I wrote this piece a year ago on 15th of September 2017 while I was deeply healing and struggling with the integration piece in my life, work, and relationships. It’s a time I was deeply in the cave face-to-face with my feelings of overwhelm with my own shadows and healing edges, searching for the pieces of myself worth reclaiming and integrating in the next iteration, and sitting with the discomfort of not quite being in alignment. It first appeared on my personal Facebook wall here. I’ve since polished it and added more detail in the steps of alignment.
I stand by my point that every single one of us has a calling to fulfill. I stand by my point that we must do the work we were born to do, if we wish to find sustainable peace, satisfaction and contentment.
However, it's not an easy journey. Or a straightforward one.
Of course, not all of us have the time, resources, support and comfort to be able to follow our calling and live on purpose, but that does not mean it’s not worthwhile or unattainable or we should give up.
There are significant hurdles to this especially if you are marginalized or in any 'othered' category, or have more than one margin, it's likely to be more difficult.
Healing is matter of opportunity
It requires tenacity and courage. But it also requires support.
See, living with this type of daily marginalization, causes deep wounds. But healing them is not straightforward. 'Healing,' as, Hippocrates said,' is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity'. In the daily, almost moment to moment barrage, it's hard to find a spare moment to do this healing and integration work.
The healing is not to change the systems of oppression and inequality necessarily. That is the job of the oppressors, the elite, the ones in power. Yet with each moment of healing, reclaiming, and integrating reduces the shadow of us all.
But what can be done?
In my opinion, each person’s process to find their alignment and move into integration is unique to them and their process. And each point of transition in our lives brings new challenges and needs new perspectives and skills. That being said, I have found stages in the process that many of us go through on our way to realignment.
First, we must find our internal realignment.
It is a deeply personal process of remembering who you are, before the conditioning, trauma, and memes changed your perception and covered up your truth and power. This includes a rediscovering of who you are, your why, your calling and your potential. Looking deeply at your hardwiring and your unique design, voice, and needs. Also, much of this reclamation process is dependent on your unique set of priorities and situation at any given moment.
This stage in the process is often marked with feelings of confusion, self-doubt, hesitation, loneliness and uncertainty with moments of intense clarity and vision. It’s a realization that life is not quite what you were hoping or needing it to be and a sense to find a different path. It can often be slow and inward focused, though for some external change or upheaval can instigate the process.
Though there are literally hundreds of tools to help find clarity on reclamation, the ones that help almost everyone are those that lift the veil into our shadows. We hold a light to our wounds and lean in to what is present for us.
Transformation is the second step.
The next is a process of deep transformation. It is often as we look into the role of biology (epigenetics), ancestral wounds, programming and conditioning. Unpacking each element and its lasting influence in your life. Finding the triggers, the pain, the shadow, and your fears. Deprogramming at a deep level. It's the real work.
This stage often feels like a dark night of the soul. It often resembles the cocoon stage of the butterfly where the body of the caterpillar liquifies and the imaginal cells of the newly forming butterfly grow. We may seek help at this stage and there is often a need to really get grounded. It the stage where many layers of changes are happening, often below the surface. Your internal light shines into the depths of darkness.
And the last stop is (re)integration.
Where we transcend the programming and rewrite the scripts that limited us. It is owning your power in a new way. A new-found confidence and self-assurance emerges. It's seeing the world and your situation as it is and getting on with your calling. The translation of turning vision into reality, clarity of action, and integrating purpose with day-to-day life and expression. We often find peace and connection. It’s the process of ‘Aligned. Meaning. Impact.’ brought to life.
We often toggle between steps two and three often as we see the programming, release it, and integrate your new findings into your life, work, and relationships. Learning to center yourself is tough work. Having the uncomfortable conversations is not a cake walk. Overcoming internal resistance is not easy. Staying true to your north star is hard during the storms.
This does not mean that the oppressive systems will disappear or that it is fully your job to dismantle them. It means facing the day with courage and acting with integrity. As we heal and come into alignment, we undo the internalized oppression and heal the oppressor within, so we become less harmful and more aligned in all we do.
In this piece by Leesa Renee Hall on her blog post titled: The Real Reason Why Self Published Books Are Not Giving Authors Instant Credibility Overnight, she references my original piece.
Image: Archer wearing traditional Mongolian clothing leaning over a bow in a field.
Image Credit: Anand Tumurtogoo via Unsplash.
One of the places that our power is dissipated is through forgetting and losing our cultural context and identity. Reclaiming who you are, your whole self is crucial to the journey to your power.
Our culture in the western world is difficult to maintain. The indigenous cultures are by and large ignored, destroyed while the dominant 'culture' or lack of culture is maintained. In this context, we've forgotten who we really are. A big part of recovering this is finding our ancestral nature as humans and our cultural identity.
