Posts Tagged ‘innerwork101’

How To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone.

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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.

I’ve been in a complicated place with my dreams lately.  This happens when my dreams grow and then demand that I grow to keep up with them.

So I can see this new dream ahead of me and I can feel all the ways that I’m not there yet.  Like it’s close enough that I can see it, but far enough that it’s still outside of my comfort zone.

How to get out of your comfort zone

So either I have to bring it into my comfort zone, or I have to step out of my comfort zone to meet it.

This would be simple enough except when you zoom in and see what the boundary of the comfort zone is actually made of.

How to get out of your comfort zone

Yeah.

This stuff orbits around you and your life.

When you contract to avoid it your whole life contracts.

When you expand and grow you hit up against it.

It sucks.  There is no way to sugar coat this.

Comfort zones aren’t necessarily comfortable.  They should really be called familiar zones.

But when you stay in your comfort zone out of a fear of facing that mess that makes up the boundary, you let your fear control your possibilities.

So it becomes important to figure out how to work with that boundary.

Which means you have to learn how to really be with your fear and doubt and confusion and the deep wounds within.

And then you have to learn how to bring love and calm and safety and stability into these places so that the work of healing and transformation can begin.

The important thing to remember is that this is powerful work.

As in: you are powerful for doing it.

Because as soon as you get into that boundary and start looking closer at what’s going on there you’re not going to feel powerful.  You’re going to feel like shit.

For us sensitive creative types this process seems extra-excruciating.

This is why people avoid this work even though they know it means settling for less than they want in life – because it feels awful to feel lost and small and confused and unsure and defeated.

I mean avoiding pain is a normal human instinct.

It’s very tempting to go back to avoidance and staying on the surface of things – to contracting and living within your comfort zone.  Because hey it’s better than feeling like shit, right?

But your dream is how your soul calls you towards your purpose. And it’s going to keep calling.

So this is where I’ve been lately.

People always ask me: does it get easier?

Well yes and no.

As you become more familiar with the process you develop more faith in yourself and your ability to do the work.  So then it does seem easier.

Plus the more you do this the more your boundary changes and lightens up and so healing and transformation can happen faster.

But it still feels like shit when you’re right there in it.  That part doesn’t change.

But there is a very big bright side to all of this.

I mean this is literally how you stop your fear from stopping you!

It’s how you expand your possibilities and create a brighter life for yourself.

Each time you go into the boundary and bring love and healing there you make more space for your greatness.

The last time I was in a big, long period of this shit was right around the time I moved into my Dream Loft.

I had bought this place only 6 months after quitting my job to the Creative Dream Incubator full time.  I was not sure I was totally ready for this move because I wasn’t sure yet what my income was going to be like as a business owner and the Dream Loft was going to double my monthly expenses.

But my intuition insisted that this was absolutely the right move for me and I was committed to following my intuition so there I was: scared and totally out of my comfort zone.

[Note I do NOT encourage anyone to be reckless with their finances or take unnecessary risks for their dreams.  Usually I find dreams grow best with slow, steady steps and not frightening leaps of faith.]

I had to face so many fears all at once.  It’s not just the fear of not making enough money. It’s never as simple as that.

Beneath the surface fear always hides the real fears which hit closer to home…

  • What if this fails and I feel like a miserable failure for the rest of my life?
  • What if this fails and it means I’m not good enough?
  • What if this fails and I lose my house and wind up on the streets and no one cares?
  • What if it turns out I was really stupid for ever believing in myself?

Sitting with these questions feels like shit.

For a while there, pretty much every single day I got all tangled up all of these fears.

But over time I got a handle on it.  I started to shift my limiting beliefs and un-helpful patterns.  I started to create space for new possibilities.

That is when I really got to know myself as a person who trusts herself to support herself and her dreams.

Before then I believed in possibilities.  I believed that I had purpose and that it included sharing my creativity with the world somehow.

But my income had always come from jobs.  Any time I had tried to create my own income with my art and creative ideas – I had flopped.

I didn’t know how to financially support myself with my creativity.

