There’s a good chance you may find this understanding about life, that I’m about to share with you, a wee bit irritating.
It certainly annoyed me when I first heard it. But it also resonated with me and felt like home – like peace. And that last part is what moves me to share it with you.
The understanding I speak of goes something like this:
At our core, the spirit of who we are is love, clarity, peace, wisdom and wellbeing. Always.
AND how we experience life is directly related to what we are thinking and feeling in each moment and not as a direct result of the circumstances or events that are happening outside of us.
Here’s a personal example that always pops into my mind when I’m wanting to illustrate how this premise works. A couple of years after my father died I was struggling with overwhelming depression and anxiety. One snowy afternoon I noticed my mother out in the hilly, pine tree lined fields near our house snowshoeing.
My mind immediately filled with thoughts like, “How awful that my mother is out there by herself. She must be feeling sad and lonely. Why is life so unfair? Why did my father have to die right as my parents were moving into their ‘golden years’?”
As these thoughts ran through my mind, I felt more and more depressed and flooded with worry that my mother was all alone and that life was bleak. Clearly I needed to do something to help alleviate her suffering.
Funny thing is, it turns out that my mother was having a wonderful time.
She called a while later and was full of joy sharing with me about her snowshoeing excursion. I can still vividly recall the beautiful lightness emanating from her as she conveyed how fun it was and how good it felt to be trekking around in the fresh air.
With this new understanding of how life works it becomes clear to me that my depressed, anxious, worried feelings weren’t coming from outside of me.
They were coming from the very sad narrative I was telling myself about my mother. She was having a fabulous day – out there. The not fabulous day was created – inside me – via my moment to moment thinking – my spinning mind and the meaning I gave to it – that’s all.
As I’ve played around with this understanding – that we experience life from the inside out – I notice that I’m less and less afraid of the unknowns in life. There is freedom in knowing that the outside world doesn’t control my wellbeing.
It allows more space for that always well part of me to shine through with creative solutions and ideas for whatever shows up in life.
And the anxiety and worry I feel at times doesn’t seem quite as compelling. I feel more in flow and my fluctuating moods and thoughts don’t seem as significant, because I know they are just energy moving through me and I don’t have to hold onto them and take them for THE truth.
But don’t take my word for it. Play around with this understanding for yourself. See if you can detect any truth to it.
In the upcoming, What If? Program, I’m offering with my friend and colleague, Melissa Wirt, we explore this understanding of life further and the role our thinking plays in unwanted habits. If you’re interested we’d love to have you join us.