We push our physical movements into the small space of counting our steps or going to the gym. But ancestral movement was varied and overall more 'nutritious' like squatting, carrying water, foraging and hunting and farming. It included building, entertainment, defence.
Our foods have become morphed by processing, with the interest of increasing shelf life and profitability, not nutritional status, environmental sustainability, or fair living wages for workers. Instead our ancestors, lived from the land, they understood the cycles of time, the nuances of the connectivity of living things and natural cycles. Foods would have been local, nutritionally dense, and valued--nothing thrown away.
Family life was not just limited to the nuclear family and relatives for national holidays, it was a way of life. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins were all a part of everyday life: child care, cooking, education, were shared responsibilities. Also protection, food, and connection were for the benefit of all in the tribe.
Education was not merely sitting in a school room with a book. But was varied, the school room was the foraging done with a mother, the babysitting done by a cousin or older sibling, the hunting of game, the learning of farming and subsistence with your community, the passing on of teachings through oral stories, songs, traditions and dancing.
In these and in hundreds of other ways, we have allowed ourselves to be sold a lie, a manufactured, easy, shadow version of who we are as people, as individuals, as a collective. It's no longer wonder that we have collectively lost our ways. It's not taught, not role modelled and purposely dismissed in the mainstream culture. But that is our true nature.
Instead of culture being separated by a music appreciation class in school or an evening at the theatre, or an 'ethnic' dinner out with friends or a Zumba dance class, let's make it a part of our everyday.
We have externalized our culture, just like we have externalized our utilities, our movement, our entertainment, our relationships, our food, our labor, our identities and our education. It's time to integrate them back into our very essence. Recovering yourself in these ways is not only essential but transformative.
Before you leap into this, get very clear on who you are and where you came from. By this, I do not mean merely your culture, ethnicity, race or location. I mean, where we came from as humans. What you stand for as a person. Why you're here now. What is the greater meaning to your life.
Yes, parts of our own personal histories and herstories have been lost, just as those of the collective and the marginalized. Yet, they can be recovered. It's easier to do that now before they truly do disappear. Start by dipping your toe.
Beyond the personal, you can find out about your relations, your family, your heritage. You can learn the language of your ancestors, if it indeed still exists. You can recover the art, drama, dance, and creative expressions. You can rediscovery native foods, flavors, textures, garb and fragrances. You can allow yourself to learn the old ways, the old stories, the old movements.
It's a bold move and one that centers your life around you, instead of in the dominant culture that alienates you and separates you from community and yourself.
Take the courageous steps to rediscover who you are.
A magnet has the power to realign molecules to their true north.
When exposed to heat, some metals lose their magnetic quality, each molecule acting higgledy-piggledy and pointing in random directions.
Rubbing a magnet along the metal, realigns the molecules and once again they point true north, lining up with the magnet's field.
Just like that, heat in the form of stress, oppression, injustice, and experiences can help us to forget our own alignment.
Alignment with who you are, with why you are here, with the patterns and nuances of your life and experience, with your strengths and gifts, and your spiritual nature. Discovering or rediscovering who you are is a gift, a treasure. Being in alignment with your true nature bolsters you in times of change or stress.
When you know who you are, what you stand for, and focus on your priorities, things become simpler. You know exactly what your boundaries are. You know what you came here to do and tune out all else. You know clearly who and what to ally with and who to distance yourself from. You remember your life's work. You can recontextualize your life accordingly in times of strive or change. Keeping your eyes on your priorities and what you are here to do.
What you're here to do does make a difference. Can change the world. But it's crucial to not get swept away by the agendas of others and stuck in your old patterns.
Welcome to your life. That challenge that keeps showing up in a myriad of ways won't go away. It's not here for you to strategize your way out of. It's not here to mock you. It's not here to limit you.
It's here to learn from. To overcome, rewrite, reframe.
It reminds you, grounds you in your reality. As you learn to rise above, you take your life back into your own hands. You concentrate your power around yourself.
At times of flux, it's good to hang on to that north star and realign with yourself. Not much else might be there that is true and static, but who you are remains. That is real. That can guide you and keep you safe on turbulent waters.
When people work with me in the Discover services, they say that I realign them. That I bring a light into their darkness. That it's like I open a window when the doors were closing. It's a window cleaning that allows their light to shine out into the depths. They see, with clarity, who they are, why they came and resolve and inspiration to make forward progress. For the first time in a while, they are seeing the truth, with eyes wide open. They see the struggles before them in a new way.
A new confidence emerges. Doubts, overwhelm, loneliness, and struggles remain but start to fade. A new perspective and insight emerges. A lightness. A channel of power. A newfound self-respect and inner knowing emerges. A liberation of identification with struggle and disempowerment, but a generative energy to lean into the possibilities and identification with their calling.
Is it time to rediscover your truth and realign with your calling? Check out our discover services.
There is little doubt that our world has come out of balance.
