by Peggie Arvidson
When you change the inside, everything outside you transforms.
This is the calling card of my life and it’s the soul medicine I share every day. The challenge is figuring out what to change and how to do it, right?
When you feel stuck in a dead-end job you might think that the ‘fix’ is to change jobs, but is it really the best answer? Most of the time, it’s not, because changing jobs is an OUTER shift and what’s called for is an inner transformation.
Transformation sounds pretty hard doesn’t it?
Transformation sounds like heavy lifting and will power. It doesn’t sound like something I want to sign up for given my busy life. How about you?
Still, transformation is happening whether you apply yourself or not. The seasons are a perfect example – I don’t know if the sun has to try extra hard and apply its willpower to move further away from us, or if the trees feel the urge to struggle through changing the chlorophyll levels in the leaves. So why should we, otherwise intelligent beings, find it so hard to get out of spaces that make us feel miserable?
We each have our own ‘reasons’ but in the coaching vernacular we refer to your stuck behaviors and habits as your saboteurs. You’ve got ‘em, I’ve got ‘em and even your favorite idol has them too. None of us get through life without limiting beliefs and in order to get through life with more joy and less stress, facing and then learning from our saboteurs is required.
The saboteur is your personal tool for transformation. Whether you’re afraid of being seen because you are certain someone will find out you’re a fraud, or if you’re stifling your social life because you’ll feel guilty letting your siblings care for your aging parents, your saboteur is alive and well. “Yes! But I have a good reason!” you insist. After all it is virtuous to be the one in charge of caring for your parents, taking them to their doctor’s appointments, navigating the insurance and Medicare system on their behalf! You are so good at getting it all done that you don’t even realize how debilitating it all is.
Until you feel chronically fatigued. You wake up in the middle of the night after falling into bed exhausted and worn out. Once awake your head starts whizzing with what-ifs and should-haves and to-dos. Let’s not even talk about the night sweats!
It’s no wonder you feel like you’re walking around in a haze, forgetting where you put your keys or what time your meeting with the boss happens!
Let’s agree that this is not the joyful life you imagined when you were 10 or 22 or even 30!
Now it’s time to look back at the choices and paths that have gotten you here. Don’t look back with contempt or anger or resentment. Look back with compassion and forgiveness. Forgive yourself for everything you’ve been regretting. Forgive yourself for each road not taken. Forgive yourself for every poor partner selection and lousy career change.
Sit with that sense of compassion and forgiveness for as long as it takes – it may be 10 minutes every day or it may be a period of one hour of intensity. When you wake in the middle of the night forgive the thoughts that are making your insomnia go full throttle.
Once you feel the sense of true forgiveness settling in like a new habit forming, it’s your chance to review the disappointments with an objective eye. Look for the underlying feeling or thought that accompanied those less than stellar choices. Were the choices made out of a fear of loneliness? Maybe they were out of a fear of rejection, or insecurity or being lied to? There is nearly an endless list of our fears but you’ll find that you have a common thread among yours. It’s tied into your life lesson. You are here to master, not conquer, your lesson and the first step is in recognizing what it is in the first place.
Now that you’ve identified your primary fear saboteur you get to the sweet spot of knowing and loving yourself in a whole new way! This is where the inner transformation begins.
The next step is for you to spy on yourself and your decision making processes. When you face a decision that feels major, like quitting your job without a backup plan, or it feels mundane, like whether or not to have that second cookie as your afternoon pick-me-up, notice the underlying feeling in your body. Your body never lies, so listen intently.
If you feel exhilarated and expanded, use that barometer to lead you deeper to the truth of the decision and outcome. If you feel exhausted and small, dig in and see if that’s because your core fear/s are running the show.
Do this every day, making it a new habit and you’ll see your outer world shift as your inner world transforms!