The Soul of Personal Change
Old And New Paradigms of Change
The old human paradigm of change is all about linear goal setting. It’s driven by the rational, logical left-brain with an illusion that life can be predicted and controlled. Know what you want, obtain the right resources, plan your steps and then just do it! Lose weight 10 kg, eat less and exercise three times a week. Or with a workplace change, inform people and get them do what’s expected. When obstacles pop up, push harder, eliminate resistance.
One major problem with the traditional paradigm is that it’s set to fight reality and human nature instead of collaborating with it. In real life, circumstances change, unexpected opportunities pop up and the human mind in itself is unpredictable. Resistance arises when our needs are not taken into account or something is being forced upon us. The subconscious mind may react with defense even against our own conscious mind, its bold resolutions that require changing our habitual patterns.
There is another way of making changes that takes place from the inside out. It’s our inner state that in the end determines the outcome.
Is your mind it filled with worry and doubt? Or is your heart trusting and open to the miracles of possibilities? Everything in our lives is a projection of what lies within our minds, hearts and cell memory – and most of it is not conscious. “As within so without” said the great teacher Hermes.
So, we need to get the inner and outer realities into coherence to support our dreams.
To make it happen, the left-brain logic must meet the right-brain intuition, feelings and sensations. That’s the “irrational” invisible part of life that cannot be forced or eliminated by will, although you may suppress and mask it. Fighting against it just feeds resistance; you might get your feet moving but your soul is not in. Instead, this pure creative potential serves you well when empowered, nurtured, embraced and mindfully guided.
The soul of change is based on intention rather than a specific goal. It connects your dream or desired change to who you are, what’s calling you and to your authentic needs.
There are three questions that you can apply to any change or dream for integrating the inner with the outer reality.
- How is this change supporting me to become my best self?
- How is this change boosting my sense of purpose and meaning?
- How is this change addressing my true needs?
How is this change supporting me to become my best self?
Often underlying unhealthy patterns and unsatisfied circumstances is a disconnection to our deeper essence or the soul.
Who am I becoming? These questions reconnect you to the deeper essence and your true self-identity. A transformative change will move you closer to who you truly are and liberates your greater potential, your unique strengths and gifts.
“Losing weight 10 kg” as a goal may not instantly make you feel good, rather it sounds like a lot of struggle and hard effort. Instead, “becoming vibrant, energetic and healthier” gives you a boost, doesn’t it? It makes a difference how you call your change, what’s the image and feeling it evokes within you daily.
To enable your ideal outcome, you will most likely need other strengths too. What kind of a person do you need to be in order to achieve what you want? The answer could be something like courageous, committed and persevering.
You can practice your new strengths by tuning into the energy of the desired qualities. If it’s courage, recall situations where you have shown courage and relive the memories, thoughts, feelings and sensations that were present. Imagine that you are breathing in the energy of courage until you can feel it in your cells. Then ask yourself: What would courage do in my life right now? Begin to take small steps that require courage, so it anchors into your self-identity.
When your identity shifts to match your desired change, any required actions become so much easier. You will naturally choose behaviors that are aligned to who you are.
How is this change boosting my sense of purpose and meaning?
One reason why manifesting our goals often fails is that we don’t always know what gives us true happiness or sense of purpose. It may be someone else's dream that we pursue or make choices out of fear rather than inspired by our soul's passion.
So, what’s your big WHY with this change? And how is it moving you closer to what gives your deeper meaning in life? Keep inquiring until you can connect your dream to something that ignites the true passion of your soul.
When you become “vibrant, energetic, healthy”, what does it enable you to do? For example, you may love dancing or playing basketball, so through this change you would have greater opportunities to enjoy physical movement. That’s what gets your out of bed every morning 6 AM to go the gym!
When you fight against what you don’t want (bad habits), it becomes an uphill battle. Instead, move towards what your soul deeply desires and it’s so much easier to develop healthier habits.