There is perfection in this too. What can it show you? What can it show us, as a member of humanity?
You were born for times like these.
Suffering and conflict are impacting the world.
Here you are.
Being sick, being in war, being in suffering. Is there a purpose to it?
In my estimation, a resounding ‘yes’.
While there are many positive things happening, suffering teaches you how to be miserable a necessary skill to the true walker of the path. Mass numbers of people are suffering yet they are in the struggle for the sake of struggle. You pick the reasons: 3rd world problems like lack of proper sanitation or basic necessities, 2nd world desire for more, to live like the first world, and 1st world problems of being squashed in the race to the top and still not finding the peace they were looking for.
But even in the midst of the struggle, there is an opportunity to transcend the suffering. To rise above it. To live in such a way, that the struggle is non-existent.
There are 3 parts to this journey:
What is your path?
This is where most of us start the journey. A growing discontent that forces change. You either choose to follow your calling or continue the pointless struggle. This is the first step. It’s an act of courage to look back at your suffering and learn from it. Life changing realization and insight can dawn under such self-reflection.
Yet this use of hindsight is slow. Looking back over time not only wastes the present moments during the suffering, but looking back means you’re also missing out on the current moment—however beguiling it may be, it’s the shadow that resides within our collective psyche, the warrior energy that ranges from defeatism to aggression.
It’s like the proverbial grit within the oyster that creates the pearl. That suffering can often bring us to understand our gifts, get clarity on our calling and drive us to action. It’s an essential step in your growth. Elizabeth Gilbert succinctly shares: "I've never seen any life transformation that didn't begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit."
In making this step, we as expressed by Stephen Pressfield, ‘The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.’ Realize this from the start. While he paints the picture to be rather dire and stark, it’s a journey to honor your own creative faculties, to manifest your life by design, rather by default.
It's the hallmark of the persistence stage. You may find yourself reflecting on the following: Can you stand being alone with yourself? Can you stand feeling uncomfortable? Can you be like the oyster with a confound piece of sand that irritates you to finally get up and take action? Are you ready to be in the arena going for the prize?
Another huge hurdle is the very idea of competition. In reality, you’re not against someone else, you are following your own path, your own calling. This is one reason I have always loved individual sports. Yes, team sports have their place. Yet the individual athlete shows up and fights for the PB—the personal best.
Your calling asks that you get into the arena. You have to give up the ‘us vs. them’ mentality and realize the real battle is within.
Each time you get up and do your work, is a victory.
Each time you face your fears, is a victory.
Each time you focus on your work, not the result, is a victory.
Each time you act despite your fears, is a victory.
This perseverance and commitment to your own success is essential to the next stage of transcendence. When you show up each day to fulfil your calling, you create the opportunity to transcend the struggle and reach honour. Giving up the struggle means understanding it is no longer about winning or losing, but playing the game, surrendering to the process.
At this level, you’re living as one with the rest of the universe. A realization emerges that what happens to one, happens to all, simultaneously. The ultimate level of responsibility to face what is yours, not just for you but for all of humanity. There ceases to be separation from live and death,
It ‘love so pure that it sacrifices itself without a thought to serve a higher aspiration’ a pearl of wisdom shared by Richard Rudd on the nature of honour in The Gene Keys.
The warrior, in all their shades, is one to create a better world, challenge the status quo, and commit to a purpose bigger than themselves. These stages, the warrior archetype shines through from the start of conflict, to the steadfastness in the face of resistance, to rising above the need for the win/lose dichotomy to a place of liberating others from their struggles. It’s the journey from finding your torch to the passing on the light to a fellow seeker, illuminating their journey. It’s the immortal nature of their story that stands the test of time, continuing to inspire the next generation of warriors.
On the finish line
"The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we're about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it's got," Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art.
As my track coach in high school said, ‘kick it in.’ Meaning give it your all as you make your sprint towards the finish line. No matter what, keep your eyes on the end goal.
It’s not the type of journey that can be completed in its entirety in a day or a season. Your calling is most likely a lifelong endeavour to fulfil. By its nature your calling involves showing up every day. The trek to the summit requires planning and the ability to withstand the conditions. It takes every bit of courage to rise to the summit. You finish one leg, camp and train for the next level. Each stage is a victory, but you’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize and remember the bigger picture.
What’s the bigger picture?
Liberation, to live your true potential without the shackles that bind us. Both the personal ones that are from our own programming or passed onto us from our family whether through genes, memes or environment, as well as the collective imprisonment through media, governance, corporations, propaganda and culture.
You break through and rise above your programming.
You find clarity and trust your own insight.
You give up your blindness of separation and ignorance and own your wisdom and power.
Ultimately, the conflicts, fears, and distractions that show up in the world only mirror those within. Showing up, facing them head on, committing to the assignment that you’re called to, and becoming a warrior of light is the only way to make progress. You’ll find peace within and without.
