October 31, 2016 Blog No Comments

thriller-pic1It was a big weekend here, being one of the top 10 destinations for Halloween events in the country. That’s because we have one of the largest Thriller dance parades with six Michael Jacksons and over 1,000 zombies, dressed in outrageous costumes, dancing down Main Street. It involves people of all ages, including me this year, who attend the required choreograph dance lessons. It brings huge crowds packing the sidewalks that eclipse the 4th of July. Everyone has a big time.

What motivates all this activity?

The Thriller Dance Parade was initiated by Teresa Tomb and Mecca Dance Studio years ago. She has a passion for dance and a long history of teaching belly dancing and other exotic dances. She partners with the city and other groups to host numerous highly creative events throughout the year. This is a labor of love that brings a wonderful cross section of people together. She does it for the joy. (For more details see  http://www.meccadance.com/about.html )

In Seth Goden’s book, Poke the Box, he makes a point about “Cultivating the Joy”. He reminds us that “Joy comes from surprise and connection and humanity and new. These are alien concepts in many places.” He notes that most corporations and organizations focus on efficiency and compliance, to lower cost and increase profit. All of which puts a cap on the joy that comes from taking initiative, being innovative and creative. (Godn, S., Poke the Box. Penguin Press, 2015, pages 59-60.)

It is exactly that sense of connection, creativity, element of surprise and everyone’s initiative that makes the Thriller dance so joyous.

I have noticed how these elements are the pool that joy spills from.  In fact, I can say that any success in my life has involved all of them – proportional to the joy it creates!

Allow me to explore this concept with you, following Godin’s points – joy being a necessary underpinning for what we do in life.


It was such a pleasure to see so many young people involved in the Thriller parade. They came with their parents and their friends. As soon as the music started, they were on it. None of them old enough to remember when it was first popular 36 years ago, but loving it just like we did.

It is the connection, the creativity in costuming and the surprise impact of bringing it all together that makes this event so endearing. Old and young can relate, join in and share a common experience. Everyone can have fun.

If you think about what you love to do, isn’t there joy involved? Doesn’t it get magnified if it also creates connections with others? Doing something, anything really, that brings that kind of bonding experience for people feels like a gift. Having it create joy makes it memorable for everyone involved.

That’s what I love about my work. When I do classes, people learn and grow in community with each other. It becomes a joyful experience rather than something more ponderous.

Joy creates connection between everyone involved. Make it part of what you do, and you’ll feel blessed.


Any time you are in the driver’s seat, rather than being the passenger, the creator and mover rather than the pawn, there is a certain joy in having the controls. It’s your inspiration, creativity, and imagination at work that launches your initiative. If’s what makes us feel alive.

I watched it unfold with Thriller, I regularly see it with the musicians in Lee’s band, as they create new ways to present a song. I’ve experienced it many times in my work, when I’ve created new service delivery systems that had not existed before. There is excitement, stimulation and joy in the creative process.

When our work allows freedom of expression, we can personalize and own what we are doing. We are only limited by our imagination. Without this freedom, we can feel stuck and stagnant.

Give yourself the freedom to be innovative and you’ll feel the joy surge forth.


Think about your best surprise, the unexpected gift that thrilled you, the friend who suddenly showed up, the creation you made that was fantastic. It was joyous; it was pure pleasure. Now take that to your life and your work. Isn’t it what you want?

What can you do to create that feeling more often? How can you stretch yourself? The more we put ourselves in situations that give us those elements the more we grow. Learning new things – like my doing the Thriller dance for the first time – gives you a lift and makes you eager for more.

Being the developer and creator of something new, innovative and surprising is a sure way to generate intensity in your life. It requires a willingness to put yourself out there, knowing that taking a risk is better than not acting at all.

As I wrote about in the last two posts, What Happens When You Stand In Your Power and The Gift of Your True Nature, the world needs what you have to offer. It’s wrong to not share your talents in the best way possible. Bring your ideas out to the world.

Creating something new and surprising is what makes our world and us expand – bring it on!

Joy doesn’t just happen; it is the side effect of putting yourself in very specific situations. It involves the best use of self, taking the liberty to use your creativity and inspiration.  It involves sharing, feeling connected and finding meaning with humanity. It often involves the elements of surprise, packaged as something new and unusual. You have to seek it to get it.

Is your joy at a good level or do you wish for more? Creating a life full of joy is exactly what I love to help people discover. My coaching and counseling services are designed to guide you to healthier and more satisfying roles in the life you want. For more information see my website, www.spectrumtransformation.com.  The free consultation button is there to encourage you to reach out. Let’s see if what I offer can help you. I’d love to hear from you!

Curious?  Here’s a view of our Thriller parade on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.l.carroll.71?fref=ts

Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com