Inspiration Series - Month Ten
Listen To Yourself With Love
“Your state of consciousness can either grant or deny access to your inner wisdom.”
You’ve no doubt learned that living an authentic, inspired life requires you to take responsibility for your own happiness rather than hoping that people and circumstances will somehow line up in a way that pleases you. It’s about standing in your true power, suspending judgment and blame of others, and looking within yourself for direction and answers.
The inward focus is essential. You cannot hope to live a truly authentic life in the absence of deep self-connection. And yet, an inward focus can generate less-than-inspired experiences if it arises from a consciousness of fear.
When I use the word consciousness, I’m talking about your orientation. I’m talking about the underlying state of being from which your thoughts and actions originate. I’m talking about an energy field that is generated from your intention to either love yourself, or judge yourself.
I’m talking about trusting that you are an essential aspect of a whole, loving and abundant universe, or fearing that you are separate and “not enough” in an unfriendly world of scarcity.
When you operate from a fear-based level of consciousness, going within is painful, isolating and restrictive.
When you operate from a trust-based level of consciousness, going within is supportive, illuminating and expansive.
You might recognize one or more of these habits that arise from a fear-based consciousness when you’re looking within for answers:
- Trying hard to figure things out
- Analyzing things over and over
- Second-guessing yourself
- Projecting unwanted outcomes
- Worrying that you are making the “wrong” choices
These are the dynamics that exist in a trust-based consciousness:
- Following your own impulses (rather than someone else’s advice)
- Engaging in quiet contemplation and reflection to gain insights
- Asking yourself loving, growth-oriented questions
- Giving things over to your higher self
- Trusting that you’re learning and evolving each step of the way, no matter what
On the surface they appear similar: you’re going within to sort things out and make choices for yourself. Yet your experience of going within is vastly different between the two levels of consciousness.
One feels good. The other one doesn’t.
And that, quite simply, is how you can tell which state of consciousness you’re in: by the way you feel. If your inner questioning feels energizing and opens you to a sense of possibility – or if your mind is quiet and you simply sense what feels right for you to do – you’re living in love. If instead you feel anxious or frustrated or paralyzed, you’ve slipped into fear.
Slipping into fear is easy to do. But the good news is, so is opening to love.
Let me tell you about a recent experience I had of doing just that. As you probably know, I gave a talk at the 2015 TEDx Wilmington event. For me it was an incredible opportunity for growth and expansion, and it represented a significant milestone on my journey of becoming a teacher.
In other words, it was a big deal for me. And the bigger the deal, the easier it is for most of us – myself included – to go into fear about getting it “wrong.”
When the invitation to participate was sent to me, I was given a very short amount of time within which to submit a proposal for a talk. Very, very short. I went immediately into “I have to figure this out!” mode and my mind started churning. I asked myself potentially helpful questions, but the underlying energy was one of panic.
I asked myself,
“What do I love to talk about?”
“What would be most helpful for the greatest number of people to hear?”
“What is my signature message?”
“How could I narrow things down to one simple idea?”
Those questions could have been asked from a very loving, supportive place. But instead, they were asked from an underground belief that if I didn’t answer them correctly, I would blow this incredible opportunity.
The feeling of panic was my call to pause and shift gears. And that’s just what I did. I first acknowledged to myself that I had slipped into fear, and I reminded myself that fear would never get me where I wanted to go. I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths. I affirmed my intention to love myself through the experience.
After my mind quieted down, I had an impulse to review my blog posts to see if one stood out as something I could talk about in a clear, focused way. One did. I promised not to second-guess myself and created a proposal from that blog post. The post was originally titled, “Abdicating the Throne,” yet I found myself typing, “The Dark Side of Self-Improvement” as I crafted the proposal.
Since I was feeling calm as I wrote it, I once again promised not to second-guess myself and submitted the proposal with a title that, for me, was highly unusual.
A couple of weeks later, after receiving notice that my proposal had been accepted, I was given the option of changing the title of my talk. That option created an opening for fear to sidle in through the back door of my mind. It filled every available space like an expanding cloud of gas, and I went back on my promise.
I second-guessed myself.
Back and forth I went, arguing the pros and cons of that title with myself and soliciting feedback from my friends. I was ridiculously weary of the whole thing – it just seemed so hard and heavy – and that feeling was, once again, my signal to pause.
I remember I was standing in line at a mail express store at the time. In those waiting moments I acknowledged that I had slipped back into fear. I took deep breaths and reaffirmed my intention to love myself through the experience.
I said to my Large Self, “Okay, I’m giving this to you. Let me know what title you want me to use.” I smiled to myself as I stepped up to the counter to be waited on.
A few minutes later I was in the car, my mind casually reviewing the errands I needed to run next. As I backed out of the parking space, my attention was suddenly seized by the song playing on my radio: “On the dark side…oh yeah…” Bruce Springsteen warbled.
Yeah, indeed. There was my answer. I didn’t just promise not to second-guess myself, I vowed not to. I decided to trust my higher self and the clear message she had sent me.
As it turned out, that title was ideal: it provided much-needed focus as I organized my thoughts for the TEDx talk. It also generated a lot of positive feedback from listeners.
In fact, the entire experience of creating and delivering the talk was profoundly satisfying because I maintained my intention love myself through it. I paused every time I started to feel anxious so I could reaffirm that intention yet again. I practiced shifting my consciousness from fear to love, and it became easier each time.
So please, keep returning to the intention to love yourself. Practice shifting your consciousness from fear to love, again and again and again. Go within for your answers and direction – you can’t find your own wisdom anywhere else – but do it with kindness and respect.
Learn to listen to yourself with love. Your inspired, one-of-a-kind guidance can arise only from the graciousness and generosity of your heart.
- Listen to this meditation several times over the next month. Intend for each experience to be unique.
- When you have a choice to make and feel frustrated with yourself for not having figured it out yet, or worried that you’ll get it “wrong,” pause. Take a few deep breaths. Affirm your intention to listen to yourself with love. Ask your higher self to guide you, then shift your focus to something else for a while.