically, but less bad, absolutely less bad. Fascinating.

8. Boredom This is not news. I’ve been insecure about this kind of dreaming, for forever. I’m pretty done.

And then. And then.

7. Contentment … But it’s okay. I have Abe. He has me. We are learning together. I don’t need this to be more, or *other*, than it is.

6. Hopefulness And actually, given what I know about us, I see this ending well. We both want to learn. We both want to help each other learn. We both want to let in the good. I think we can figure this out.

5. Optimism Yeah, I know we can. There are so many good places for this to go: releasing fear, being honest about desire, learning to be supportive, learning to be bold.

4. Positive Expectation, Belief We have a hella-strong track record of knocking shit out together. I have absolute belief that I can learn from this, I have absolute belief that Abe’s desires for t-h-i-r-t-y-m-i-l-l-i-o-n-d-o-l-l-a-r-s are born of pure joy, and hold nothing but blessing for all that it’ll touch.

3. Enthusiasm, Eagerness, Happiness And you know what, now that we’re here, I’m straight up eager to see where this goes. Fear doesn’t drive me. Growth drives me, expansion drives me, joy drives me. And I *like* seeing how this works – the process of revealing insecurity, and then healing insecurity, and then stepping into more life.

2. Passion And I am fucking *passionate* about that process. I *love* finding the heart of a matter, of finding the tiny fiber at the core of the thing, and addressing it, pressing into it, making everything better by finding the one thing I need to focus on. I love, love, love that.

And bizarrely, I found myself at the top of the list, in full and honest presence.

1. Joy, Appreciation, Empowered, Freedom, Love I am fully, fully free. I always have been! I am here with my beloved, and we are together growing, expanding, and I am in love with this cycle: finding the places of friction and hurt and resistance, and releasing them, letting those parts of myself open into their fullness. I am full of love.

This bit is titled “Joy is my job”. It’s because I concluded, this week, that my primary responsibility is to hang out in the 1-7 range on that emotional scale, to be purposefully upgrading my negative emotions as they come up, whenever they come up. Because doing so makes everything better. I have more access to myself, in those emotional spaces. My work is better, what I make is better. I allow more good things into our life, into being. And that bit, crucially, is how I interact with Abe’s desires – all of them, not just the $30M. By hanging out in joy, I position myself in place of allowing the good in. Abe and I have different motivations, different desires – and the way we support each other mutually is by hanging out in joy, to facilitate the full expression of who we are, and of what we are bringing into existence through our desire.

I was talking with someone on my team earlier this week, and they observed the curious difference between work, and hobbies or whatever activities we would do just because we like doing them. They observed that, while you might hesitate to dust off the book or pick up the paints or get outside or whatever else, you don’t really think about work, because work’s non-negotiable – it’s a thing you just gotta do.

And then, they pointed out that it’s absolutely within our power to promote anything we want to that level of criticality.

So: joy is my job. I declare it so. And I think it’s possibly my most important job. Everything else may change form around it, but if I keep hanging out in joy, if I continue upgrading my emotions through that scale on purpose, I know that I’ll be allowing everything around me to unfold in its truest, most full nature. Instead of offering resistance, my very being will offer love and the excited anticipation of what happens next.

I have this spidey-sense for when a principle addresses the heart of a situation, for when a simple idea has natural potential to make everything – everything – better. This feels like that.

Thank you for reading this. It was a long one. ;) I encourage you to take that emotional scale up there, and take it for a ride the next time you’re seized by something that feels just fuckin’ awful. Try upgrading it, one step at a time. Then, come back to this email, hit reply, and let me know how it goes for you. I’ve been doing this all week, and I’ll be doing it right alongside you. :)



P.S. I don’t have piano for you this week. Instead, for y’all on Spotify (sorry everyone else), here’s six hours of music that makes me feel awesome.

Did you make it this far? If so, kudos. Love you. This was a fun email to write. We hope you enjoyed it. We are so grateful you’re here. Go hug a tree, and whisper something happy, just for you and that tree to hear. No, for real, I mean it – get up and go hug a tree and make that tree’s day. 😘

Originally sent out via email

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