The Return of the ‘Hokey Pokey’

Most families have the standard stories that get rolled out at birthdays and other occasions about any given family member: the attempt at flying, sticking things up noses and in ears… In my case the most frequently told story was the ‘Hokey Pokey’.

‘Hokey Pokey’ is a children’s song where you stand in a circle and sing, “You put your left foot in… You put your left foot out… You put your left foot in and you shake it all about…” You would include different appendages until it was your whole body that was put into the circle.

The story goes that I was a master of the ‘Hokey Pokey’. I would play with a level of joy that was unrivalled, throwing my whole body into each rendition. However, at some point in my life I stopped. My parents could not work out why my joy and abandon were replaced with caution.

Over the past two years of Universal Medicine retreats, I have discovered not only why I stopped, but also why I loved it so much in the first place.

You see God – that dude that many of us struggle to define and relate to – is actually the ultimate playful being. Connect to this fact and any movement is joyful.

As children this connection is simple, so of course I would “put my whole self in,” because it was what I was truly doing. I was playing with all of me, uncaring about what others thought, simply enjoying the feeling of my own body’s movements.

BUT… people watching this got jealous, and as a child, feeling that jealousy projected towards me I was left with a choice – maybe not a conscious choice, but a choice nonetheless. I decided it was better to tone down the joy than have people reacting to me.

Of course in reality, I wasn’t causing their reaction but it is often common logic to take the responsibility for someone else’s reaction. The result was that I stopped doing the ‘Hokey Pokey’ and in the years that followed I became very shy, especially doing anything that involved ‘standing out’ and being ‘on stage’.

At last year’s Universal Medicine Retreat, we looked at how we change ourselves through not wanting to feel the jealousy of others.

At this year’s retreat, we considered the ways in which we avoid feeling our deep connection to life and others. We explored the potential that each person we meet holds and what it is like to feel this potential. We also looked at what it might be like to move as an adult with the same abandon and joy, without fear of the reactions of others.

Check out these three photos: one from the days of childhood, one from this year’s retreat and one in the middle somewhere.

Universal Medicine Retreat - Joel Levin on Joy Universal Medicine Retreat - Joel Levin (Before Universal Medicine) Universal Medicine Retreat - Joel Levin - After Universal Medicine

In essence, through my own choices, and the learning and inspiration from the retreats, I have learned to ‘Hokey Pokey’ once again (metaphorically speaking), to put my body into life and shake it all about, because that’s what it’s all about…

Joel Levin - 2016 Universal Medicine Retreat
Joel Levin – 2016 Universal Medicine Retreat

By Joel Levin (Western Australia)

Related Reading:
The Livingness before and afters
The Joy and Vitality of Living Life
Born to Sparkle

 

545 thoughts on “The Return of the ‘Hokey Pokey’

  1. I hate feeling jealousy – I’ve not let myself feel it in full, but it’s definitely something I am working on, to not react and not need to be liked by people, to accept the fact that people especially women are jealous not of me, but the choices I am making in my life to love myself. This is key, to learn to not take it personally. But I definitely hold back and drop my joy to not stand out.

  2. What a great and vibrant boy you where Joel and to see it all pouring out of you again is a double joy to see and feel.

  3. Previously, I have taken responsibility in my life for everything that happened in and around me. If I felt something change in a relationship where a person separated from me e.g because of jealousy, envy or competition etc, I immediately accepted that I had done something wrong and so I then held back (I stopped doing the Hokey Pokey and putting my whole body in) in order to make it better or easier for the other person to return to relationship or connection with me. These behaviours impact life and put a lid on the joyful, playful and Divine beings we are. It feels amazing to be uncovering these sinister patterns and opening to our innate Divinity

  4. How many of us have toned down our natural joy and appreciation of ourselves simply because we have chosen to cringe when we have felt anothers jealousy or reaction to us. What is worse is how much do we ourselves and others miss out on because of this dulling?

  5. Its great that Universal Medicine has exposed jealousy for how evil it actually is and that so many of us shut down because of it without actually being aware of why. Thank you Joel for sharing this as well so we can be more aware and get back to the playfulness that we are naturally meant to be from.