You have a choice to be miserable every day or live in the moment and find the peace. The chaos swirls around and there is calm at the center like a hurricane. Chaos doesn’t mean we cannot feel satisfied.
Just because there is struggle and chaos, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your live. It doesn’t have to stop us being happy or finding contentment. That part is up to us. We must learn to live in a duality one where we see the contrast between what we want and what we have, and yet be steadfast in the vision we want.
Ultimately, it’s up to you.
The war isn’t won with just you
You came here with an assignment, yet it is not only you that can overcome the collective manifestations of fear, anger and hatred. You have a specific design that gives you unique capacities and strengths.
Each of us must do our part. Each person and creature faces their resistance and joins the movement.
All the epics from the Mahabharata to the Iliad to the Lord of the Rings, share a tenet that the war is won by courageous individuals coming together as one chipping in their gifts and their strengths. They become partners to overcome the struggle. Slowly but surely, the tide turns. The chaos quelled and peace returns.
You have the power
You were born for this time.
‘And that soul moved aside so that this one could go forward, and one by one, each being stepped aside so that the souls with the finest possibilities of creating heaven on Earth could move to the forefront. And here you are! You made it in! And it's my job to remind you that you are the Ones….my divine purpose in this material kingdom is to actively embody this Oneness and live its unfoldment "down here",’ by Angela Peregoff from ‘The Morning Blessing.’
Yet living ‘down here’ means we do have the struggles and limitations of humanity. We forget our truth. Like all potentials within you, transcending your programming is completely up to you.
You have the power to change your epigenome, your thoughts, your environment, and your actions.
Over to You
Consider the following questions:
Photo Credit: Diana Simumpande
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Many of us have dreams of serving the world, leaving a legacy of impact and leaving our mark. Or we want to have an experience of a lifetime, but life comes and goes, and the dream goes unfulfilled. It often seems so far off at times.
We all start with the idea--fabulous, grand and meaningful. But then, we put it aside. Life steps in and changes plans but the dreams, as Langston Hughes shares in his poem Harlem, and Lorraine Hansberry captures in her play A Raisin in the Sun, the dream goes deferred.
First I want to start by saying, dream deferment is a complicated situation, based on many factors.
1) circumstances in your environment
2) your own fears and internal resistance
3) criticism, judgement or opinions of others
4) interruptions from others
5) excuses, justifications, rationalizations
All of these items have one thing in common. Resistance, with a capital ‘R’.
Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art shares powerful words:
“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.”
These paths all lead to 2 choices, one that you heed the call despite, or in spite of the resistance. Or you ignore the call yet again and allow the resistance to distract you from the call.
What happens to you when you defer a dream?
Depression, PTSD, loss of hope to name a few. When you’re forced to give up on your passion or give it up under duress, it can cause physical changes to your brain. Your neurotransmitters change, the signals within the brain and to the rest of the body change. It can cause a listlessness, a lack of direction. You can feel a sense of loss or grief.
Perhaps you lose your way, not knowing why you are here and forgetting who you really are. It’s the makings of a crisis of meaning. One manifestation is the so-called dark night of the soul.
Even living in poverty or constant struggle effects the brain and its structures. These have long term implications on your epigenome and can have lingering effects from previous generations.
In short, it makes it harder to succeed in the future.
The science behind your choices
This choice point is paralleled in the brain’s own neural pathways.
As you’re probably aware, the subconscious runs the general programs. When you’re using your conscious brain to think, plan, visualize or contemplate, the subconscious runs the rest of the show. It runs us on autopilot. That autopilot is in the ‘on’ position, about 95 percent of the time.
If your neural networks have been practicing following your calling, facing resistance and being comfortable about being uncomfortable while you are focusing, that’s what will continue to happen when your subconscious runs the show. The opposite is also true.
Neurons that fire together, wire together. The more the specific pathway is used, the more it grows.
Your brain’s circuitry, is modelled on how the universe operates at it’s core. What we focus on, grows larger. What you regularly give your attention to, increases the affinity to that pathway and your brain, body and focus becomes more efficient and interested.
Alternatively, when you continually give up on your calling, complain, make excuses and choose the stance of victimhood, the corresponding network of neurons slowly faces attrition. When that pathway is no longer used, it is culled to make room for more of the complaints and actively looks for more reasons to complain or give up.
Bottom line: you become what you habitually do. And the more you do it, the more you’ll get good at it.
But Let’s be honest, It’s not always easy
Langston Hughes and many other pointed out the injustice of certain groups as they try to get ahead. In a Raisin in the Sun, the African-American family faces tough choices and systemic issues that make success more difficult. Make no mistake, historically, however far we have come, those hurdles still effect a larger percentage of society, than we admit to. This is in large part of this is the narrative of progress and the extent of the military-industrial complex/corporatocracy that rules the majority of the world. Minorities and those not conforming to the mainstream ways, are marginalized and their ideas and contributions do not benefit from the same advantages and weight as those who are in the so-called ‘mainstream.’
