Inside and Out

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“The biggest mistake I ever made was waiting for the outside world to make me feel good instead of feeling good, thus creating the outside,” via the law of presence.  Another one I’m totally guilty of.  I bought books, toys, THINGS to the point where I couldn’t fit anything else in my house.  And I felt completely empty.  There was literally always something more to want—and that is the game, isn’t it?  We are taught to consume to feel better whether it is material, work, money, drugs, sex.  Anything to distract from where we really are and what we really need.

I don’t think I truly understood going inside and the depths of who I am until I hit the bottom a few weeks ago.  I had built up this idea of what I thought I wanted and what I thought I needed it to look like and even how I thought I needed to get there.  I thought I was saving the universe time by taking it all on my shoulders and hashing out a plan to follow on my own.  But I never stopped to ask if that was the plan I was supposed to follow.  It wasn’t until all of that fell away and I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t see beyond the hour in front of me that I realized none of the crap matters.  It all goes away in the end.  There is no baggage we can bring with us once it’s all over.

I’ve struggled with faith for a long time and that essentially boils down to a struggle with trust as well.  I was exposed to a lot of loss and a lot of transition early in life.  I was also exposed to a lot of situations that I had to figure out on my own (not that I was unique in that) where I had an expectation of what it was and any preparation I made was rendered moot because the situation turned out completely different than anticipated.  For some people, this is great exposure to learn to go with it.  They learn early on that things change in life and they learn to go within and find what is stable within themselves.  I was never taught that. 

For me those changes at an early age gave me crippling anxiety and the need to cling to the familiarity of any situation.  This isn’t to say I had an unstable home, far from it, but I was certainly not given tools to cope with change.  Having older siblings, I believe my parents overestimated my ability to change.  They forgot I was a few years behind them and hadn’t experienced all the shifts that they had.  I have always sought stability when, in reality, I was trying to find safety.  I just wanted to KNOW.  It wasn’t until many years later that I finally understood that there is no knowing in this world.  It’s learning to be adaptable, not creating the illusion of control that is really necessary.  We find comfort in routines and patterns but that isn’t what we are meant to do.     

I started to feel uncomfortable in my routines and it was cleverly disguised as anger at first.  I’d get annoyed at everything from the alarm clock to getting dressed, to the drive into work, to the drive home, to having to make dinner.  I would go through the actions every day but I hated it.  It hit me that when the routine isn’t working it’s time to change things up.  I am grateful to be “stable” enough to realize that there is never going to be one thing that will ever take away the fact that everything changes.  I’m glad to be comfortable enough in my life to start letting go of the idea that I need comfort all the time.  That can no longer be the goal because there is no growth in that.  The goal has to be growth.

The only way we grow is by doing things outside of our comfort zone.  By answering the voice that says, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”  And it isn’t in one THING that’s going to make you feel better—it’s actions that lead you to who you are that will make you feel better.  Understanding happiness is an inside job is key.  No one can give it to you because it isn’t a thing.  It’s a state of mind that you have to create yourself.  That is something that will look different to everyone—and that is ok.  Find yourself in letting go of the armor you’ve built around your life.  It’s on the inside, hidden behind the façade you’ve created.  You know what you need.  

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