  6. ‘I have learned to ‘Hokey Pokey’ once again (metaphorically speaking), to put my body into life and shake it all about, because that’s what it’s all about…’ Which is quite symbolic of putting in our whole self in our commitment to everyday life to shake up the status quo and clear away any mess we have created. Great blog Joel.

  7. ‘But life is SERIOUS right? Isn’t that the reality? I mean it’s everything I see around and about me’. For anyone who’s ever experimented with letting this view go and doing a jig of delight, flashing a brilliant smile or just walking jauntily along, they will know that as you show Joel that life is actually big fun and made for us to know joy in every step. The rest is just a bunch of junk, distracting noise not worth consideration. The fact is we are sons of God, not tortured, faulty and flawed. All we need to do is live the playful way we should.

  8. ‘uncaring about what others thought” this is something I, and I feel many people need to work on.I tone down my movements around people. I see this start from a very young age at school. When kids start school, for the vast majority it is not there, I would say around p4 ( age 8 or 9) this begins to start, when many kids, I would say 99% become cautious, and actually change.

  9. I have certainly felt I am responsible for other peoples reactions in the past – but Joel you bring such simplicity here in saying that it isn’t the case – we can only live and present who we are and if people react then they have a responsibility to look at why that is the case. Otherwise we get into this self inflicted cycle of playing small just in case. And what is the point in that?

  10. This is a very relatable blog Joel as I am sure many of us abandoned our ‘hokey pokey’ in the past to fit in and to avoid reactions from others. Thanks to the Universal Medicine retreats and courses on offer yourself and many others are also learning to re-connect back to this playfulness and joy we once felt as children and are celebrating and making this our new ‘normal’.

  11. The most powerful way to heal jealousy is to stand in its wrath and fury with your heart open and beaming. When we do that, jealousy has nowhere to turn but in towards itself.

    1. Love what you share here Katerina. In the past I have often lessened myself and my activities because of other peoples jealousy, this way no one gets that amazing expansive feeling nor feels the power and glory that we can bring. Standing tall, even when others may be resenting one for it, is to keep up the shining and magic in life.

      1. Elaine yes we need to keep bringing all of us shining our light and amazing-ness, Sure others may react or get jealous but soon our love and light would be felt, the magic and the glory we bring will melt them.

  12. I can feel the joy and playfulness in your blog Joel. I absolutely love what you’ve shared, it reminds me to let go of the worries of what people might think or how they might react and to simply move with absolute joy that is busting to be expressed.

  13. In absolute honesty I feel that I still have a way to go with putting my whole body into the Livingness. Maybe as a child I held back playing the hokey pokey? Anyway I enjoy life and to the best of my ability so that as a student of The Livingness I always put my best foot forward and shake it all about.

    1. ha ha Greg that is gorgeous and knowing you I certainly agree you put your best foot forward and bring a lot of joy to many, many people. Great point you make because although I feel a lot of joy, there is still further I can go with allowing it to be a whole body expression.

  14. I too allowed myself to let go of my joy and become less and less due to the jealousy of others and then wondered why I was depressed for so much of my teenage and twenties. Thanks to the immensely joyful and loving reflection of Serge Benhayon I have regained my joy and thanks to Serge’s teachings on jealousy I have grown to understand the mechanism of jealousy and when it is expressed towards me I take it as a confirmation of my awesomeness!

  15. Joel love the 2016 photo of you – gives me joy just looking at it… even though I don’t need any reason to feel joy because it is who and what I am.

  16. Your writing always puts a smile on my face… whilst also highlighting a truth… in how we have all chosen to not do the hokey pokey in life and have settled for a much more measured version of putting our whole self in according to how much of ourselves we are willing to express and be seen doing so. It’s a great analogy and a great reminder of the joy we are missing out on from choosing this.

  17. Much the way you returned to the Hokey Pokey, I very much enjoy returning to this blog. It is a very joyful piece to feel.