Psychologically, emotionally, and physically these structures cause damage to these marginalized individuals. It takes more courage and fortitude for these individuals to step out of their comfort zones authentically and more effort to overcome these systemic biases.
If you’re in this category of standing out because of your color, creed, orientation, gender, ability, belief, wealth, or education, then realize these structures might make following your calling more difficult. However, you can succeed. Overcoming these and other obstacles are part of your unique journey.
My own thoughts are: ‘if I was born this way, then I can succeed this way.’
Stop blaming and start taking responsibility
Instead of letting your dream be differed, I would love for you instead for you to take a moment and make these dreams a reality. Here’s some practical things to get you moving in the direction of your dreams.
A few ideas to get you started:
1) Start an account to fund your dream, aka a freedom fund.
Take a part of your income and funnel it towards your dream. It doesn't have to be much. For those of you not used to doing this, start with setting aside as little as 1% or .5%. That means for £1 or 50p for every £100 you bring in. For many of us, we do not notice it. You can put it in a separate account or simply hold it in an envelope or jar. My advice: Keep it simple and consistent. Increase your commitment by guarding against spending and increasing the percentage saved.
2) Start saying ‘yes’ to your calling.
Make a list of activities that can take you in the direction of your calling. Each task should be simple and take about 10 minutes. Start each day by selecting one item to finish. This item is the most important task to complete for you. Each day you do this, is a way of saying ‘yes’ to your calling and wires your brain to see more possibilities and become more efficient at the task as you move forward. Celebrate your win and reset the bar tomorrow back at 1 item. My advice: do it within 5 seconds of your inspiration to bypass the resistance. And do it regularly until it becomes a habit. It’s just as important as brushing your teeth.
3) Eat to support your DNA, brain and wellbeing
Everyday your body is conducting necessary repairs, replacing old worn out cells and tissue and copying your DNA. You become what you eat, digest and assimilate, quite literally. Not only will fresh foods give you more energy than the processed counterparts, it’s tasty and more appealing. It’s like building a structure with low quality materials, you’ll also get a low-quality output and product. My advice: start crowding out the foods that are less than ideal with whole, fresh foods.
4) Say ‘No’ to resistance, clutter and distraction.
Just as it important to hardwire your brain to naturally say yes to your calling by overcoming the resistance, it is equally important to cull the habits, focus, thoughts, beliefs, relationships and things that take us in the opposite direction of your calling. My advice: take an inventory of your life and let go of the things that no longer serve you and your calling.
5) Get used to fear.
It’s impossible to make decisions and take action in the direction of your dreams when you are constantly in fear. Your brain and body can only focus on one item, protection from fears or perceived threats, or growth. Each time you focus on growth, you face the fear but shift your focus from fear to possibility. Perception is key. Change and growth require you to see fear in a new light, they are a part of the journey not a cause for alarm. My advice: Learn to listen to your fear, but take regular inspired action in spite of it.
6) 'Assume the feeling of a wish fulfilled'
This is a powerful quote from Neville Goddard. Start by finding out what it would feel like, in your body, if the wish were to be fulfilled. Would it feel different than your negative thoughts--surely! Feel it from the thoughts, the sensations and the emotions in your body. Memorize that feeling by focusing on it every day, as often as possible. In doing so, you not only activate your creative capacities, you unrehearse the old pattern and you build new neural networks in your brain. My advice: every morning before you start your day and the last five minutes before you fall asleep. Watch what happens and take note on what ideas, coincidences and synchronicities show up.
7) Watch your thoughts, beliefs and perceptions.
Gay Hendricks talks about this in his phenomenal book, The Big Leap. We all have at least a few upper limits in our lives. The key is to realize that often these thoughts & impulses that come up are not real, but rehearsed states. The body wants it's chemical hit for the day and it goads us into feeling our usual way to keep us safe. When we step outside of that, expect resistance in it's myriad of forms. And Michael Neill shares in his book, Effortless Success, that a thought is like the weather. It flits by but we don't need to take it seriously. We have many thoughts, but a fair number are repetitive and come from our unchecked subconscious. My advice: Instead, notice your own patterns and find resources and a support system to help you through.
My final thoughts:
Don’t lose heart. You are the creator of your reality. You have the ultimate power. It’s your story that needs to emerge and you have a hand in the outcome.
Don’t let your dreams get deferred. Don’t wait for regrets to haunt you.
Over to You:
Do you have a dream deferred?
What will you do to allow yourself to dream, prioritize and act on that dream?
Why is that dream important to you?
Is some part of that dream already in your life or available to you?
What do you have to let go of to make room for you dream?
What have you been doing, thinking, believing, that keeps you from realizing your dream?
