Make Change That Makes Sense: Intentional Action for Inner Peace
I led a workshop the other day around mindset-shifting practices for change. Afterwards, one of the participants shared a little of the back story around one of the shifts she experienced through our work together. She said that she came to our session really frustrated by the actions of a friend she’s working on a long-term project with. A lot of the project responsibilities have fallen on her lately, and to say that it hasn’t felt good would be an understatement. By the end of our hour together, she said that she felt much better about things. I could see a change in her expression and energy, too. She felt invigorated to do what needed to be done in the project because it was important to her, regardless of what her friend was doing, and she felt at peace about it, at least for the time being.
The mindset-shifting exercises we did helped her find a spot from which she could tap into what she could do to feel better about the situation, and why doing so would do her well. This helps take the focus off of the other person and how we feel they’re wronging us, and puts it back on the choices and actions we can make or take regarding our situations.
That’s one way that this practice helps us change our experiences – by changing our feelings about them. At first, the only thing that shifts is how we look at what’s happening to and around us. If we stop there, we’ll likely feel good for a little while and then slide back into the same-old same-old, this time maybe even MORE upset because now we actually tried to be positive about it, and we just got let down again – by the party involved, the strategy, Life… take your pick.
But if we stay with it, and let ourselves BELIEVE in it, continuing to connect to our intuition so that she may guide us, the initial shift expands. We move from looking at the situation differently to experiencing it differently, and that is powerful! Once we experience THAT shift, we set in motion ANOTHER shift, this one in our capacity for making meaningful change in our days. We feel stronger, more empowered around our experience, less at the whim of all the things.
I cannot overstate the value in this two-pronged approach, and I’ve found that it offers a useful framework for clarifying the type of change you actually want.
Are you looking for a more peaceful present experience or will the process of progress better bring you the peace you seek?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, by the way. There is value in both, and each has its season.
The Serenity Prayer comes to mind as a useful reference point; it asks to “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
When we desire a more peaceful present, we are in a state of acceptance, or pursuing a path to that acceptance. Accepting circumstances, making peace with what is; our peace comes from feeling better within and owning and embracing the power we possess to adapt, identify and care for our own needs and alchemize our experiences. Our strategies revolve around calming, coping, serenity and comfort, and we gracefully surrender to the situation at hand. We find liberation in letting go of the fight and much-needed nourishment in focusing on what feels best right now, within the scope of what we’re living in and with.
When we pursue a process of progress, we are in a state of change, or pursuing a path to that change. Changing circumstances, dismantling what is and creating what will be; our peace comes from a belief that change can happen, a joy and satisfaction in the process of making change, and outer evidence that the change we seek is happening. Our strategies revolve around challenging, confronting, courage and hope, and we are emboldened to change the things we can change. We find liberation in doing, speaking, acting and advocating for ourselves, and much-needed sustenance in focusing on what will ultimately feel better, which helps get us through what may not feel great right now.
To put it in #thriveandbloom speak, the peaceful present is bloom energy and process of progress is thrive energy. We need both, we are both, and we get to choose which serves us best in any given phase or time, which to call on when.
Bringing it back to our two-pronged approach to the mindset model, there is the way the mindset shift improves your present experience and the way feeling better in the present helps you feel better, stronger, and more able to make meaningful changes going forward. These play off each other and feed into each other in a limitless number of ways as you make your way through your days. This mindset shifting is a process, a way of life. If you do the exercises once, you’ll get some results, but they won’t be sustained because they need continuous attention and engagement. The more you do it, the more naturally it comes, and the more you learn to set yourself up for success with it.
As for the star of our opening story, she uncovered a strategy for coping that felt GREAT to her. She was all about that peaceful present life, and the circumstances seemed like they were going to have an expiration date, so finding a way to cope through the between time brought her ease and peace. She said that she felt lighter, like a weight had been lifted, and I could see it, too.
I like to associate the peaceful present with our comfort zone. I know, I know. No one has a good word to say about comfort zones because supposedly nothing good comes from them. I SO disagree!!
We’re so often shamed away from peace and straight into battle, criticized for avoiding confrontation, chastised for ever wanting to take it easy, and bullied into big bold action.
First of all, that makes you feel like crap for resisting what you’ve been told you should do, and I don’t care what anyone says, there are better ways to motivate! The ill effects run deeper, too. Because when you actually DO go about confrontation from that space of doing it when you’re not ready, when it doesn’t feel right, when you’re being shamed or bullied into doing it, it likely won’t even yield the results you want anyway. Your energy will probably be too wrapped up in the original anger, resentment or whatever of the issue was PLUS the added angst around the confrontation itself, which is a recipe for a disastrous, ineffective event that leaves you feeling worse than before and may do much more damage than good.
But when you’re feeling drawn to that peaceful present and you embrace your coping strategy and the positive feelings you get from using it, if it does come time that a more active confrontation is necessary and in your best interest – if, for example, the behavior doesn’t end with whatever external factor you thought it would, THEN you can confront and do it from a place that feels better, which will result in a more effective, better-feeling outcome. Taking positive action for your own experience is super powerful when you feel prepared and empowered to do it. I think of it like a yoga flow from comfort zone to warrior pose, as opposed to being airdropped straight into the battle.
And yes, sometimes the confrontation does serve us best and the comfort zone has cradled us into ambivalence and fear. Sometimes we’ll want to lean in to our comfort, others we’ll need to reach past it. But the thing to always remember is that no one else gets to decide which time is when. You are allowed to know what’s best for you. You can support yourself in that truth by devoting time and attention to connecting with whatever you call that whispering voice within, what I call intuition. Your intuition helps you discern when you’re healing and when you’re hiding, when you’re restoring and when you’re resisting. And therein lies that often-sought “wisdom to know the difference.”
Want shift? Come to my mindset-shifting workshop at The OM Center in November! http://bit.ly/TABmindsetOM
Can’t make it or don’t wanna wait? Let’s do some 1:1 shifting! Book a session here and in the “reason for booking” section, tell me you want to do some mindset shifting. I’ll offer the first 3 people 2 for 1 on individual in-session mindset-shifting workshops. (Purchase 1 coaching session, get 1 free, and we’ll work on mindset shifts in our sessions.) http://thriveandbloom.com/book-sessions