  18. Joel the way you write is so up lifting and joyful, thank you reminding us that the joy lies within us, its up to us to play the hokey pokey and put our whole body in, shake it all about and express with full joy.

  19. I have to be truly grateful to my daughter as she makes me realise how serious and lacking in the joy of life I can be sometimes, getting caught up in life. Sometimes when I see her laugh so open and unrestricted and be so excited about things or events coming up it just brings up the hokey pokey in me as well something I also lost but is on the come back.

  20. Wow. The guy in the middle looks and feels so different. I would not recognise him as you, Joel. I kind of don’t really want to say say ‘joy has always been there within and never lost’ because that feels like it is a given (although it is in truth) that you re-connected to your true essence, but it is a miracle, not by luck – but by choice.

  21. It feels simply amazing to re-connect to our body in every movement and feel the absolute joy, lightness and freedom to simply be ourselves in full. Very cool indeed thank you Joel.

  22. I drop into the pattern of taking the responsibility of other people’s actions as well, but when I truly stop and ask myself, why would I question myself before I question others? Having a level of appreciation, trust and love for myself, I know where I come from and what my essence is, and therefore when I sense another’s reactions and responses now, it is much easier to be light hearted, observe and ask why they are having this reaction, knowing we are actually all equal in playfulness as God, and why wouldn’t we want to show this with each other?

  23. Very cute Joel – this is a really lovely sharing of what it is to be our full selves. SO many times I have held back my fulness because I am scared of what others think – but the truth is – I am just playing a game with myself to not be all of me and find an excuse in others to justify this.

  24. And what an evolution to see the beautiful and tender man that writes so playfully and so elegantly, building bridges that anyone can simple walk over on the way back to their own hearts.

  25. Enjoying and engaging in life with our whole body is possible the more we let go of the caution and seriousness we take on in calculating how much of our expression is ok to be seen and openly express from our inner heart.

  26. Having got back from this year’s retreat in the UK it was cool to get a reminder of the past two. Whereby there were presentations based around the fact that eventually jealousy will not be the terror that it can be/is today that we all try to avoid. And that we are supported by many ways in life to do the Hokey Pokey, to be light and playful without hesitation. This future can be lived today and I feel this occurs when we take that ‘risk’ and re-introduce playful, silly, light-hearted moments into our lives.

  27. It is quite shocking to consider how much we deform ourselves in order to not feel jealousy. Jealousy is an evil force that serves only to diminish the brilliance of our connection to our divinity, and how our appreciation of this in ourselves and others confirms our purpose here to grow, learn, flourish and inspire each-other to evolve so we can live the joy of being all that are, in true Brotherhood.

  28. I realise the more people on earth that are living and feeling joyful, it becomes easier for everyone else to reconnect to it too. This shows how interconnected we are and how we affect each other through our choices and movements much more than we realise.

  29. Joel the photos really highlight what you have shared. The same cheeky ‘Im all in’ smile is evident in the photo of you as a child and the one now. The one somewhere in between is completely different – withdrawn from life, hiding and not offering you. Learning about jealousy and what it is and what it means for us as people and how to deal with it when we feel it has been one of the best things that I have learned in this life.

  30. The key to our relationship with God is this: ‘You see God – that dude that many of us struggle to define and relate to – is actually the ultimate playful being. Connect to this fact and any movement is joyful.’
    And a killer of a sentence of truth is: ‘I have learned to ‘Hokey Pokey’ once again (metaphorically speaking), to put my body into life and shake it all about, because that’s what it’s all about’
    You just offered us the keys to change our lives forever.

  31. It is too easy and comfortable to stay in one place – put life in the old body and shake that grace out for all to see.

  32. Thanks Joel… It is possible to have that sense of fun and innate joy in our movement even as we get older… It is possible to restore that innocence, that sense of just simply enjoying ourselves move… And when we do it is the most wonderful feeling

  33. You can feel your re-commitment to life Joel. All in for whatever the universe has to offer. Like with children its a beautiful quality that is hard to resist. We know from our friends, colleagues, and those around us who is still up for it, and who has withdrawn to a safe place and tempered their expression of who they naturally are. Yet we always carry it with us, and the choice to reconnect is never lost – always just a step away (be that the left foot in or the right foot in!).

