Inner Work 101 is a series of in-depth blog posts I’m working on to de-mystify the inner workings of inner work. I’m tired of seeing brilliant creative people stumble around and settle for less than they really want because they don’t know how to navigate the path of their own potential and this is what I’m doing to help change that. Find all the Inner Work 101 posts right here.
Inner work is about working with energy… feelings and qualities and patterns and stories. It’s all very fluid and constantly changing which is why containers are so useful because they, well, they contain energy.
And so energy containers help you hold onto useful things like wisdom, courage and creativity while keeping un-helpful things like fear, self-doubt and anxiety away from you.
Think of how containers work in the outer world. For example, my art supplies are contained in this set of drawers:
Each drawer contains one group of art supplies. Each drawer also has containers which further divide up the art supplies. Containers within containers.
This way when I want a wax pastel I know where to find it. It’s in the pastel drawer, in the little white box of wax pastels which sits beside the pink box of oil pastels.
Of course, I could have just one big box of pastels and then when I want a pastel I can root through it to find the one I want. Or I can allow serendipity to choose for me.
Or all of my art supplies could be in one big box and so if I wanted a wax pastel I’d have to root through paints and pencils and markers and all those random weird things I buy and then never use…
Containers totally change the experience.
Imagine if your kitchen had no containers.
No drawers or cupboards or boxes or tins, just all of your stuff spilled out on the counters.
How do you eat macaroni and cheese without a plate or bowl?
Containers are often essential for being able to find and use the stuff we have.
Sometimes a lack of containers can render a thing totally useless or even dangerous – like water.
Containers are just as important to inner work as they are in your outer world.
If your whole inner world is just… there…. with no containers at all, everything all jumbled together… how do you find the stuff you need?
Wisdom, inspiration, creativity, trust, courage, power, healing. You have all of this within you.
But if it’s all jumbled up with fear and self-doubt and inner critics and limiting beliefs then… well, how do you find what you need when you need it?
And what if you’re looking for wisdom and you find it but it’s all coated in self-doubt which tends to be quite sticky and hard to remove?
Containers. They work like magic.
For example: let’s create a simple container for writing.
Start with energy clearing (Creative Dream Circle members: there’s a mini-class on this right here) because you want to be creating from a clear energy state. Like you don’t want to create a clay container with dirty hands, or else all that dirt will get into the clay.
You decide how big the container is. Twenty minutes? Two hours?
You decide where the container is. Your office? Your living room? A coffee shop?
You give it clear boundaries. Is your phone off? Door closed? Headphones on? Facebook off?
You fill it with the qualities that you need. Inspiration? Clarity? Wisdom? Creativity? What qualities best support your writing?
So, your intention builds containers. It shapes energy and creates atmospheres that support you in doing what you want to do.
You can see how building a container is a lot more supportive of your writing than just sitting down with a blank page and expecting magic to spill out of your fingers.
But building the container isn’t the whole thing.
Your participation (or, intention-in-action) holds the containers.
IE: If you build the writing container, and then when you open your computer you keep checking Facebook and then you get up and make lunch… then your container is going to dissolve.
Energy containers help you access more of the infinite possibilities that live inside you.
Imagine what would happen in your life if everything that mattered to you was in the right container!
In the physical world, this means having things be organised and safe.
Butter is stored in the fridge or in a butter keeper – not on a plate right on top of the heat vent where it will melt and drip all over the floor.
Orange juice is in a pitcher, not in dozens of small shot glasses spread out around the house.
Toothpaste is in a tube, right beside your toothbrush – not just lying in a sticky clump on the floor of your garage.
In your inner world, it means you build containers for your dreams that give them what they need to thrive and shield the from anything that would diminish them.
Out in the physical world, other people have mostly already figured out appropriate containers for you. You were born into a world where toothpaste already comes in its ideal container. And no one stores orange juice in tiny shot glasses all over the house, that would be ridiculous.
But we DO do ridiculous things when it comes to how we contain our dreams.
And then, we look at our dreams all poured out into tiny shot glasses strewn throughout the house and we think “oh this is impossible”. We trip over them, we spill them, we let the juice go all mouldy over time, we attract all sorts of bugs into our homes from all the sugar in the juice and we decide that our dreams are impossible (and messy!)
Your dreams need appropriate and nourishing containers.
Figuring out how to build and maintain these containers can be tricky business, because every dream is unique and because good sturdy containers tend to be multi-dimensional.