Who I Am:
I am Anuradha Kowtha CEO of Manifest By Design. I'm a proud American and Brit, and proud of the south Indian heritage from my own immigrant parents. I'm also have a B.S. in Biology, an M.A. in Rhetoric. I'm an experienced educator, researcher, editor and business owner. I'm also an accomplished Bharata Natyam dancer and painter. I've also had the courage to follow my calling: speaking my truth, however uncomfortable, letting go of careers, homes, relationships and beliefs that are not in alignment, and pursuing that life of meaning and freedom that is our birth right.
What this means for you:
1) I'm here to empower you, if you are ready to commit to your soul's calling and your liberation.
2) I'm honest to a fault. I won't tolerate lies, excuses and B.S because fulfilling your ultimate calling before it’s too late is far too important. You can't change the world and be impact to your clients if you are hiding behind your b.s. As direct as I can be, I do my best to deliver it with love.
3) My unique blend of design, training and experience means that I am here to be in service of conscious evolution using science based personal development tools. I will empower you to dismantle the programming and beliefs that keep you stuck.
4) I can understand you, your design and help you remember who you are and why you are here, before you bought the lies and dis-empowered beliefs. And express it it, mirror it, and help you integrate it to create the results you want to produce and reach your next level.
5) I promise that after 12 months working side by side with me, you will be utterly unrecognizable. You'll be creating big things and learning to create sustainable transformation in multiple areas of your life simultaneously.
In short, your success is my success.
Over To You:
Are you ready to follow your calling to the ends of the earth? To fulfill your highest potential with bravery and courage? It's not a journey for fainthearted. I'm ready, are you ready to go? Request a consultation and let's do this!
Why are we unsatisfied?
Let’s look at a few factors. First, the amount of stress from living day to day is increasing, from job pressures, money worries and the ever-present dissatisfaction, especially in the free nations of the world. Oliver James, author of Affluenza, calls out a key component of the source of this dissatisfaction: ‘advanced capitalism makes money out of misery and dissatisfaction, as if were encouraging us to fill up the psychic void with material goods.’
He goes a step further by blatantly stating, "I contend that most emotional distress is best understood as a rational response to sick societies."
Let that sink in.
Emotional distress in response to a sick society.
He calls this phenomenon ‘Affluenza’ a type of selfish capitalism that is nobly in English-speaking countries whose citizens that are heavily invested in their levels of success—ie fame, wealth, comparison, and the ‘rat race.' We’ve lost touch with our own feelings and the doubts, fears and insecurities we feel have been co-opted by corporate interests and in maintaining hierarchies that keep us stuck.
How has this happened?
Namely, a society has more than it needs yet advertisers convince them they need more. And with each subsequent generation the anxiety and depression increases.
If we look at this problem with the lens of epigenetics, it is not a personal defect within our DNA, but an opportunity to empower our liberation. Epigenetics is a new science where the paradigm of living above your genes. Each subsequent generation receives DNA with certain set of tendencies and potentialities within it. One such negative might be the tendency for depression. Yet it won’t come to pass unless that specific sequence of genetic material is triggered, often by stress. While we don’t have control on the actual sequence, our daily life choices, actions, beliefs, thoughts and feeling have an impact on how those are expressed.
As a result of poorer quality food, more stressful lives, less connected within relationships, and of course less meaning in work-a-day lives, is impacting our epigenome and genome, both as individuals and our society at large.
Are you programmed for dissatisfaction?
Perhaps you are genetically prone dissatisfaction, however we have a capacity for being programmed. Our brains, especially in the formative years of birth to the age of 7, we are learning how to live in the world and pick up programming from our environment and role models. Even after the age of 7, we can easily be programmed when advertising and media plays on our fears and insecurities.
For instance, as Oliver James mentions, we are saturated media as it is, “barely concealed advertisements for classes of product.” Even, and especially, education, as "little better than a systematic method for spreading the virus.”
In his book, Richard Brodie shows how the Virus of the Mind are passed on and ‘infect’ us, especially regarding finding meaning. We have memes in society that program us. Memetics, the studies viruses of the mind and how we transmit ideas between individuals, pervades how we think. This type of programming has become insidious and virtually undetectable.
Memes about meaning
In his recent essay, ‘On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs,’ David Graeber, makes a few points that are crucial to this discussion. First, that we live in a society where many of us realize that our work is fruitless and meaningless. More and more of the world’s population is making this realization and it leads to the emotional distress that Oliver James mentioned. Some cope well, changing to more meaningful careers and lives, or finding meaning in their work. Yet, most unfortunately do not adapt instead turning to nihilistic tendencies, searching for a panacea, or accepting the status quo. It’s the lives of quiet desperation that Henry David Thoreau was referring to in Walden.