  34. In this most recent photo of you Joel you can feel your joy and lightness shining through – how powerful is it to live in the world unaffected by the jealousy and attack from others and to reflect true love and brotherhood with our every movement.

  35. It’s amazing how we abandon our natural selves in order to not rock the boat. But understandable too, for jealously from others can be very difficult to withstand, especially when it comes from people we think or expect should love us unconditionally. So, mastering being OK with what triggers others into a jealous reaction needs to be high on the personal development agenda!

  36. Wow Joel, your photo’s say it all. You have the same joy-full radiance now as you did as a child. An incredible inspiration to see that throwing our whole body joy-fully back into life is true medicine.

    1. I agree Kim, the most recent adult photo is very like the photo of Joel as a boy. This is something we give up on living as adults, the joy and exuberance we felt as children. As Joel shows, it’s actually very possible with the support of Universal Medicine.

  37. Jealousy is a veritable kill joy and destroyer, especially of children’s innocence and very natural exuberance and boundless vitality and playfulness.

  38. Love it Joel, you certainly do put your body into life and ‘shake it all about’. The freedom of movement and joy just in your photos (young and most recent) captures exactly that.

  39. I realised recently how after moving to Europe the spark of joy and ease and openness towards simply laughing and having a bit of fun was somewhat reduced and it actually feels less ease here to naturally express this way! I did not realise just how much I have adjusted my expression to what I feel from others around which was a lot more than in New Zealand. The choice to dull may be subconscious but it is definitely a choice nonetheless. A choice we can change at any moment.

  40. I am feeling the joy Joel, what a blessing. I love being playful and have noticed that even in my own home it presses buttons because at school you simply do not make a ‘fool’ of yourself. School squashes so much of our playfulness. I can see it is my duty to keep that playfulness rolling though now! Thanks for the reminder Joel.

  41. Yes great inspiration Joel. I am throwing myself into life more and more as I did as a child. I was throwing myself into life for a long time, but that was more based on missions, ideals and dreams, with no true playfulness leading to pursued peeks and holes where I came tumbling down in.

  42. Oh the pure joy of it all!!!Thank you for sharing Joel I can feel the joy dripping off the page and the photos say it all!

  43. What a gorgeous story of returning to the joy you had as a child. When you talked about God being so playful and how kids naturally have that same playfulness as they are literally living in union with God, it made me realise how natural religion (our relationship with God) is. Kids don’t get embarrassed, deny or hide the fact that they are in the sandpit with God. Why would you when this is our nature? It’s only when we feel the false versions of religions and judgment from others that we question or doubt this.

  44. A lovely playful blog full of wisdom – there is indeed true joy when we commit to life and express our all.

  45. What jealousy can do to our lives if we choose to let us effect us, is indeed profound. I have seen it as well in my life, where iI also was this “Hokey Pokey” boy, who chose to withdraw from life.

  46. Joel, I love your pictures, and the smile from the retreat matches the same joy you were expressing as a child. I don’t see the same joy from the photo in the middle.

  47. When we disconnect from ourselves and our inner joy we learn to adapt and live at the mercy of life being ever more cautious the more we allow ourselves to be affected by it. Returning to the natural joy and wholeness that we lived as children is possible the more we connect with our essence and express ourselves from our true quality of being.

  48. Joel I look at you photos (not the one in the middle) but all I see and feel is joy and that committing to putting your whole whole body in and shaking it all about, brings that very joy.

  49. I sit here reading this and am amazed at how life has changed from my first experience of Universal Medicine at the retreat in 2011. Life is amazing and I’ve learnt that theres no need to hold back and not ‘shake it all about’ – shake off the misery and seriousness and feel the joy thats there underneath!

  50. Jealousy is such an awful thing to feel, particularly as a child. However, discovering through Universal Medicine that our learnt protection from it is to suppress our true nature and connection with God is even more horrible. Realising this the hurt from the jealousy no longer has the power

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