And I took a bunch of business classes and I had built up my business before I had left my job…

But I also had to go through this inner process of growing into this version of my who fully trusts herself to support herself and her dreams.

It’s been over five years since that happened.  And in that time I have been steady in my trust of myself.  And my business has steadily supported me all that time.

I mean I don’t ALWAYS trust myself – everything gets off balance sometimes.  But I get back to trust quickly now.  Trusting myself became my set-point, it’s what I naturally come back to.

It works this way for all dreams.

For example after being single for over a decade I went through a similar process before meeting my partner.

I am going through it again as we deepen and solidify our commitment to each other and figure out what kind of life we want to create together.

But this isn’t about me.

What about you?

Where does your comfort zone have you stuck and playing small?  When you feel like shit do you give up on your dreams?

Because your dream is how your soul calls you towards your purpose. And it’s going to keep calling.

And you’re never going to fully give up, right?

You’re here to share your gifts with the world, right?

So the important thing is to not give up when things get hard. Stay with it.

And as ridiculous as it sounds, this is what helps with that: remember that it’s supposed to feel shitty sometimes.

Feeling shitty about yourself and your dreams is not a sign that you’re on the wrong path.  It’s a sign that you’re facing your fears.

Also: it doesn’t have to make sense.  After you’ve moved further down the path you’ll look back and it will make sense then.  It won’t make sense while you’re in it.

The simple 2-step process to keep moving and get out of your comfort zone:

1. Do your best to meet with your dreams and give them what they need to grow.  

2. As you do this stay with the feelings that come up and learn how to bring healing and transformation to them so you can access your inner gifts and ability to bring your dreams to life.

Simple.  But not easy.

Your dream will grow you.  And in the end, after you’ve moved through all the shitty stuff, you’ll be glad it did.

Feeling like it would take a miracle? You’re in luck!

Project Miracle is for people who believe in the magic of their dreams and are ready for something to change.

It’s a 30 day Choose-Your-Own-Adventure creative support groups for making change happen.

Find out more + grab your spot today.

 

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Inner Work 101: How To Handle Fear, Self-Doubt + Uncertainty

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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.

How To Handle Fear, Self-Doubt + Uncertainty

This is the main thing people ask me about, which  makes sense because it’s the main that that holds people back from going after their dreams.

And the answer is always the last thing that anyone wants to hear: the only way out is through.

When you avoid feeling the terror of your fear or the pain of your self-doubt then you avoid moving through it.

Which  means you avoid moving forward.  You avoid your dream.

Most of the time, people are looking for a way AROUND it, not through it.

So they’re asking: how do I stop feeling afraid? How do I avoid my self-doubt?

But the only way to get there is to be with the pain.

On why you have to deal with your shit before you can have your dream:

People hit a point on the path to their dream where they feel fear or pain or doubt and they think something is wrong.  That they made a mistake or this doesn’t really work or something because it’s all supposed to feel good, right?

Wrong.

It’s supposed to feel exactly how it feels.

And when you ignore/avoid/stuff your feelings you hold them where they are.  You freeze them inside you and you keep freezing them inside you until they turn to stone.

Those stones turn into walls that force you to live inside their boundaries.

Living inside their boundaries keeps you from having to feel the feeling you don’t want to feel – because you’re numb to it.

But living inside their boundaries also keeps you from expanding your creativity and potential.  It keeps you from hearing your inner wisdom.  It keeps you from your dreams.

It keeps you numb and stuck.

Most of the time, you’re doing this in totally unconscious ways.

 

I know I spent many years convinced that it wasn’t me.

I didn’t have my dream because it’s hard out there and people don’t support artists the way they should and I didn’t have enough money or time and that I was doing the best I could it just wasn’t possible for me to have what I really wanted.

As long as I was in those excuses of course there was no way for me to create the path that led to the life I wanted to be living, the one I live now.

I was working with a client who has been through a lot of shit in her life.

As we started working together to build a path that led to a more optimistic, expansive, creative and joyful way of living, we started to clear the shit that was in the way – the old wounds full of pain and grief and hurt.

First, I asked her to sit with her pain.  To write about it and make art about it and just sit quietly with it.