The meme here is what TV shows and education teach, that we live in lives that are not our own and live through the bullshit. We live for our weekends, our vacations, and those few precious moments: graduation, an award ceremony, the raise, the wedding, birthdays and anniversaries. We’re not meant to find meaning every day. Instead we get sucked into the drama or fear of the latest news or media offerings. Until our own death, we simply exist and suffer.
The second crucial point that Gaeber makes is that while those that pursue more meaningful work, i.e. auto workers or teachers, ‘should’ make less money and be inconvenienced because their work actually matters to the world at large. In his words, ‘yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way…to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work.’
The prevailing meme: we’re told that doing purposeful work that serves a cause greater than ourselves, that it is perfectly acceptable to be paid less or treated poorly, because that’s the price you pay for doing good work. I personally find this appalling. These are only 2 of the memes that are in play.
Why do many of work in jobs or careers that do not challenge this status quo? I believe it is because we depend on the money and the powers that be keep the economic, educational, and financial systems to keep us in this dependency. The system keeps playing on our fears and dissatisfaction and instead of solving the root cause, it’s easy to seek for a panacea or a pill that can suppress these feelings.
What causes lack of meaning?
While a depression is a coping mechanism by the mind and body after a stressful situation. Behind lack of meaning and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness is complex. It can have many causes, including biochemical or hormonal imbalances.
Step 1: Trigger. Something we perceived as something negative happens, often we don’t remember the source looking back. It’s often very subtle.
Step 2 Response. We have a response or reaction to the negative event or situation.
Step 3: Habit. We continually rehearse this response, it becomes a bad habit. We become addicted to the bad habit and ‘see’ the trigger everywhere and repeat the response, even though the response may be ineffectual.
We see life, an advertisement, hear about someone’s life and we are triggered all over again. This is how a short term negative becomes the new cage for living one's life.
What you need to do instead?
The truth is we need to go inward.
The real courage, is understanding how pervasive the system does manipulate our actions and that we, are truly empowered individuals to take control of our own lives.
The best way for us to move forward is to take our empowerment into our own hands. Liberation is the best solution. Once you become liberated, turn around and help those ready to leap forward as well. True liberation then, is not from the oppression of a job, but the oppressive memes that live within our own heads.
Over to you
Notice how these memes and feelings of dissatisfaction show up in your life. If you’re stuck in a situation that brings you unhappiness, notice what specifically is upsetting you. Once you begin to see patterns consider the following:
1. Is there more clarity you need? If so, what?
2. How can you feel more empowered?
3. What memes effect you more than others? How can you talk back to these memes/fears?
4. How much autonomy, purpose and mastery do you feel in your life and career? Are there things you can do to increase these feelings?
5. Do you know what your priorities are? Use the Wheel of Wellness I have created as a free gift to help you to figure that out.
Your Daily Points
Let’s say you have 100 units of energy, each morning, when you wake up. You have access to these points of energy on any given day, once you use them, they are gone until the next day. You can use these units to live your life as you please. It’s your choice how you use them. You can use them to maintain the status quo and struggle OR for to follow your calling and transformation.
Three Sources of Motivation
You have your biological needs to fulfil. It’s fair to say, some of your energy is directed to maintaining these urges.
You also have a second directive, to avoid pain and gain rewards, the fear of taxes and being shunned and the potential of a bonus in your pay check or gaining praise for doing the ‘right thing’ does create an impact in your life. To sustain this paradigm, you expend further energy in maintain it.
Past that, as many scholars have pointed out, you have an urge to find meaning and contribute to something greater than yourself. Abraham Maslow called this ‘self-actualization’, our ability and innate desire to fulfil our greatest inner potential. In his words, ‘what humans can be, they must be.’
As Daniel Pink points out in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, similarly shares, “The science shows that the secret to high performance isn’t our biological drive or our reward-and-punishment drive, but our third drive—our deep-seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to make a contribution.” In summary, he makes the case that society has moved beyond Motivation 1.0: biological urges direct us, to Motivation 2.0: rewards and punishments shape us and direct us, to Motivation 3.0: intrinsic motivation based on autonomy, mastery and purpose guide our choices. Ultimately, putting consistent focus and effort aligned with your calling yields your greatest fulfilment.
However, our society, including business, schools, government, economics and other major systems that we depend on, are still primarily using the older paradigm of Motivation 2.0. Many of us stuck straddling both uncomfortably. Luckily, individuals and organizations alike, have been making the switch. With each unit being carefully considered and reallocated.
Each unit of energy represents the focus you must give to life. It is the mental and emotional energy that available to you to navigate life, maintain your wellbeing, and growth. According to Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, we unwittingly and unnecessarily waste our precious energy in maintaining ‘agreements’ with through our thoughts, beliefs, actions, relationships and intentions. He recommends self-awareness and self-reflection to be investigators in our life and observe where we are spending our 100 units. Awareness and clarity is the first step to true, lasting transformation.
