Our world has been set up to reinforce external referencing at every turn. From our earliest moments, we are encouraged to look outside of ourselves for approval, validation, and certainty. We are told how to dress, behave, think, and conduct ourselves. When we do that we silence the potent internal messages that were meant to lead us toward extraordinary lives. We’ve traded extraordinary for “normal”. We’ve sold our unique expression in favour of “fitting in”. Following social norms has become the well-worn path of the culture, and when we stray from it in any way we are made to feel inadequate. When that feeling arises, it can create enough inner turbulence to have us lose ourselves once again and turn right back to the path well worn.
After 30 years of navigating that well-worn path, the volume of my internal messages increased enough that I could no longer ignore them. I suddenly gave up on the idea of “fitting in”, and I have been choosing my own path ever since. First, it was a choice to love who I loved, regardless of gender. This was followed by a choice to never again consume foods that exploited the animals I held so dear to my heart. These choices left me well outside of the social norms of the late 1990s. These choices came with external labels like lesbian and vegan. Each of the labels culture slapped on me was designed to cut into my resolve to live my own full life, and to invite me to consider that my new choices were not quite as legitimate as those I’d made before I stepped off culture’s path.
I could suddenly see through it all, and I remained determined to follow my inner voice. I decided that the dominant culture could not have me back, and each attempt they made to invite me back toward the pack mentality strengthened my internal resolve. The truth is, it has always been my life, and my life has never been up for debate. My life was never meant to be limited or labeled, it was only meant to be lived. Lived in its fullest expression, without self-imposed or culturally imposed barriers, and lived with joy-filled reckless abandon.
Now, as a virus spreads across the globe almost as fast as fear paralyzes entire nations, I see how it’s a time for each of us to make a great turn from external validation to internal curiosity. It’s a moment that demands that we each listen deeply to our own quiet, calm and wise messaging. When each of us stops and checks in deeply with how to move forward at this time we begin a process of shedding our desire to be culturally compliant. When we do that, we begin to come alive in our own lives.
I think one of the things that has kept us from living fully is that we were taught that life, like a brick wall, was meant to be built upon in a step by step fashion. Each brick or step building upon the next. We were taught that the steps should stack up, one after another to create a good life. Steps like doing well in school, getting a degree, finding and keeping a good job, buying a house, starting a family, creating a retirement plan, etc. While this a great model for creating a strong economy, it’s an incredibly limiting model for creating a great life. This design for living means we never get to fully arrive in our lives. We perpetually work for the more we are led to believe is necessary. We strive for an elusive future that will never arrive, and we fail to notice the beautiful moments as they present. This leaves us feeling unhappy, unwell and undone.
A life of following the dominant culture’s plans for success robs us of our essence at every turn. It keeps us trapped in relationships and jobs that drain us of our life force, and it keeps our children in educational systems that deplete their genius. It keeps us all distracted and detached from all that truly matters.
I believe life was meant to be less about stacking bricks, and more about embracing a series of unique and exquisite moments. Each moment was meant to be felt, embraced and lived to its fullest. Then when that moment comes to its natural conclusion it was meant to be allowed to dissolve to make the space for the next one to arrive. Each new moment bringing life and vitality and another opportunity to experience full presence. Each new moment filled with the great potential we each carry to create beautiful lives. Over and over with each breath, we get another opportunity to choose ourselves, to choose life.
An external force in the form of a virus is creating an opportunity for humanity to suddenly stop and take a look inside. It’s our opportunity to check in and see that another choice exists. While some would say we are on shaky ground on this planet collectively, I know that if each of us turns inward at this time in search of the wisdom that has never left us we will find a new way forward. A way forward where instead of a contagious virus running our lives, we become the contagion for the exponential expansion of life.
When I look around right now, I see that we are collapsing all of the systems that have supported the human experience on this planet to date. With the exception of essential services, everything is closed. When the day comes that the virus is no longer our focus, and we attempt to reboot the systems we are so familiar with, we may find they do not fit together quite the same way. We may find they don’t support life the way we once thought they did. Just like the way personal evolution is totally dependent on our willingness to fall apart and know that when we find our way back together the pieces will no longer fit, I believe that listening to our own unique voices at this time means there is the potential for entirely new systems, and an entirely new design to emerge that is a much better fit for the majesty of each of our lives.
Expansion in a Time of Collapse – 5 Week Online Experience
If you are ready to dive into conversations designed to empower you to find your own unique voice and claim more of your life, join me starting April 23 for women and April 24 for men for this compelling 5 week online program. Details here…