This was to help to untangle the energy patterns that kept her from facing all of these hard feelings, so that we could re-wire those energy patterns to aim her towards her goal.

Of course we’d all rather skip this part but this is the first step, being with the pain.

So I asked her to sit with the pain and really tend to it as best she could.  And you know what happened?  She kept discovering new layers and levels of pain.

It was awful.

It’s like little trap doors kept opening up and leading to new rooms of hurt feelings and grief and sadness and broken dreams.

But my intuition has never been wrong when it comes to this kind of work and my intuition kept urging me to keep urging her to stay the path.  And so she went deeper and deeper into her grief and pain.

And you know what?

It took time, but as she kept doing her best to tend to the pain she started to heal.

The ground softened beneath her.

The sun started to shine.  Dimly at first and then brighter later.

She got really good at tending to her pain.

Not obliterating it or avoiding it or throwing it someone else or making sure she never feels it again.  Tending to it.  Taking care of it without letting it take over.

And over the course of this process her inner landscape shifted.

The ground is softer the sun shines brighter and possibilities abound.

When pain comes in it doesn’t take over.  There is space for pain.  There is space for love.  There is space for creativity and magic.

Possibilities bloom.  There is space for dreams now that wasn’t there before.

Not to be a downer or anything but you’ll probably never stop experiencing fear, self-doubt or uncertainty.

That’s not the goal of inner work.

The goal is to stop letting that stuff stop you from being who you want to be and doing what you want to do.

To get better at allowing your actual feelings and being with your actual experience.

This allows you to inhabit your inner world more deeply.

When this happens you’re also connected to all the good stuff in there: your inner gifts and intuition and power.  The stuff that brings dreams to life.

Feeling like it would take a miracle? You’re in luck :)

Project Miracle is for people who believe in the magic of their dreams and are ready for something to change.

It’s a 30 day Choose-Your-Own-Adventure creative support groups for making change happen.

Find out more + grab your spot today.

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Balance is Bullshit. Real Self-Care Strategies for Highly Sensitive People with Big Dreams.

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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.

balance is bullshit
Creating balance can feel like an impossible dream, or a never-ending task, because it is both of those things.

Balance has a crappy energy to it.

Ugh.  I’ve just spent all day writing and re-writing this part.  It keeps coming out way too crabby.  The truth is, I am anti-balance.

The only times in my life when I have been “super balanced” are the times when I was playing small, denying my real dreams and settling for less than what I actually wanted.

Sure I was balanced but no it wasn’t worth it.

Life is messy.  Dreams are messy.  You’re not always going to feel balanced and on top of everything.  That’s ok.  Actually a lot of growth happens in those messy un-balanced places.

So, if you can let go of wanting balance all the time – that’s really helpful.

On the other hand, always feeling like things are out of control and like you can’t balance it all is not healthy and won’t nurture you or your dreams.

So, you need to be balanced in your need for balance.  Sometimes you’ll have it, sometimes you won’t.

Balance is precarious.

The energy of the word balance always makes me think of balancing on a balance beam.   It feels awesome when you get it right but the threat of falling is always right there.

What is it that you want, when you say you want to be more balanced?

Take that question into your journal and really explore it.

For me, I want stability.  The quality of stability feels grounding and helpful and safe for me.  I want to feel stable in my life and in my dreams.

So I work with stability, not balance.  For you it may be a different quality.  Once you know that, then ask yourself:

What is it that you need, in order to feel balanced/stable/whatever quality you come up with?

Spend a lot of time with it in your journal.  Go deep with this.  Write out everything that comes to mind, even if it’s super impossible.

For me, it’s actually really simple.

I need to be organised for life to feel balanced or stable.  In fact being super organised helps me be more present and free – not just more balanced and stable.

Rushing to meet deadlines destroys my sense of stability so I don’t do it.  I plan everything out so that I’m working on things wayyyy in advance of actually needing them to be done and keep lots of empty space in my schedule.

This gives me a lot of freedom to handle unexpected things that come up.

And it gives me the space to be actually present with myself and my actual needs in the moment – I don’t have to put that aside to meet a deadline.

