Fear or Freedom?
I remember the moment 20 something years ago, when I realized that the majority of my life was an expression of my fear rather than of my essence and I set the intention to break free of these trappings and live a coherent life. I would never have thought that reconnecting to my true self would require so much shedding, unlearning and reprogramming. It is incredible how many layers of limiting beliefs, compulsions, addictions, patterns, and rigid world views we can accumulate over the years (and life times). Most of these are internalized societal, cultural and religious norms and expectations that keep us tied to living within the range of what’s perceived as acceptable and also possible.
As mammals, however, we have a deep need to belong to the herd/the tribe/the clan, since it was how we survived the many threats in our environment. As we awaken to the need to follow our own Heart Song, we are faced with the threat of being expelled, shunned or shamed by the tribe for questioning the norm. While we initially need doubt and curiosity to shake ourselves loose from these limiting beliefs, we also require some awareness and courage to then take aligned action.
It’s all about clarity and awareness
Below are two personal examples of how this process of finding greater alignment and coherence can be either more or less challenging, depending on how clear you are within yourself and how free you are from social programming.
When it’s more challenging
In another life, 15 years ago, I knew deep within my being that my work was not good or right for me. I was completely incoherent. My thoughts and emotions were conflicted and my body exhausted and in constant freeze mode. It was easier to stay in my uncomfortable comfort zone of financial security and a false self worth created by my status. The sacrifices I made over the years became a powerful hook to the very thing that cost me so much. I dulled my senses and numbed my pain, avoiding any potential conflict and disappointing my business partner. And so I stayed longer, too long, enduring and living for the weekend, the next holiday. Until another year went by and nothing changed, except for my deteriorating well-being.
I was not clear within myself, getting lost in the noise of the expectations of others and societal norms. I finally left my business and took a leap of faith – or more accurately – was shoved off the ledge, because my body and soul gave me no other option. This drawn out transition took 5 very long years.
How it can be easier
When I changed to a vegan lifestyle a few years ago, I found this transition much easier. I was a regular meat eater who firmly believed society’s narrative about the need to eat 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs and 1/2 veg per meal (or a variation of this depending on the latest nutrition trend). There came a time when I could no longer complain and shake my head about the state of industrial animal farming and feel distressed about animal testing, whilst cuddling my cat and eating a ham sandwich. I needed to align my thinking, feelings and take coherent action.
It was a surprisingly easy transition. I asked other vegans for advice, learnt about vegan nutrition and how to cook in a completely new way. What did others say and think? Some of my tribe were curious about my decision, others worried that I would get ill from the change in diet and become anemic, a few felt triggered and pushed back, and some I no longer see over meals. Most adjust.
Because this decision was made from a place of coherence, the reactions and opinions of others did not matter to me. It was right for me and stepping out of the norm was not scary. From a place of coherence, I could also ‘stay in my lane’, accepting others’ choices because we are all individuals with different needs. This clarity contributed to a faster, drama-free transition.
- Which area in your life is asking for greater coherence? Where do you think one thing, feel another and act incoherently?
- How is this affecting the expression of your true authentic self?
- What limiting beliefs do you need to untangle yourself from? Where did they come from? How do they affect you? Are they still true for you?
Are you ready to shine and stand out? Be you.