What We Know for Sure About Bugs, Butterflies and Joy

Rebecca Kochenderfer & Marilyn Mosley Gordanier


“Noticing and releasing our feelings as they come up keeps the ‘windshield of our mind’ clear. This lets in more light and allows us to experience life, less through the lens of our personal ‘stuff’,and more through the lens of openness and wholeness.”

R.K. & M.M.G.

When we are born it’s as if we are given a car to take us through life and this car has a shiny clean windshield. Then one day we are going along and someone says something unkind to us. “Ping,” it’s as if a bug has attached itself to the glass. A little later down life’s road something beautiful happens and we cling to that good feeling. “Ping,” a butterfly has attached itself to the glass. Before we know it, our shiny clean windshield is covered with bugs and butterflies.  Now, when we encounter someone or something, our experience of it is changed because we are seeing it through the filter of our buggy windshield.

Avoiding the bad and clinging to the good alters how we experience our NOW. The painful events become magnified because they remind us of past painful events. And clinging too tightly to past joys can keep us from experiencing new joys.

Our mind’s natural state is one of quiet. When our mind is quiet we experience less stress and anxiety because there is less “noise” demanding our attention and energy. We become more “present” in each moment and this leads to more joy, more clarity, and more “flow”. In those beautiful moments when our “inner radio” is quiet, our consciousness, our awareness, and our capacities are expanded.

Notice, Name, Relax, Release

We are so excited to introduce you to a practice we call “Notice, Name, Relax, Release.” We,  Rebecca and Marilyn, have found it to be life-changing.

  • You Notice your feelings as they come up.
  • You Name what it is you are feeling. I’m feeling… anxious/tense/afraid/fatigued/happy/insecure/nervous/irritated/angry/annoyed/content/sad/proud.
  • You Relax.
  • You Release the feeling and let it move through you and out of you.

People experience “releasing” in different ways. Some picture themselves mentally “leaning back”, giving the feeling enough space to come up and move through them. Other people feel a warming in their torso or experience the releasing as a sigh.

Try to release not only your “bugs” but also your “butterflies.”  There is no need to cling to the good. There are many more butterflies coming your way. Picture a closed fist versus an open hand. When we allow good feelings and happy moments to move through us, we are open to the flow of life.

One of the reasons this practice is so powerful is because it brings you into your now. When a feeling comes up, you notice it and you let it move through you. This keeps your “windshield” clean and keeps you from collecting new “bugs” or “butterflies.” You are not avoiding your feelings or suppressing them. Instead, you are practicing awareness, which helps you to become more centered and whole.

What are you feeling right now?

  • Throughout the day today, ask yourself every once in awhile, “What am I feeling right now?” Select one word that fits that feeling. Then let that feeling move through you and out of you. The more you do this, the greater the benefits.
  • We invite you to share your experience with Notice, Name, Relax, Release, in the comment field below.

Want More Joy?

Read: What a Difference Simple Joys Make

Use: Joy Journal – A Guided Journaling Experience

Listen to: Breathing in Full Sentences: Writing as a Spiritual Practice

Rebecca Kochenderfer & Marilyn Mosley Gordanier

About Rebecca Kochenderfer & Marilyn Mosley Gordanier

As Founders of two of the largest and most successful online learning platforms in the world, Rebecca and Marilyn  have inspired hundreds of thousands to follow their “joy sparks” in everything they do.