And it means I can take full advantage of those times when my creative energy is high and I want to work a lot.

I’ve experimented a lot with this stuff over the years and this is what really works for me.

What actually works doesn’t necessarily “look” balanced.

We all have stories about what a perfect, balanced life would look like.  Those stories are mostly bullshit.

For me, it means working 12 hours a day sometimes, and 2 hours a day other times.

It means having routines that change with the seasons, which includes adjustment periods at the beginning of each new season where I feel off.

There will always be trade-offs.

Part of why our culture has such a problem with balance is that we tend to want to have it all and balancing it all is hard.

Stability, simplicity and spaciousness are important to me, so I keep them as my priorities.

I say no to a lot of projects and opportunities.

I say no to a lot of my own ideas, if they’ll take up more energy than I feel comfortable giving them.

I don’t do a lot of things I could be doing to make my business bigger.

And I am really happy with the choices I’ve made.  It doesn’t feel like settling, it feels like clarity, freedom and my perfect-fit life.

When I moved into my Dream Loft, I did a LOT of work simplifying my life.  I got rid of 1/2 of all of my things (the Dream Loft is big, but has no closets).  I thought very super carefully about my stuff and about how I wanted to live and about what kind of stuff would support me in living how I wanted to live: with stability, simplicity and spaciousness.

My life is very thoughtfully set up to create stability.  Yes this took a lot of time and it was totally worth it.

Luckily, there is a secret magic shortcut.

So creating balance is about trying to fit all the different things you want/need into your life in such a way that feels good.

Referring back to what I wrote in the How Change Works post – that kind of stuff happens on the surface.  It’s really just about shuffling puzzle pieces around to try to get it all to fit.

Meanwhile you have all this power and magic beneath the surface.

So in a way, focusing on balance can be a bit of a trap that leaves you constantly chasing something you can never really hold onto.

But focusing on being happy and fulfilled and connected to your inner gifts makes you stronger and more capable – BIGGER.

Which means you can hold more and do more.

Some of the balance stuff that seems to hard when you’re staying on the surface becomes really easy when you’re more rooted in your depths.

This has been my strategy as a highly sensitive business owner: the more I focus on nourishing self-care, the more I can do because I am more connected to my inner gifts.

When I focus too much on managing my time better and balancing it all then I wind up frustrated and overwhelmed because that leaves me feeling like there’s too much on my plate, no matter how much is actually there.

Because it’s all about where you are focused.

In other words: it doesn’t matter how much is on my plate, all that matters is how I feel about my plate.

Some things that are helpful for this:

1. Do the things that light you up. Every day.

Self-care practices really need to be daily practices to keep your tanks full.  (This is why I share my bike rides and picnics and other adventures on my Instagram – as reminders of the delight of making self-care a daily priority)

2. Learn more about what you need.

Ask yourself “What do I need right now?” and sit with it until an answer comes.  It’s normal to not know what you want at first, the more you practice this the better you’ll get.

3. Be honest.

It’s amazing how much we lie to ourselves about how we feel.  If something isn’t OK for you, tell the truth.  If it’s too hard to tell other people at least tell yourself the truth about how you feel and what you want.  Remember that your attitude creates the energy atmosphere that you live in.  “I don’t want this but I’m doing it because I don’t know what else to do right now” is better than trying to convince yourself you’re ok with doing something when really you’re not.

4. Remember that your perspective is not The Truth and be willing to change it.

Like, if it makes sense to you that your self-care needs should always come last – change your perspective on that!  Question your beliefs.  Explore your inner world.  Inner work is magic and it’s amazing how much you can change your beliefs and attitudes which changes how you see the world which changes what is possible for you.  (See the How Change Works post for more on this)

5. Get creative about how you create your life.

If you’re filling your life up with stuff you don’t really want to be doing, stop it.  Your dreams and your happiness are more important.  You are a creative GENIUS and there is always a way to do things differently. (You may need to work on #4 in order to be able to do this)

Not that I am always super successful at this but this is my aim.

This means really diving in an exploring what’s going on so I can find ways to get what I need while doing what I need to do.

