Let’s just start by saying, Hi! My name is Elena Harder, Queen of JoyGasm.
I'll do my best to let you know a little bit about me, how I got here, and WHY I do what I do.
You should know before we start that I'm a huge maverick, I don't like rules that don't make sense, and it is impossible to put me in a box. I believe in magic and the conspiring beautiful force that is the USiverse behind my every action. I feel SUPER lucky to still be alive, and I know I'm here for a reason, and that reason is JoyGasm.
In order to really understand how the fusion that is JoyGasm came about, you really need to hear the whole story. But that's over 300 pages and is it's own immersive journey as a book, so we've put the short version below. It still gives me the heebie jeebies to be this transparent, but it's part of walking my path, so I trust that you will serve you.
In the service of evolution, you don't always know what you're doing, or what you're getting yourself into.
This is a story about about having the COURAGE to stand in darkness, and in light.
This is about sharing the truth of who I am with you,
so you can know that it's possible to overcome your abuse, and make a new decision for your life.
If you've lived a life of grace and ease from day one, this is NOT your story. This is a community of HARD KNOCKS, of single mom-preneurs, of people who got it hard as kids, who were bullied, took shit from others, internalized it and began to beleive they were worthless. There are people here who were traumatized and are still in recovery. This is a place to start for people who have been knocked down by life.
Unless you've been there, empty handed, taking shit from someone who you desperately want to love you. Someone you just can't seem to figure out why they won't love you (after all you've given them). Unless you've been there, you can't truly understand what this journey is about.
AND it's also a community of people who are committed to looking at the darkest parts of themselves, and who have found the guts to take a stand for their dreams, and make them a reality.
I was one of those people,
who rolled around in the shit for so long
I learned to like the taste of it.
Because unless you've been there, you just don't understand. I want to share part of my story with you to let you know that I know what it's like, to be in a place of stress, overwhelm, self hatred, fear, depression, wanting to kill yourself, living SO off the path, and struggling with daily life. It's to show you that there is something better on the other side, that there is reason to the maddess of life. It's about sharing my journey so that you begin to believe you can move from STRESS with where you ARE, to FUN with where you are. To EPIC FUN and where you want to BE.
I want to share the pain of the story, so you can see it's possible to get to the other side.
It's 2010, I was 8 months pregnant, about $3000 in debt, living in a house I couldn't afford, paying for everything, including rent, food, and daily binge drinking. I cooked all the things we ate (not that he ate much) and waited around for him to (hopefully) love me, inbetween his sleeping, moping around the house, and his daily binge drinking.
My savings had run out a few months ago, and I was praying that tax money would come in, in time to cover the everything else that needed to be paid. I'd never held a job for more than 6 months, and all of them were minimum wage.
So 8 months pregnant, with no cash, a deadbeat dad. The only one who can change it is me. BEFORE this baby shows up.
I started my entrepreneurial journey out of necessity. No traditional job would hire an 8 month pregnant woman. No one except other early stage entrepreneurs who didn't know any better. I went to some networking meetings full of hope and excitement. I was going to teach people how to be happier! Happiness Bootcamp. After every pitch, I would say these five fateful words "And I do web design." People ignored my passion, and went straight to the web design every time.
I figured that I could design a website for someone else and they would give me money. The first one was $250, I was cash flow positive and ecstatic. It took me 10 hours, I made $25/hour, and I never looked back.
But it was not a happy life. I was (baby and work induced) sleep deprived, desperate for cash, and although I was experiencing some success, I often didn't make enough to do ANYTHING FUN. Or have spare time, or feel like I was getting ahead.
While I didn't realize it at the time, I was suffering from post partum depression, mixed with mania. I was cycling in and out of resentment, desperation and exhaustion, alternated with moments of elation, incredible joy, hope and enthusiasm. Life was VERY cyclical, and my mood depending completely on whether things were going well with BabyDaddy (or not), and if baby Alex slept enough during the day for me to keep up with my manic "trying to make it all work" work schedule.
In one cycle of mania I decided what I really needed was a father for my son, and I got back together with BabyDaddy. This was blissful for about 2 weeks, before we headed right back into all the same patterns. Once again I was doing all the parenting, working hard, and spending money on feeding booze into his belly.
My fingers clutch the handle of the stroller, resentment pumps my legs around the block. The weather was getting colder, and I was about to break.
