As Within So Without

As the decade winds to a close, many of us are reflecting on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to go.  Signals like inner restlessness, lead to outer changes which in turn lead to inner transformation, if we choose to allow it.

Where I live on the east coast of the US, the earth cycles through 4 distinct seasonal changes- autumn, winter, spring, and summer.  There are periods of light and periods of darkness.  Why should we be any different?  The ease with which we accept change is a direct reflection of the ease with which we embrace our own periods of light and darkness as well as our natural cycles.

“The only constant in life is change,” Heraclitus

Sensing Change

I’m not talking about outer changes that are thrust upon us, like a big promotion or a layoff.  I’m referring to the changes that begin inside of us as inspiration, passion, a new dream or goal, boredom, frustration, or a feeling of discontentedness.  A stirring in the heart, body, or soul.  A yearning.  An invitation.

For me, it started with a growing unwillingness to continue living a life that wasn’t in alignment with who I wanted to be and what I valued.  “There has to be more to life than this”, I thought.  At first, I tried ignoring those restless feelings.  Life was pretty good.  Honestly, what did I have to complain about?  Some people had it far worse than I did.  But the gnawing feeling wouldn’t go away.  It insisted upon not only being heard but being honored.

Outer World Mirrors the Inner World

One of the first noticeable signs that we are going through a major transformation could be the desire to change things outside ourselves.  For some, this is a change in appearance- a makeover, a new hairstyle (or a new hair color), or a change in our style of dress.  For others, there’s a desire to repaint a room in the house, redecorate the bathroom, or move furniture around.  And still others are inspired to change careers, volunteer, or open the circle to include new friends.

For me, one way it manifested in my life was a great desire to clean my house…. completely!  I don’t mean cleaning with window cleaner and a vacuum; I mean decluttering my house- with countless boxes going to a donation center and both trash and recycling bins getting hauled to the road.  I used to move every couple of years thanks to the US military so “purging” was a regular thing but now that I’ve been in the same home for 14 years, I am the one who decides when to purge.  I decided that the time was now.  (I also decided to try something I always wanted to do, but hadn’t had the courage… until now!  It’s the subject of my blog post, I Have Always Wanted To…)

Anything that had negative energy and anything that I no longer wanted or needed was released.  Anything that had positive energy, brought joy, held treasured memories, or had purpose stayed.  I asked myself,

What do I want to take with me moving forward?  

Cleaning house was more than the usual housekeeping; it was “cleaning house” in the most clarifying way.  By creating space in my home, I created space within myself for new beginnings and infinite possibilities.  It was exciting and liberating!  My outer world mirrored my inner world and it felt great, like the sparkly anticipation I had as a child the night before Christmas!

Inner Transformation

Perhaps that is the only change that is needed- a clean house, a new look, or a painted bedroom.  If that brings a feeling of contentment and peace, great!  But, if the stirrings inside haven’t subsided, the outer changes may spiral back and require further changes to the inner world.  This takes courageous vulnerability.

“Ok Universe, here I am.  I have no idea where this is going but I trust I’m on the right path. 

I’m willing to take the next step.  I surrender.” 

How does it feel to even read that?  Read it again… out loud.

Freedom of Choice

Maria Forleo, in her book Everything is Figureoutable, highlights the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying as shared by former nurse, Bronnie Ware. Before you read any further, what do you think the top 5 regrets are?  Have your list?  Ok, keep reading and check your answers.

5.  I wish I had let myself be happier.

4.  I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

3.  I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

2.  I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

1.  I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. 

Forleo writes, “You have the power within you.  You already have everything you need to answer the call of your soul… The world really does need you.  It needs your boldest, bravest, most honest and loving expression, and it needs it now… In doing so, you’ll be an inspiration for every life you touch.”

As this decade ends and the new one prepares to begin, check in with your Self.  Do you sense change coming?  Are you, like many of us, poised on the threshold of new possibilities?  What do you want to take into your future?  What things can you release?  Trust your intuition.  What better gift can we give the world than to live our best lives and encourage others to do the same?

Let’s close with Rumi…