And then it gets really interesting when you work with living energies instead of only with your own intentions to build and hold the containers.
A living energy has its own wisdom and power and, well, energy. So it can hold things for you. Or it can hold things with you, depending on what you’re doing.
So working with living energy plus working with intentions helps you build sturdier, more helpful containers.
I mean obviously – if you don’t have to create and hold the whole container yourself, if you have help, then there is more that you can do with it. Like I can build a bookshelf by myself. But if I get some skilled people to help me I can build a whole house. Just think about that.
When it comes to dreams, the heart and soul of your dream is a living energy that can help you grow your dream in the physical world.
Qualities (like trust, compassion, creativity, love, etc,) also have essences which are living energies that can help you (for Circle members: we work with these energies in the Love Your Life Creative Journal Class, The Magic Journal Creative Journal Class and the Superpower Creative Journal Class).
There are a lot of living energies out there and they are happy to partner with you to bring your dreams to life. Living energies want to serve the evolution of life and your dream is one aspect of that evolution.
I know this sounds very abstract.
Working with energy containers is a huge topic. Right now I just want to show you how they work and give you some ideas for things to explore.
Your journal is a container. It holds the process of whatever it is you do in your journal.
Your journaling practice is another container (containers can be nested in other containers).
By being steady and consistent in your practice you strengthen your container which means your journaling practice becomes possible of more – you’ll find more insights or magic or healing or whatever it is you are journaling for. It gets easier and better and more helpful over time as your container becomes better over time.
You could also strengthen the container of your journaling practice by exploring and discovering which qualities support your practice and then finding ways to bring those qualities into your container.
You can get super creative and playful with this.
Say the qualities that support your practice are:
You play with each of these qualities and learn more about them. Say you discover that trust is blue and creativity is orange and alignment is brown and magic is violet. Then you get a blue, orange, brown and violet pens for journaling, and every time you choose a certain colour you are invoking that quality.
Or maybe there is a certain kind of tea that makes you feel these qualities so you have this tea every time you journal, imagining that you’re drinking in the qualities and invoking them in that way. Or an essential oil or candle or song…
And because you do your journaling practice to support your inner work to help you grow into the version of yourself who can bring your dreams to life, you also invite the heart and soul of your dream to help you hold the container of your practice, to nurture your practice so that it can help you bring the dream to life.
Then you’ve got another living energy building and holding the container with you.
Then the things that distract you from your dream – your limiting beliefs and inner critics – don’t feel at home in the container of your practice. So they become easier for you to spot and transform because they don’t jive with the vibe of your practice.
In other words: energy containers are a shortcut to success and magic.
While energy containers are, well, energy, you can also work with physical stuff to help create and hold them.
This is something I love about living in my Dream Loft – having lots of open space to create different kinds of spaces in.
Some days I pile up pillows and a giant bean bag and blankets into a big cushy nest so I have a nurturing, soft space when I need it. When something about my work feels hard, it helps to be doing the work in a soft space, you know?
Some days I work at my desk. Some days I work in a coffee shop.
It all depends on what kind of container I need that day in order to do my best work. Different kinds of spaces have different qualities.
When you’re thinking about how to set up the energy container of your space and not just how to physically arrange your space – then you end up with a space that nurtures and feeds the essence of your dreams.
Working with containers and building altars to your dreams collide here – your altar is a container.
The possibilities are literally endless.
Working with energy containers is a way of nurturing and harnessing your own infinite potential. Infinite potential and possibilities already live inside of you, but you’re not always able to access them because of how your inner world is structured.
Again, just think of how different your kitchen would be with NO containers. There is so much more you can do when you have the right containers and your ice cream isn’t melting all over the counter.
You can use containers to do things like:
- be more productive in less time
- find answers to questions
- access your true creative potential
- heal and transform inner issues
- develop new nourishing habits
Working with containers is how you manage and direct energy in your inner world which changes everything that happens in your outer world.
For Creative Dream Circle members: I’ve got a video on with more on creating containers that nourish and grow your dreams, right here.
Also, the Circle itself is another one of those living energies. I partner with it to create the Circle as a container that supports and nourishes your dreams. You can call on the energy of the Circle to support you in creating and holding your containers any time.
Once you start exploring and experimenting with this, all sorts of ideas are going to come to you about how to build and hold your own containers.