Something needed to change. In a desperate leap of faith and trying to escape my demons and winter. I flew Alex and myself to Sayulita Mexico, thinking I could work remotely, the beach would keep me sane, and Alex entertained, and thank GOD I wouldn't have to put up with winter. I hate wearing clothes, never mind jackets! I put the trip on my credit card, and figured I would figure it all out. I did pretty well for a while, and then 3 months later I invited BabyDaddy back into my life, and crashed out hard. When spring rolled around I crawled back to Canada with $0 in my bank account, and moved back in with my parents.
Then I did it again. And again, and again. Let's count the cycles of alcoholic/co-dependant breakups. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... and 6
It was the longest I've EVER been stuck in a shitty pattern. It was a painful, horrible, depressed, difficult and enlightening time in my life. I by the third time around I had gathered enough self awareness to realize I was doing this to myself, but hadn't quite figured out how to get out of it, or that on a core level I deserved better.
A pattern like that doesn't change until we break, or we change something in our life permanently.
For me it was a miscarriage that made the 6th breakup final.
So on February 1st 2013, I said goodbye for good to Romance with BabyDaddy. For good. Somehow I had thought that when I kicked him out of my life everything would instantly become magically better. I didn't realize that this turning point was just the beginning of the journey. Because, by this point, not only did I have a dysfunctional relationship with him, I had managed to create a downward spiral of fear and worry and hatred and anger and rage that was free spinning, self generating, and VERY embedded into my psyche. There was damage in there to my self esteem and a cyclical pattern of ecstatic hope, fear and failure that took years to repair.
At that point in my life, I hit, what I would call rock bottom. I THOUGHT I had done this a couple of times already, but I was wrong. This time around I maxed out my credit cards and line of credit paying that month's rent, closed the doors of my house, shut out all my friends, stopped email contact with the few clients I had remaining (without saying anything to them.. bad bad business move, but I really didn't care). Smoked WAY WAY WAY too much pot in an effort to numb out the pain I was feeling, and tried not to be a terrible mom to my son (then just over 3). I was paralyzed with fear, sorrow, and the victim mentality of an abused woman. It was the most difficult time of my life. I considered suicide, but couldn't stand the idea of what would happen to my son if I disappeared suddenly in a foreign country.
I went into the worst and deepest depression,
while living in paradise.
Part of me was JUST BARELY self aware enough to realize the absurdity of being SO upset about life while living 40ft from the beach, on a rooftop patio with a view of the surf break. But it was awful. I hated everything, especially my son and myself, and BabyDaddy. But I also had that practiced self awareness thing to realize that I had done all of this to myself, and was CONTINUING to do it to myself, now that BabyDaddy was gone. Shit. So not only was I miserable, I spent a huge amount of time beating myself up for not being able to get out of it, and for being an idiot for being stuck.
So in the middle of this epic hitting bottom expereince, while trying to find some sort of mental peace, and crashing out full and completely, I had a moment... That would forever change my life.
There was a moment, sitting on the patio, with the wind blowing in my hair, and the tears STREAMING down my cheeks, and my heart broken to the world, where I looked up and I said, "PLEASE, help me heal this, please give me an answer."
The wise voice inside of me said "Set a timer, open your arms, throw back your head, and SMILE like you mean it.. and let the emotion flow."
So I did. And after about 2 minutes of bawling and holding a forced Duchenne Smile, I had my first JoyGasm.
The huge surge of energy that was my sorrow, and anger and hatred, broke through to the other side, and I was connected fully and completely to the bliss that is infinite possibilities, and my body felt FANTASTIC.
I rode the wave for I don't know how long, and then wondered WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED TO ME.
"JoyGasm" was the answer I heard from above, "You will share it with others who need it." I knew then that I could access beautiful states of bliss through a little focus, and a specific set of postures.
But I was full of misery. I hit my upper limit. I couldn't handle being that happy. Not for more than 2 minutes a a time. The practice of JoyGasm would see me through the worst of it, and give me something to cling to. Hope.
I was still chronically miserable, but I didn't want to be anymore, and this gave me some hope. I built my own personal development program for myself, a system of re-programming my brain to un-fuck-ify it from everything that had happened. I committed to emotional processing, healing, and over time I found a stronger and deeper connection to JoyGasm again.
The connection felt was so strong, so powerful and I knew I had to share it. At the same time I really had no idea what has just happened to me. When I returned to Calgary I met the Tantra community, and found out there were other people teaching what I had experienced. I went to as many courses and different teachers as I could, all the while hearing this voice that said "Stop taking courses, you know it, it is you. Go out and teach it."