For example: I am highly sensitive and very introverted – so much so that just getting a lot of email is overwhelming for me.  But I run an online business. I get a lot of email.

So it’s just email.  I can pretend that it’s not a big deal to take care of it and then get all burnt out, putting my dreams and well-being in jeopardy while I do it.

Or I can be honest.

I can look at how I feel when I get “email overwhelm” and what happens in my personal and work lives when I am in overwhelm.

I can remember that I get to choose my perspective and that “I have to do all this email in order to have a successful online business” is not an idea I have to accept as my own truth.

I know I can always hire an assistant to help.  And I can get creative and look at other options.

So I meditate and journal and explore. I meet up with various inner critics and limiting beliefs that keep this situation all tangled up.

In this case, my explorations led me to a different solution: Zendesk.

I’ve had over 7,000 people go through my free e-course.  I simply cannot offer each of them customer service support!  But I did want them to get answers to their questions!

No wonder I felt overwhelmed about it.  So, I used Zendesk to set up a self-serve help centre that answers the questions people have about the course.

And my Zendesk means if people don’t see the answer in the help centre I can send them the answer with just 1 click. So I can just zoom through those kinds of emails and people get the answers they need without me going into overwhelm over it.

If you’re too quick to go into compromise-mode to create balance, you can lose out on finding a perfect solution.

Before I really sat with how I was feeling about email overwhelm I was sabotaging my business growth without being aware of what I was doing.

And that makes sense – I am really sensitive so I will avoid overwhelm whenever possible.

And if I have never taken the time to explore what was really going on I’d still be doing that.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to really explore what’s going on in your inner world before taking action in the outer world – if you go right into action mode you are acting out of your limiting beliefs.

You are a creative GENIUS after all.  And genius trumps balance every time.

There is always a way for you to create a perfect solution.

The key is to not put your energy into “creating balance”, instead put your energy into creating a life that nourishes you and your dreams.

Which means being really committed to creating the life you want and taking an active role in creating it, every day – living from your genius.

Some days that will feel balanced and some days it will not.  It’s definitely messier than being all balanced all the time, but more fulfilling.

 

Feeling like it would take a miracle? You’re in luck :)

Project Miracle is for people who believe in the magic of their dreams and are ready for something to change.

It’s a 30 day Choose-Your-Own-Adventure creative support groups for making change happen.

Find out more + grab your spot today.

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Inner Work 101: Resistance. The real reason why you don’t already have what you want [And what to do about it]

resistance: the real reason why you don't already have what you want
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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.

resistance: the real reason why you don't already have what you want

I know you’ve got big obstacles in your way (like a lack of time, money or support) as well as places that trip you up (like self-doubt, procrastination and fear).

But you’re a creative genius so those things are all figure-out-able.

In fact – facing and transforming the obstacles is how you create the path.  (I explain how that works in Inner Work 101: How Change Works.)

So if facing and transforming the obstacles is how you create the path then having obstacles is good because it gives you something to work with – raw material for building bricks for your yellow brick road.

So the obstacles are not what’s holding you back.

The thing that holds you back is your resistance to facing the obstacles.

Resistance is a sticky/tricky thing to work with.  It can show up in a LOT of different ways, for example:

  • being too busy for the things that matter to you
  • boredom
  • procrastination
  • deciding that your dream is impossible
  • waiting for “the right time”
  • a popular way for women is to be too busy taking care of everyone else to have any time or energy left for your own dreams and then feeling like you HAD to do all of that
  • going along with what other people want you to do instead of making time for your dreams
  • avoidance patterns, for example: over-spending and then getting so stressed out about money you have no energy to focus on your dreams

Resistance is so hard to see for what it is because it’s an energy pattern that you live inside. So it’s not true but it feels true.

This is resistance’s superpower, it gets you to stay in it because it convinces you that it’s true.

Like the Wizard of Oz trying to look like something he’s not, your resistance tells you that that’s an immovable brick wall ahead of you, you can’t go there, don’t even bother.  And as long as you listen – you don’t go there.

But that brick wall is mostly smoke and mirrors.  At its worse, it’s still climbable.

