Three Things About Inner Work You Might Find Along The Way
“It’s one thing to study war and another to live the warriors life.”
- Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary of the fifth century B.C.
The first few sessions in therapy are typically spent gathering information and setting goals. I usually tell clients that the horizon might look different as we go along the journey. You might find that your values are different than you expected or that your expectations for what would give you satisfaction turn out to be disappointing. The more we explore, the more of you we discover, and the horizon continues to get wider.
Though everyone’s journey is different, there are a few awarenesses that show up often.
It’s not the information, it’s the embodiment.
Lack of information is typically not the issue when it comes to the most uncomfortable aspects of our lives. Learning “what to do” doesn’t take us very far. We often want a quick fix to claim the victory, but the goodness is in the process.
Understanding how a family pattern affects our present interactions is interesting, but experiencing the sensational shift in the nervous system upon realizing how your daily life can change is a spiritual experience.
It’s the embodiment of the wisdom, the way it shows up in the important moments that transform us long term. When we make these fundamental changes, they don’t always result in an immediately large outward change. Superficially, they might be barely detectable. Over time, they inspire small, thorough shifts that result in lives built with integrity.
You and your experience are felt by others.
Those moments, like the simple power to say no instead of yes when you mean it, can be felt quite powerfully to the people around us. The magnitude of the work done to embody that simple “no” reverberates with others where the “yes” was expected for so long.
As you change the way you are oriented internally, you naturally change the way you relate. In this way, we can see how our impact on others is inevitable. So in one way or another, our personal bondage and liberation is theirs to be felt.
This is a reminder that inner work is not done only for our own sake, but for the sake of everyone with whom we come into contact and the generations who come after us. Shifting fundamental patterning can elicit an immense and meaningful inner call to be thoughtful in the legacy you leave and the contribution you make to this world.
Your impact can cause an upset, and it can also inspire lasting change for others.
People don’t always respond with support when we make a change that impacts their comfort zone. You may receive feedback that you are being selfish, inappropriate, or “too much”. We always have the opportunity to evaluate feedback to see if it is true. We also have the opportunity to assess if their accusations are a positive sign that we are making lasting change.
If the latter seems to be the case, you might notice that you are no longer allowing them to use you in the ways they are used to, your growth pushes the boundaries of what is familiar to them, or you activate the parts of them which they feel overwhelmed to contact themselves.
People often pathologize and judge what they don’t understand. Catering to those limitations in a way that is detrimental to your own well-being emboldens the limitations within them and their sphere, including you.
By doing your own inner work, you are a walking permission slip for others to experience their own version of the liberation you have demonstrated. As we embody our personal power to create lasting change for ourselves, it illuminates the dormant and potential power within others. Difficult as it may be, one of the most loving things we can do for others is empower ourselves in a deeply integrated and embodied way, so that we may empower others to do the same.