Joy or Stress? Are they Byproducts?


What is joy? What is stress? Are they choices or byproducts? Byproducts…of what? Our thoughts and attitude. As brain whisperer Steven Campbell shares, ( ) our brain obeys what we tell it. Furthermore, that message expands and manifests when infused with passion. That said, let’s explore the simple tools to experience more ease and joy during the Holiday frenzy.

In regard to life transitions such as the seasonal changes, this winter solstice I’m focused on just being with how the light, or lack thereof, effect my rhythms in energy, sleeping, attitude and mood. For many years I suffered with depression and massive depletion of energy from October until end of April. Daily activities and focus were a struggle. I know the level of my suffering was to the degree I thought myself as a victim of circumstance. As if I had no way out!

Now fast forward to January 2012 when in the midst of a 5 year illness, I began Fire Of Transformation six month immersion with teacher and scholar, Christopher Hareesh Wallis. Hareesh’s teachings are in non dual Shiava Tantra which I give a simple definition to: being sincerely okay with what is. What???

When I am sincerely okay with what is, in any given moment, I am a neutral observer, an accepting witness rather than a judging machine. This moment is then absent of resistance (aversion) to what is and craving (attachment.) to what is not.

before-and-after-Janet.-2014-WEB-300x197To illustrate, in the depths of my illness with adrenal exhaustion, I lost some brain function, metabolism, immune system, material possessions and a few relationships declined. I slept on couches for about a year and finally dragged my butt over to my family in Boston where I unintentionally stayed for one year and a half. I slayed dragons.

Stress begins here:

During that time, I put into practice this idea of non-duality because each time I resisted or craved something, it resulted in me feeling more stressed and frustrated. Each time I fed the resistance or craving, it would amplify, and again, I’d feel frustrated, angry, depressed and stressed. Well that state was not helping me heal!

Joy begins here:

I stopped fighting the, ‘It is what it is!’ I bet you’ve heard of the popular phrase ‘What I resist, persists.’ by C. G. Jung. Just like feeding a baby or plant…it grows! So does the craving or resistance. “What you give power to, has power over you.” ~ Unknown

And what I embrace, dissolves.

I then grabbed the non-dual approach and got creative! Knowing that looking at what is, smack in the face can only give me freedom, I began to photograph that which I resisted or craved. Let’s focus on the resistance.

dirty-dishes-in-sink-4510-300x300This image is of a double sink overflowing with smelly, dirty pots, pans, dishes and more which accumulated over the span of 4 days whilst I was basically dead in bed only to get up for bathroom or eat.

What do you see? Do you dare to say out loud what you see without describing items? I bet its challenging to do that. It was for me at first but the non-dual approach in this case, supports simply stating the facts/data.

For example, bowl, pot, water spigot, water faucet, scrub brush, peeler, cutting board, bowl, reflection, etc.

How do you feel in your body? Is there resistance or calmness? Where does it reside?

Alternatively, now go ahead and describe what you see and use all senses as if you were smelling, tasting or touching these items. How do you feel in your body? Is there resistance, anxiety or calmness? Where does it reside?

Holidaze: Are you or do you have an overly enthusiastic martyr in your life during the holidays? You know, the one that appears excited about the holidays, but secretly is not? The one that feels obligated to overcook, over spend and in the end, feels depleted and missing out on the fun?

If that’s you, are you making efforts to just calm down and see the self-sabotage? But to no avail, you’re lovin’ the drama!

Most importantly, are you feeling obligated (with guilt) to buy gifts for your 30 closest loved ones? Put the wallet down! Breathe and remember, that your presence is the BEST present you can give.  Pause and ask, “Is this useful?” or “What is my intention?” before proceeding with your next action or words.

Remember, joy is often a byproduct of happiness which is a choice. It’s easy to choose happiness when you are a neutral observer rather than an obligated martyr.


Janet Caliri

Janet Caliri is a human potential practitioner whose mission is igniting human potential. She is a former medical professional in cardiovascular interventional radiology, professional photographer, a certified life coach, published author and trained artist teacher for emotionally disturbed and at-risk youth at an award winning non-profit in LA.  There she learned how to work with students of different challenges, how to build community, handle interventions and instill a culture of respect, courage and accountability where students and teachers work and play together as equals.

Janet is the founder of Visible Transitions. After going through many life transitions herself, the latest being a five year illness that stole her life force, Visible Transitions was born from combining her top passions and skills. This photographic methodology effectively supports both kids and parents who are challenged in or about to embark upon a life transition. This is done by charting progress, one click at a time, while exploring self-care and non-dual yoga philosophy techniques. Please join Janet in her vision of creating joy and ease for youngsters who are challenged in a life transition.

Ms. Caliri services the entire bay area and resides in West Sonoma County. She is also a practitioner at the Sebastopol Wellness Center and (IHI) Integrative Health Institute  associate of West Sonoma Medical Center. She enjoys bicycling, hiking, singing, writing and photography. For more information,

Janet Caliri will be the presenting a workshop entitled “Joyful Transitions- Three Keys to More Ease and Joy During the Holiday Season” on Friday, December 11, 2015, 7:30pm – 9:30pm. Suggested donation 1ȼ to $30