How Are You Using Your 100 Points?
Pain avoidance / pleasure seeking
Over to You
Track where you are expending your 100 daily units in your life for the next few days. Put your ‘scientist’ hat on and collect some data. Approach this activity from a place within yourself of no judgement. It’s a chance to find data without the focus of worry, labelling ‘mistakes’, or murkiness. Clarity comes from seeing the Truth (with a capital ‘T’). We cannot change what we do not see or acknowledge.
Areas that you might consider mapping out and focusing on: Finances/Wealth, Health/Wellbeing, Purpose, Work/Career, Relationships, Contribution/Legacy, Play/Leisure, Education/Growth.
Go with your style! Anything goes from taking mental notes to sharing with a buddy to a play-by-play in a journal to making an excel graph.
Finally, once you have collected the data consider the following questions.
Your calling is calling
You came here with an assignment to fulfil and with each minute that passes, you are either a step closer to accomplishing it or further in the fog that obscures your calling from you. Yet each ‘tick-tock’ from your clock can be a reminder and a wakeup call. According to the doomsday clock, we are just a few minutes from our demise—the closer to midnight, the less time left in the proverbial hourglass of life on Earth.
Although the doomsday clock has quite an ominous title, it is a symbolic. The clock, created in 1947, is managed by scientists at University of Chicago based on world events. Initially, it measured threat of nuclear war but now measures the threat of global warming and other potential ‘end of the world’ catastrophes. We had the greatest time of peace in the years after the falling of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall as well as the agreement of nuclear disarmament in 1991. Yet, inch by inch, that peace has ebbed away and we are ever closer to the proverbial ‘end of the world’, especially from the far-reaching impact of climate change.
As the time creeps, unhaltingly forward, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear. Instead it can be reminder to follow the path of love and fulfil on your calling.
Most likely, on the path to awaken and fulfil your calling, you’ll face many dark nights of the soul as well as, internal resistance and external obstacles. For example, the pearl is created by an oyster in response to an irritation created from grains of sand trapped inside it’s shell. As time passes, the oyster creates a secretion to cover the sharp edges of the sand. Layer by layer, the secretions grow and ultimately the resultant pearls are harvested as a valuable commodity. Challenges in your life can be seen as a gift to reawaken your calling and give you the grit needed to transform your pain into your path.
Searching for meaning
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl shares his struggle to find meaning and fulfilment in his days as a captive during the Holocaust. Imagine him and millions of others being in a camp, constantly parched, starved, exhausted, lacking in warmth and compassion from their environment and captors. Psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and physically drained. A place of unimaginable horror. The ultimate dystopian doomsday scenario for many of us. One that can potentially bring us to our knees and keep us languishing in despair. At any moment, his life could have been taken away; he had very little freedom to express his purpose and it was a desolate situation to find meaning. Yet he persevered.
Unlike many of those in his cohort, Frankl kept finding ways to keep finding meaning in the desolate circumstance. He would have long conversations, in his mind, with his beautiful wife, not knowing what had become of her. He cherished the seemingly insignificant fortunes: a nicer guard on shift, the warmth of a bowl of water to be his soup, a small opportunity to keep his dignity. Through sheer determination, he survived the horrific experience by knowing he had to share both his story and the story of his fellow innates with the world.
The experience furthered his own prior professional insights, that emphasized his own personal and professional quest: finding meaning is our highest calling. After his release, he said, “life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” He chose to find meaning of his suffering and went on to share this message as an author and psychotherapist. That grit became the enduring message of his life, his calling.
Is time running out to find and achieve your calling? The short answer is ‘yes’, but it is what you’ll do with the time you have left that is more important. What will you do with your remaining time?
You don’t need to live in a dystopic pit of despair to find a way to transcend your current experience. While it might be easy to fall into the fear of impending doomsday and the pervasive fears of the world through media, you have the ability to transcend these fears. In the wise words of Tony Robbins, ‘stay in your head, you’re dead.’ Right now, you have this moment to find peace of mind and act with clarity.
Over to you
Draw to circles, one inside the other. In the first circle, the larger of the two, list your specific worries, fears about everything from your health, your children and family, your career, finding my calling to the threat of nuclear war and the effects of climate change. Label the it ‘My Circle of Concern’.
In the smaller circle, list the items in your circle of concern that you do have control over. It becomes obvious which items you have direct control, indirect control and no control over. You might not be able to stop nuclear war, but perhaps you can shift your own energy supplier to a sustainable energy supplier, like wind power.
To take this further, list all the proactive efforts you can take to mitigate or change the outcome of the first circle. For example, under your health, you could list walk 3 times a week or eat more vegetables or under climate change you could choose to support green energy or take your own bags to the grocery store. Once you accomplish these, challenge yourself to continually expand your circle of influence by taking proactive, inspired action.
Once you’ve finished, consider the following questions:
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