When you’re in resistance you’re caught in a lie (like I talk about in the How Change Works post) which means you’re totally disconnected from your power.

And you can’t come back into your power until you tell yourself the truth: you’re not waiting for the right time, you’re in resistance.

I’d rather pretend that I’m too busy than face my fear of failure. 

So when you can remember that facing and transforming the obstacles is how you create the path then you are free to choose: get to work building bricks or to keep telling yourself a lie about why you can’t move forward right now.

My rule of thumb is that if I’m not doing what I want to be doing I assume I’m in resistance.

And I do find myself in resistance often.  I decided to write about it today because I am in it pretty hard.

What I do with resistance is meet with it and then work with it to transform it (Creative Dream Circle members: I do this using the process from the Un-Sticking Station).

This is how it works:

Hello, resistance.

My resistance shows up as a small, smooth grey rock, nestled in my hand.

I feel optimistic about this, as some days my resistance shows up as a monster or a mountain – things that feel big and strong and like they are going to crush me.

I beam love at the rock and ask it what it wants.

After a few minutes, the rock cracks in 2 and a small worm crawls out.  The worm feels familiar.

It crawls up my arm to whisper in my ear: I want to feel loved.

I gently pick it up and put it back in my hands.  “I do love you.  You are so sweet and smooshy and green and lovely.  What’s not to love?”

But as I do this I can see the problem.

This small, shy part of me who wants to feel loved doesn’t belong in the land of this project I want to be working on (aka: The Thing I Am Resisting Working On This Morning).

Because then I’d be doing my work in order to feel loved, instead of doing my work in order to serve.

You see the difference?  When you do your work to get your personal needs met the energy between you and your project gets very messy very fast.  This approach doesn’t give your creative potential solid ground to grow from so you’re not going to do your best work.  Being tied to external approval in that way freezes and shrinks your creative genius.

This little worm does not belong in the rock.

It belongs in the jungles of my heart where there are branches to play on and leaves to eat and sunshine and soft warm earth to burrow in.  This little worm can find healing there.

When I look back in the land of my project, I can see that the rock was jamming up the gears of inspiration and magic and bringing all productivity and momentum to a halt.

It’s important not to fight any of the beings that live in your inner world.  In the spirit of wholeness, everything belongs.

It’s just that some things can wind up in the wrong place, and it’s your job to keep everything in the right place.

(This is why fighting your inner critic doesn’t work – that actually only makes it fight harder against you and your dreams.)

So I put the worm into the jungles of my heart, the rock disintegrated because it was never real (it was just a hiding place for the frightened worm) and the gears of inspiration and magic started turning again.

And now here I am, in the land of happy productivity.

This is how it works.  When you face your resistance you transform it.

The story that unfolds when I meet my resistance is different every time.  The characters are different every time.

But the thing that is the same every time is that there is always a way to move forward.  Always.

(Whenever you feel certain that you can’t move forward right now, this is a sign that you are in resistance.)

Working with resistance is the main thing I do.  It’s like how I have to cut out the fabric before I can sew my clothes.  It’s the foundation that makes the dream work possible.

I created the Un-Sticking Station in the Creative Dream Circle to meet and transform resistance and obstacles as quickly as possible.   I use it almost every day because the faster I face the resistance and do this work, the faster I can get to work building my dreams.

As far as I can tell, you don’t have a choice about whether or not to have resistance – we all have it.  But you can choose whether or not you’re going to allow it to control you and dim your dreams. You can practice and get better at transforming resistance and that will make all the difference.

Feeling like it would take a miracle for you to break through your resistance? You’re in luck!

Project Miracle is for people who believe in the magic of their dreams and are ready for something to change.

It’s a 30 day Choose-Your-Own-Adventure creative support groups for making change happen.

Find out more + grab your spot today.

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How To Change ANYTHING In Your Life

How change actually works: an illustrated guide
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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.

How change actually works: an illustrated guide

Most people focus on trying to change what’s happening outside of them… they focus less on changing and more on getting their dream house or dream job or dream spouse or whatever.

That’s not that the kind of change I’m talking about here.

