When the world feels chaotic, a return to our own inner work will reveal where we need to go
Have you ever tidied up the kitchen after dinner, scrubbing away, making everything all sparkly and clean…only the next day to find some dried up residue of food left on a pot or utensil you swore you had scoured? This may seem like a silly analogy, but our internal work is much the same. Our unhealed wounds…well, they leave some remnants behind like a trail of breadcrumbs leading us home again. Hey you, we’ve still got some unfinished business over here.
Just when you think you’ve checked one issue off your list another morsel reappears. Oh, such is life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Seriously. Instead of beating ourselves up for not being perfect (or for having to deal with that again) — how about applauding the fact that you see it, that you aren’t ignoring it? Better yet, this time around you see its opportunity, not its admonishment.
That’s the juncture where it’s just so darn easy to fall off the wagon and forget that whatever is popping up within us — the triggers, the anger, the fear, the vulnerability…it’s simply pointing us back in a direction to help, not hinder.
But the truth is that we see what we are ready to see.
That’s why I’m choosing to see the residue as a friendly nudge…Kristen, you need some housekeeping back in 2003! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just get a list of rooms (or years) that need to be cleaned and get it over with once and for all?
Off I go. I grab my cleaning supplies, roll up my sleeves and uncover the remaining piece of the puzzle that has been dogging me and quietly infiltrating my life (or at least try).
Because no matter what you are experiencing in your NOW, it is likely attached to something in your BEFORE.
Everything has stories, memories, limited beliefs, feelings, hurts, etc. attached to it. Whether they are true or not, they are true to our inner selves. In recognizing this we can be kinder to ourselves, yet open to seeing. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can be proud of how far we’ve come — how receptive to receiving we now are.
You’re here in this precious community because you care — you care about showing up as your Best Self. You care about showing up better today than you did yesterday…even if that requires a do-over (again and again). You want to be the change you wish to see in the world. But sometimes we just don’t know the next step to take in doing so.
This journey is messy and we are in messy times. These times have been extremely challenging on so many levels for us all. We have been stretched and pulled and sent home and restricted. We have been frightened and infuriated. We’ve had to figure life out and renegotiate. And it’s certainly stirred the pot for many of us.
BUT we mustn’t push the gifts aside; the things that have actually soothed our souls and made us realize…hmmm, this actually isn’t so bad after all.
While it’s easy to focus on the feelings of loss; loss of travel, communing, sharing a meal in a restaurant that doesn’t involve a takeout box or plastic utensils, ‘life as usual’ — most of us have also uncovered dormant parts of ourselves if we’ve allowed them to tiptoe forward.
They are the parts of us that have weathered this life storm through all of its ups, downs, triumphs and trials. Still here to whisper, remember me? They remind us who we are, what our soul is really calling for. They do not shame or judge. They do not blame or berate. No, they simply gently sit down beside us and take our hand. Today is a new day. We can do things that feel hard.
And while I know many of you are facing your own struggles and readjusting to life, I also want to remind you that we can flip that story and declare what IS working, what does feel right, what new paths have presented themselves. We can lean more into that and take comfort there. We can nurture those seeds and watch them grow.
Remind yourself you are not helpless.
Life is not hopeless. We can readjust these life pieces according to our own rewrites and edits. Don’t get caught up in trying to put it all back together as it was. If we can refrain from that hustle, we can hear the whispers of a new direction. We can see what needs to be attended to — and perhaps what needs to be let go of. We can decide who we want to be and how we want to live this precious life. Most of all, we can remember that we are in charge and we get to choose how we want to feel and experience it all.
Now, I get accused of employing my ‘Pollyanna’ thinking on occasion. Let me tell you, my life has been anything but Pollyanna. I have seen the darkest of days and I have clawed my way back. My journey wasn’t just a bad week or spell, and it took me 17 years to recover from. I still find my bits of residue, but I now understand that it will all serve me. I have the tools to look at it, to recognize it and to witness it. That doesn’t mean I like it, but those same tools help me navigate the exterior world. They remind me of what is mine to control and what isn’t.
The seeds of Best Self Magazine were born of my journey of healing. And let me tell you, I was asleep when my life fell apart. I seriously had my work cut out. I know about loss. I know about destruction. I know about anger. And I know about fear and hopelessness. I know what it is like to move home to live with your parents in your childhood room again as a 40-year-old woman with a toddler because you have no other choice. I know what it is to rise from nothing. I also learned resilience because deep down I knew I wanted more…I knew there was more…and I learned to recognize the residue.
This isn’t woo woo, this is about being a warrior for your soul. Self-reflection isn’t the easy path. Refraining from lashing out at someone who offends you isn’t passive. But it is about reflecting on self-agency and taking responsibility for the emotional pollution you are contributing.
Quite frankly, I’ve never seen so much divisiveness before, even in the wellness world.
This isn’t a time to take each other down. There is much to latch onto that tells us to pick a team. We can gather the information we want to support ‘our team’. I’ve seen nasty personal attacks on social media. But newsflash: vitriol is vitriol, no matter who is spewing it. This isn’t how we change the world.
I’m not asking you to refrain from opinions, feeling and especially critical thinking — actually, quite the opposite. I’m asking you to follow your own breadcrumbs. Follow the trail back to where you need to complete your work. Witness what these big feelings trigger within you and follow them home to your big ‘ol heart. Sit with your intuitive, feeling self. Focus on soothing your nervous system. See what is coming up that is calling to be healed.
I truly believe we can be of better service to others, ourselves and the things that matter most to us when we agree to be our Best Selves, when we agree to clean up our own mess and focus on the things we can do something about. Sure, there is much I’d love to transform by waving my magic wand, but like I say, I’m already my own full-time job!
We’re all navigating these crazy times in our own ways — some of us are cleaning, some of us are creating, some of us are simply being — some of us are suffering and fighting back, chasing our own tails.
Follow your own lead.
Don’t model it after mine or anyone else’s. Listen. Go within. Connect to that powerful voice guiding you. It already knows what is needed and where to go. We need more feeling, less fighting. And btw, your intuition is not a conspiracy.
Seize this precious ‘now’ moment and ask yourself what needs to be seen…then see it. Allow it to quietly emerge forward, to sit down beside you…and then thank it. Thank it for reminding you how very far you’ve already come. You’re ready and you’ve got this.
Undoubtedly the emotional pot has been stirred within you and your life during these past months. And while it would be easy to just lash out and punch 2020 in the face — where are you being called? What is it revealing to you? Is there something you need to clean up that you are ready to see? What’s working / what’s not? Please share your experience with us in the comments below.