Live From the Inside Out
“I am not going to have my state of being determined by the 6 o’clock news,” said Pam Gregory, an astrologer who always has a positive message and spiritual focus.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been horrified by so much that’s been happening in my own nation and across the world. We seem to lurch from one wildfire (both literal and metaphorical) to another. It’s been relentless!
With so much going on, it’s way too easy to get caught up in the drama, or the noise. If you do that, the external world defines how you feel on a given day. You are, in a sense, allowing your state of being to be determined by the 6 o’clock news. You are living from the outside in.
Where is your energy going?
A few months ago, I talked about one of the major themes of this year: finding and embracing your internal power. Here is the link.
This is a follow-up to that post. How do you navigate what’s happening currently, and what is going to continue to feel like very chaotic or turbulent energies for the next few months? How do you step into and stay in your power when there’s so much going on?
There are hundreds, even thousands, of horrific problems and tragic situations out there. I know some of you have told me that you feel guilty if you don’t focus on those situations constantly.
One thing I learned early in my pastoral training was that I couldn’t get too involved in my clients’ issues or drama or I wouldn’t be effective. Like so many other people I know, I had somehow learned that I should feel with them. And if I didn’t identify with them, I was cold or uncaring.
Do you relate?
Focusing your attention
What I learned, however, was that if I got caught up in their very real traumas or dramas, or identified with them, it dramatically lessened or completely undermined my effectiveness. I couldn’t then support my clients in healing from those things.
If you focus your attention on the drama, you actually add energy to it. You may have heard the famous quote by James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophecy: “Where attention goes, energy flows.”
When you put your focus on the eruptions or volatility or tragic and awful things going on, you actually amplify or strengthen that energy. More importantly, if you keep your focus on the noise, the drama, or even what someone else is feeling, or telling you they feel, you actually give your power away to those very people or events. That’s living from the outside in.
Harness your inner power
The way through this impasse is to live from the inside out.
Instead of being hijacked by what’s going on out there (and it’s going to be dramatic for quite some time), you turn your focus inward.
When you live from the inside out, you stop giving away your power. You find and embrace your own inner power. And more importantly, you don’t strengthen or amplify what’s going on there.
So how do you live from the inside out?
Breathing from the heart
Today I want to offer a very simple, easy way to do that. It involves breath and attention (where attention goes, energy flows) and the heart.
There is a good reason that most healing and spiritual traditions alike focus on the breath. When you are caught up in drama, you tend to breathe shallowly, and that means not only that you can’t access all your resources, but it compromises your immune system (and other systems in your body), increases anxiety and fear, and more.
So first you focus on your heart, and breathe from your heart as if it’s a lung. As you do, you’ll find your breath getting slower and deeper. That alone reduces cortisol and the flight-flight response, and improves your immune system.
If you do this for just a minute or two, you’ll feel peace. You’ll drop into your center, and feel a sense of anchor, and find your internal sense of power.
Once you have that sense of center or anchor, you can put your attention on the qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and gratitude.
Focusing your energy for universal benefit
Remember that where attention goes, energy flows. When you put your focus on these things, you amplify and strengthen those.
Don’t underestimate the power of doing this. It has a great impact not only on you, but on the world. That energy goes out in ripples and acts as a counterbalance to all the drama.
Any action you take for justice or peace or love coming from this place also spreads out in ripples. This is one of the secrets of the power of nonviolent protest. That energy of love and peace is a much stronger force than the energy of hate or fear.
When you do this practice, you become the weaver of your life, and that of the world too.
This is a practice you can do two or three times a day. Try it now. What do you notice? I would love to hear in the comments!