What I want to talk about is change that starts, and happens, inside of you.  And then it ripples out to effect your outer life.

So instead of grasping at the things you want and never quite feeling like you deserve them even when you get them, or having to work your ass off to keep them, you evolve into a person who can easily create and hold what you want in your world.

This is how to change your life in ways that bring you more joy and help you live in a way that feels true.

I talk about dreams a lot but it’s never about the outer thing!  It’s always about this sense of creating a life that feels true to you.

Growing into who you really are.

 

Your radiant core self

So we’ll start there.  With who you really are: Creative Genius.

This is you as infinite love, infinite wisdom, infinite delight, infinite creativity, and infinite power.

This is your inner self and your infinite gifts and your infinite inner resources.

The key word here is infinite.  This is where everything is possible for you.

This is your inner self.

This is who you are but you probably don’t live here…

Your conscious self: who you think you are

If you’re a human, this is where you live: Your Conscious Self.

Your personality, your body, your behaviours, your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

These are the stories you live.

These are not necessarily all true, but they feel true and you live as though they are true, and this limits the infinite possibilities that live at the core of who you are.

This is your outer self.

So why are your inner self and outer self separate?

If you have infinite power and all that other stuff… where is it?

Well, it’s hidden under a layer of crap, like this:

circles of self

This layer of crap is your fears, doubts, inner critics, limiting beliefs, sad stories you picked up along the way.

While your inner core is infinite and powerful and radiant… when it shines through this layer of crap it becomes distorted.   This is how you get cut off from your gifts.

And then you buy into a much smaller story about who you really are and what life really is what is actually possible for you.

I drew it like this to simplify it so you can see the relationships between these different aspects of you.

The truth is much more complex as you are a multi-dimensional being.

This is why sometimes you can feel so full of possibilities and so sure of yourself, and then other times you feel defeated and scared.

You, your actual being, is infinite.  But you, your conscious self, can only be focused in one place at a time.  And wherever you are focused is activated and magnified so it becomes what feels most true to you in that moment.

What feels true isn’t necessarily true.

When you’re stuck in that layer of crap your feelings are real and valid and deserve being tended to.  But that doesn’t mean that the stories your feelings are telling you are true.  Like – this will never work, no one cares, it’s impossible.

The beings that live in your layer of crap are wise, in a way.  I mean they’re good at spinning stories that feel both compelling and true.  Their aim is to keep you there, believing the story.

Until you question those stories, nothing can ever really change.

I mean you can have more money but still feel stressed out about money.  You can get married but still feel alone inside.  You can be selling your art all around the world and feel not good enough.

Often getting what you want on the outside without questioning your stories only makes life more uncomfortable.

But it’s so hard to question your stories because they feel like your truth.  You live inside them.

It’s really very Matrix-like.

So much so that only people who already understand what I’m talking about are going to understand what I’m saying here.

You have to have the experience of noticing that you’re living in an un-true story before you really see any of this.  But once you’ve had it happen once you can extrapolate and start to look at where this is happening in other parts of your life.  That’s when you activate your inner power to change anything you want to change.

This is so complex and hard to navigate.

Dreams make it easier.

Your dreams are true.  They come from your core.

(Of course some dreams are pure ego but if you start to work on them in the ways I teach you’ll wind up more deeply connected to your core self and your dreams will shift accordingly.  So there is never a “wrong dream” to follow.)

Your dreams come from your core and are a part of your genius.  Your dreams are how you express your genius.

Traveling around the world in a sailboat, opening up a knitting cafe, showing your art, building your own home… these are ways of showing up in the world as your actual, true, core self.

So the way out of living in a story that is not true is to trust that your dream is true.

This is why I say that your dream is a lighthouse calling you home.  It’s how your soul guides you along your path.

So, bringing a dream to life – aka creating change – is about this journey of wholeness.  Of moving closer to the core of who you really are, and clearing up the distortions of the un-true stories that your inner critics have been spinning.

Of course there will also be work to be done in the outer world… you do not meditate your way to a dream come true.