I spent an amazingly high powered, excited and JoyGasmic 9 months pursuing my destiny, running workshops, designing the online course and sharing JoyGasm. I built my tribe, worked with people one on one, and made a grand total of $5000. I was PISSED. "You said go out and teach, why isn't it working?" By the end of nine months I was burnt OUT as a workshop facilitator, and I still wasn't supporting myself financially, or really reaching as many people as I wanted with my message.
And people kept contacting me about freaking WEB DESIGN. I'd told them all to GO AWAY in the process of teaching the JoyGasm classes. I didn't want to do that stinking design anymore, I wanted to teach Tantra and follow my passion. But it sure wasn't paying the bills. I'd taken a part time job driving a school bus to help support me financially while doing JoyGasm. I wanted to quit that and never go back to it, and doing web design had been torture to me during the depression years.
I had an aha moment. That I had an ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY BUSINESS TOO! I would have to set about healing that one as well. I knew what I had been doing wasn't working. It was time for change. At a networking event I got a card that said:
"Put your focus on ONE business,
and see the dramatically different results you get."
You can't be afraid to Re-Invent Yourself.
Everyone I had met over the last 9 months new me as "The JoyGasm Queen".
But I needed to get my head above water financially,
and so I put it to the universe, and said:
"LOOK, YOU show me the money, if it's in design, I'll do design.
If it's in JoyGasm, I'll do that.
Show me the way by the time my stinking job ends for the summer in June."
By June I had my biggest month EVER in design,
netting more in one month than I had made in the entire previous YEAR.
So after 4 years of running my business, with 6 major crashouts that happened along side 6 major breakups. I took it into my own hands to fully heal not only my messed up head, but also to get my feet under myself for good, and build myself a proper business. I said to myself, "Focus on ONE business" (oh it was tough), and I set about creating the kind of design company that would Evolve Humanity, would make the world a better place, that I would want to be proud of owning and have people I trusted to do the stuff I didn't like doing. If I was going to do it, I was going to build the freaking empire!
I kept at my JoyGasm practice on my own, and used it to help me transform stuck emotions, fuel my passion, fire and creativity. I also embarked on a profound personal healing journey, healing the physical trauma of sexual abuse that I had stored inside my body during that dark dark time of my life. I found love, began to trust life again, and moved into a space were I felt truly happy from the inside once again. A deep peace and joy found root in my soul.
In my design work I watched as magic unfolded before my eyes, with client after client finding ME, and asking to do work beyond what I had expected.
I couldn't put the energy work and personal development down. Not completely. I was working with conscious entrepreneurs, people pursuing THEIR destinies. They would get stuck, caught in self sabotage, personal stories and patterns, and I saw that the design work I did for them, while important, was not as important as the inner work they were doing (or not doing) on themselves. I worked to create that as part of what we would do together. Inquiry and story work, energy clearing and popping the bubble, holding true to the vision. Helping them connect with their true energy source, and mastering the art of being magnetic and attractive to potential clients.
In 2014, I added 4 more people to the team, and we were offering a way better service than I ever did solo. The Evolving Humanity Team and I launched 9 major events, 2 Expos, 2 online membership programs, and 2 best selling books. Best of all, we created some AMAZING transparent and loving relationships with clients who I had wished I could work for, but had never dreamed would work with little old me.
Although the business was doing well, my soul was restless.
Even though I was doing good work in the world with Evolving Humanity, an underlaying frustration with my work grew and mounted. I had streamlined and systematized and outsourced and still wasn't feeling satisfied. The work with clients had become frustrating and dull, to the point where it was starting to become a regular occurrence to be full of energy prior to a client call, and then falling asleep while talking about mailing lists, follow up systems etc.
I just didn't care. I continued to feel the pull of JoyGasm. It called me, it asked me to share. I continued to tell it "I'll get there, I'm focusing on what pays the bills." I was terrified of how much struggle there had been last time I "tried" to launch it. Scared of showing up fully on my path, scared of what my mom would think, scared of facing social taboos and talking about sexuality openly. Most of all, scared to succeed, and really make a difference in the world.
The relationship with The Man had turned around over the course of about 9 months, and now he was stable, happy and we're really good friends. It's weird, and beautiful, and something I never thought would happen, but know is the result of the inner work I've done on myself. I hit a wall with my personal growth. Although I had fallen in love Alex around his 4th birthday, and our relationship was the best it had ever been, there was this underlaying gunk of resentment that I just couldn't shake.
