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The Art of Revealing, Not Striving

So many of us think about change: How can I change who I am? How can I change what work I do? How can I strive to be a better person?

These internal questions that whisper to us behind the constant doings of life, are voices of change. Asking to be heard, to be validated, to be taken seriously. It is a sign that a period of growth is about to happen... or if ignored, this stunted growth is internalized and often becomes self-destructive.

But these questions, these "strivings" for change, often can fill us with more tension, more self-loathing. These questions can often be interpreted, if we're really honest with ourselves, as: "Why can't I do better, Why can't I be more?. They are full of self judgement. Within these questions are an implicit statement that I AM NOT ENOUGH.

But what if, instead of striving to do better, be different, we rephrased these internal stirrings, these building questions within ourselves? What if we visualized these voices as our true, beautiful, powerful, authentic selves wanting to come out? Wanting to play in the light? Wanting us to show up more on a regular basis? Like shedding the layers of a cocoon for our beautiful butterfly to emerge...

This feels different, doesn't it? So how do we allow this butterfly to feel safe enough to come out and play in our lives? I am still exploring this process, but this is what I've come up with so far:

1) LISTEN to those inner voices. HONOR them. The best way I've found to do this is by journaling. We often don't know what they want to say, or what wants to emerge, until we sit quietly and write. Some like to meditate first and then journal. And some like to keep a small notebook in their purse or nearby so that when something whispers through the cracks during a busy day of doing, it is captured. Write it down.

2) LET GO OF JUDGEMENT... practice not judging what the voices say. They want to be heard, not judged. And try not to jump 10 steps ahead... such as: "I want to paint... but what if I'm not good enough... or how will I make a living at THAT?!... Do you know how hard that is to do?!". Baby steps. Breathe. And listen. And sometimes self-talk, like you are talking to a child may help: "It's ok, sweetheart. I know you are scared. I'm here for you and you are safe". Self-judgement is only disguised fear after all.

3) So, START SMALL AND ENJOY THE PROCESS. You want to paint? Doodle for a few minutes here and there. You want to dance? Dance in your living room to music when the house is empty... you can even clean the house that way :) Just sink into how good it feels to allow yourself to do what inspires you, in little small and simple moments. It doesn't have to be that complicated, does it?

As the quiet inner voices are honored, they become stronger. As we learn to let go of self-judgement and keep things simple, we notice that over time, the cocoon weakens, and the wings of our beautiful butterfly begin to break through so that we can fly free.

I look forward to seeing what beautiful colors emerge from my cocoon and yours...

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