But when the inner work is effectively done, the outer work becomes very clear and possible.  You just take one step at a time towards your dream.  When the outer work starts to feel exhausting and frustrating and confusing that means it’s time to focus on inner work.

This applies to ALL dreams, and to ALL types of change you can create in your life.

So how do you actually do this?

here

magic

So all you have to do is dig into the layer of crap that has accumulated between you (where you live) and you (who you really are).

Then you find you magic..

Then you can access your infinite resources to do whatever you want…

Are you starting to see the problem?

Digging into the layer of crap means facing the layer of crap.  This is exactly what no one wants to do.  We prefer to face away from the crap.

But facing away from the crap means facing away from your power and creativity and wisdom and ALL OF YOUR GIFTS.

So your first step is to face towards the crap, grab a shovel, and start digging.

This little nested drawing I’m using is actually multi-dimensional because you are multi-dimensional.

So in some parts of your life you are more in touch with your true amazing self.

And in other parts of your life the layer of muck is just too big and your inner light gets all distorted.

Like maybe you are gorgeously and powerfully expressing your creative genius through your art but you cower and hide when it comes to doing the work of making a living from it.

Or maybe you’re a fantastic leader when it comes to coaching your son’s soccer team but at work you’re kind of a doormat and don’t know how to speak up to your bully of a boss.

You are multi-dimensional.  There is so much to discover about how your inner genius and your limiting patterns interact.

Really!  Take this into your journal and explore it.

In the first example I mentioned above about the artist who can’t sell their art (since I get a LOT of questions about this!) it’s not that it’s harder to sell art than it is to make art.

It’s just that you are living in a story that makes it harder for you.

Your beliefs have you all tangled on the inside so even though you’re doing everything you can to sell your art in the outer world – you mostly wind up going in circles and not really getting anywhere.  Your light is distorted.

So you have to change those inner beliefs before you’re going to be able to act in effective ways in the outer world.

You have to dig into that layer of crap and create some new, clear pathways for your genius to shine through.

You have to write a new story for your life.

It’s not your fault that you have those limiting beliefs (accumulating the layer of crap just happens naturally and in ways that are mostly out of our control) but it is your responsibility to change them.

This is how inner work creates outer change.

As you uncover and transform your limiting beliefs you’ll start to see things differently in the outer world.  You’ll have access to more of your infinite sources of courage and energy and creativity and genius.

So then you’ll start to act differently.

And those actions will lead you towards what you want.

Every time you do even a little bit of this work you open up a new pathway that allows your inner core to shine out into your outer world, well you let more of your inner genius radiate out.

Inner genius has power to it.  As it lights up the pathway it actually will melt some of the crap at the edges of the path, so over time your pathways will grow larger and more and more of your inner genius will shine out.

The distortions will shrink and your light will shine more brightly and your life will start to be more true to who you really are.

It’s not easy work but it’s the worthwhile work.

And over time small changes can add up together to create miracles because your inner genius is capable of, literally, anything.

So it all comes down to what direction you choose to face in.

Facing outward keeps you rooted in your current state – inside whatever sad stories and limiting beliefs you happen to be carrying.

Facing inward is much more uncomfortable at first (because it’s easy to not know just how awful that layer of crap is when you’re busy ignoring it) but if you stay with it, it leads to everything you want.

This is why hard times are always an opportunity for change.

When you’re upset about something it’s actually an opportunity to get more clarity on the un-true stories you’re living in because the story is magnified for you in that moment.

So if you follow the thought that has you upset it will lead you to a story you’re telling yourself.  Once you see the story you can change it.

What also helps: calling in a miracle!

Project Miracle is for people who believe in the magic of their dreams and are ready for something to change.

It’s a 30 day Choose-Your-Own-Adventure creative support groups for making change happen.

Find out more + grab your spot today.

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Inner Work 101: Working With Energy Containers for Success + Magic

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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.

 

Working With Energy Containers for Success + Magic

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.

Your dream, for example, is a living energy (for Creative Dream Circle members: I explain this in Module 2 of the Creative Dream Incubator e-course here.)

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.

Another example:

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:

  • trust
  • creativity
  • alignment
  • magic

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.

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