I needed space to find out who I was and what was the next part of the journey? Could I put down the "burden" of being single mom long enough to find out who I really was, and what was next to me? Only one way to find out.
So following the call of my heart, I flew 36 hours around the planet to be in Bali. When I arrived things shifted massively. The call of JoyGasm became 100x louder, a new message came in that crystalized the power of Alchemy that JoyGasm offered, and I realized the full potential of this path for myself and others.
I looked around at the amazing consciousness hub that is Ubud, and said "If ever there was a place and a time for this idea to really thrive, this is it". How could I not?
I began to really follow my bliss, find the courage to speak my truth, and let the sharing of JoyGasm that is my truest essence really live through me.
It hasn't all been sunshine and roses, and the journey of claiming your JoyGasmic Force, of learning to live your bliss, and step into your highest calling isn't always easy. It takes persistance, patience and dedication. But the rewards are a permeating and ever increasing state of bliss, ecstacy, laughter, joy, peace, and union with your highest and most authentic self. In my world it's worth it.
This is your turn and your time, to listen to this message, feel the inspiration. I invite you to follow your own highest calling, connect with pure pleasure and creativity, and use it to fuel you as you share YOUR destiny with the world.
Questions that People Ask ME Often
1. What is your intention behind the work that you do?
My intention is for people to feel the incredible ecstacy and union that is connection with their JoyGasmic Potential, with their path, and their destiny. To show up proud and confident to be themselves and share their message in the world. To help people connect with their highest and most pleasurable path. It is to provide guidance and LOVE to people who are doing great work in the world.
My intention is to catalyze each client to a reality where they are more prosperous, relaxed and supported. My intention is to create a feeling of excitement in the vision, and pleasure in the path.
My intention is to help people define, and then follow their destinies to create a quantum effect of speed and ease in the awakening of the human species. It is to be in the never ending and ever more glorious mission of Evolving Humanity towards JoyGasm.
Thank you for asking. I've never said it so well.
2. What is it like to carry a last name: "Harder"
It's been an interesting journey.
1. Jr High was hard. The obvious "do me harder" joke. I hated it. 🙂 I resented my last name for years. Recently I came into my true family, and found community with the Tantra world, now it's finally a joke that I can laugh at too. Now I love it. I think it fits beautifully in my journey with sharing JoyGasm. I can see the perfection of it.
2. Another meaning. "Harder = more hard" It's perfect. I push harder, I ask for more, I push myself harder in everything that I do. Excelling? Excell more! Love, Love more. harder.. This edge pushing out of the box thinking has always been a part of me. Comes with the indigo nature.
3. Historically. Harder is a German last name, that comes from Hearder Herder. My ancestors way back herded sheep and earned this name. Even more appropriately, I have Mennonite pastors on several of my ancestor lines, and a strong line of shamans from my fathers mother's side, so my family is literally one of those leading the way, herding the people, in the way of love of Jesus. (ask me about Jesus later when you have some time)
Favorite Moments in My Work
- The moment where I forget where I am, and who you are, and anything that makes us different from eachother
- The tingling, singing, full bodied bliss, and feeling that I've connected someone to that space.
- That moment, where I see a client stuck in a story, I share that with them, and then we un-stuck them. 🙂 Into bigger possibilities.
Things you didn't know...
- I'm a Single Mom Nomad for the last 6 years spent mostly in tropical paradise!
- I love Heinlein (Stranger and Time Enough For Love), Abraham Hicks, and Anne McCaffrey as all time favorite authors, I could read over and over and over again.
- Sandcastles make me incredibly happy.
- FightClub, still one of the most influential movies of all time in my life. Close second are The Matrix and The Princess Bride. (oh yes being a kid in the 90's had it's perks!)
- I'm planning on living to be at least 300 years old. Healthy, Happy and Hot the whole time. 🙂 hehe
- Morocco and Spain/Europe are my next big trips. 🙂
- I dropped out of Art College after year 1 to "go make my way as an artist" so I went to Australia. 🙂 and fell in love with the idea of never seeing snow again.
- I love altars, they make me incredibly ridiculously happy.
- I used to say I loved everyone, except for intolerant people. After YEARS of work on it, I have found compassion and understanding for intolerant people. Most days.
- The longest continuous laugh I've ever sustained was 16 minutes. It was epic.