Releasing Limiting Beliefs in the Face of Adversity

“It is important to know that when faced with a major challenge, like a terminal illness of a loved one, you must keep moving forward, and know that the rocky path eventually opens into a meadow.” ~ Devon Joy Mark

Lacking Confidence at First

Deliberate and tender words pass from Joy between our Skype line and I am instantly soothed. She is open hearted, full of joy, and a delight. She shares slowly, not with caution, but with deep reflective thought. As a child, Joy was very shy and sensitive and had trouble talking to others. Both of her parents were psychiatric nurses before starting their own business, and Joy was bathed in adult, in-depth conversations that were both a blessing and a curse. As a child, she was deeply bothered and sensitive to the feelings and mistreatment of fellow classmates by teachers.

This was a major challenge for Joy, as she didn’t know how to talk about these things. She also struggled with confidence. She says about confidence, “This is an ongoing process for me.” There were also many blessings and gifts that came from her family, which she noticed later in life.

Joy came from a family highly invested in learning and loving. Her mother was always “extremely loving.” Also, her family had a history of starting small businesses. Several women in her family, in fact, have built small businesses on their own, and this contributed to Joy’s decision to create her private practice over twenty years ago, which continues to do well today. With such a compassionate, joyful soul, it is no surprise that Joy shares her knowledge and heart helping others cope with challenges.

Her work as a psychologist, with over forty years of experience, is forever expanding and growing. Joy runs her practice from her home in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. She has a range of clients from 11 to 81 years of age. “I get a lot back from what I do. I am fascinated by how much I learn. It’s like travelling and meeting someone from a different world,” Joy exclaims about her work. She has a child’s curiosity that drives her to seek new information and allows her to develop her skills. “My work is rewarding. I feel very fortunate with the choices I made as a young person, which took me in this direction. I have the best job on the planet!”

Led by Curiosity

“Life is an adventure. As a traveler, aside from selecting a destination and a few sights, I actually don't plan what happens. I let my curiosity lead me. I enjoy talking to people, and I never know what pleasant surprise is around the corner.” Joy applies this attitude to every area of her life, including seeking new knowledge. She leads with curiosity, which is exactly what drew her to John Assaraf’s brain-trainingtm programs. Because of her background in psychology, she was already familiar with Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and species recognition. These terms were embedded in her mind from her long-time mentor, Dr. Milton Erickson.

She invested in Winning the Game of Money because she wanted to know how John Assaraf incorporated NLP, self-hypnosis, and brain entrainment. “This program pulls everything into an understandable, accessible presentation for people,” Joy says. Winning the Game of Money was like “a time capsule release of all of the information I learned earlier,” says Joy. Furthermore, the program has brought her great rewards. She feels a new confidence, and she has learned to trust the inner changes, which lead to outer changes. “Aside from being more confident, I am more organized, plan more than ever, and am more focused. I now have a vision going forward for the next 10, 15, 20 years!”

Her business has expanded and grown, as well. People “come and find me,” Joy says. She has also experienced acts of serendipity. Joy integrates all she learns in her practice, and oftentimes, clients appear who suddenly need guidance on the exact topic she just studied! She is also participating in a 2-year spiritual guidance program, which has made her more aware of her internal voice, a voice that she trusts.

Joy’s boldest step was joining the PraxisNow Community. In some ways, Joy is a one-woman show, working out of her home. This program and community connect her to the outside world. “I look forward to participating with a ‘soul and brain’ community of big thinkers and big hearted people,” she says. “Taking part in PraxisNow is the ‘outcome,’ that is, I am doing something totally out of the ordinary for me and loving it!” Joy describes the community as “a ship that came into harbor, looked interesting, so I decided to jump on!” She confesses, she had no idea what she was getting herself into, but has been so inspired and touched by the loving support of the people in the community. “The community inspires me to be calmer, more confident, more ‘spirit filled,’ and allows me to take pride in my strengths, which help me both personally and professionally.”

Traversing the Rocky Path

Eight years ago, Joy’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. One year and a half later, he suffered a mild stroke, and later, experienced a serious side effect from one of his medications. “My husband, who has been in my life for 40 years and my biggest champion and ongoing life partner, had been ill (and still is), and was/is declining pretty consistently,” Joy shared recently in an email.

“We used to walk for hours, but with his limited mobility, we now find other ways to stay connected. I was dealing with a type of slow sorrow or grief that is not uncommon these days as medical interventions prolong life and where people have one health crisis after another. Adapting to the new normal is ongoing but life was getting smaller and smaller with us; in our hearts there is still love, but activities are limited. It was hard for me to envision a future for myself. It hasn’t always been easy, but it is getting easier.”

When someone is ill over such a long period of time, they recover, but they do not recover to the level they were before illness. This is a time of massive transition and Joy had to allow space to grieve this loss. As Joy says, “it’s about balancing polarities.” There is, on one side, a tremendous sense of loss and grief, combined with rediscovering a new type of relationship. Her greatest challenge today is bridging polarities, of combining extremes such as loss and hope, old patterns with new patterns, and even life and death. “Brushes with death burn away things that aren’t really important. We don’t get caught up in habits that irritate us,” she says about her and her husband.

I asked Joy how she managed to work through these life changes, and she gave sound advice: “First, you will get through it. Talk to at least one close friend or to a therapist. The grieving process takes time, so be patient. This process is not neat and tidy. Finding Comfort as You Heal from Abuse, Trauma or Loss, by Dr. Ekisa, is one of the best books to help you deal with the pain of grief. The book is meaningful with clear, manageable steps to build upon.” Even professionals need extra help at times, according to Joy. One of the positive pieces for Joy in this journey is that her husband is very positive and loving, and they continue to deepen their core connection.

Joy in the Middle Passage

With Joy’s practice growing and expanding, her wondrous curiosity, and spending time with her husband, joy is everywhere. To keep up with her full-time practice, Joy takes care of herself by swimming, walking, and spending time with sisters and close friends. One of her sisters, in fact, invested in land seven years ago in Vancouver. The philosophy of this development is to leave a small carbon footprint. The Elkington Forest Project will combine development and protection of the land, two polar ideas that Joy says can be combined. “We have to develop the land, but we also have to protect it.” There is a possibility that Joy may share in the land and help with the development, but she does not have the answer yet. “I trust the process, I continue being curious, and I take steps along the way. I am living what I want now.” Joy’s child-like curiosity and her soft, sensitive soul will, no doubt, lead her to an open meadow.