What’s the positive impact your dream or change could make for others? Relating your change to something greater than yourself may become a huge inspiration. But do start with yourself. Sometimes, people don’t dare to focus on personal changes due to fear of being selfish. If that's the case with you, perhaps you could contemplate the following questions: When I'm happier, how much more energy do I have for being present with others? What if taking the best care of myself could be my highest service to life?
How is this change addressing my true needs?
What do I need, here and now? That’s perhaps one of the most essential questions we can ask ourselves on a regular basis. In connection to your change, it shows what you most need in order to step into your new reality and higher potential. It also reveals your hidden fears that might come in the way if not addressed.
The human mind is hardwired to resist change to make sure we are safe. If some of your key safety factors are missing, resistance pops up in an instant.
Many people try to force changes in their own life like the worst bosses treat their teams. (Mentally) beating up for better performance and denying their true needs and emotions. No wonder there is resistance and sooner or later, reverting to old habits.
Our needs guide us to honor with the wisdom of our body and emotions. A human being is an integrated body-mind-soul system, and making a shift in one part affects the whole, so everything begins to shift. Some parts take more time and need more support. It’s like your inner team – how do you make sure everyone is onboard and cooperative? The time you give to the most vulnerable part pays back later.
So, how is your change helping you become more whole? How is it transforming your whole life for the better?
Some of our needs are vital for our wellbeing like getting enough rest. Other needs may show places for healing such as attachment to unhealthy behaviors. Those needs reveal our core beliefs about ourselves and life. A transformative change works on the level of our core beliefs shifting our perception about what’s possible.
Do you truly believe that you deserve what you want? Can you really see and feel yourself in your ideal state? If you don’t feel that you fit your new self-image, it’s unlikely you get there in the first place or the change will not be long-lived. Like someone who loses a lot of weight with a quick-fix diet but doesn’t feel okay in her new “skin”.
What beliefs do you have that still keep your to your old identity? What new beliefs could you assume instead? Changing beliefs is not just a mental exercise of positive thinking. It requires a complete shift of the old pattern including your subconscious mind and cell memory. With persistent limiting beliefs you may need to work with a coach or another professional to heal the underlying wounds and shift the energy.
Power of Action – From The Inside Out
In the end, manifesting our dreams and making lasting changes depend on keeping a fine balance between a supportive inner state and committed purposeful action.
With long-term projects, ask yourself daily: What's one action step I could make right now? Take small steps on a regular basis to keep the momentum. If you find yourself frozen with procrastination, that’s often the right place to act even if you can’t see a bigger picture. It will liberate stuck energy and you may see things with greater clarity again.
With lifestyle changes, incorporate new habits with small chunks practicing new behaviors and related mindsets daily. Repetition is the key to rewire your brain over a few weeks’ time – even five minutes daily could be effective.
Be merciful with yourself and notice the small wins along the way. Every time you shift your inner attitude from the old to the new mindset, you'll reinforce your new reality until it becomes automatic and fully embodied.
The Soul of Change
The soul of change is about creating the right circumstances much like a gardener preparing the soil and watering the seeds with heart while waiting patiently. It includes an ability to embrace life and love yourself moment by moment and not only in an ideal future.
Sometimes, what you most need is to let go rather than push forward. When you have fully released the old and the time is right, the new will unfold without an effort.
The inner way uses everything that happens as source of potential. Resistance is a sign to pause, something seeks integration. Interruptions could offer sudden opportunities. It’s an ability to shift, grow and evolve along with life’s changing tides while holding your soul's intention as an anchor point.
And remember an attitude of gratitude. By acknowledging life’s abundant blessings and your own efforts, you reinforce what is already well and it energizes your entire being. Gratitude is a great magnetizer proven by research! Life gives you more of what’s in the focus of your attention.
When you have done your best as a conscious creator of your life, simply release the rest for a greater intelligence. Giving up a need to be in control opens your energy to magnetic presence and a creative flow. You may relax and let go. The universe has your back.
For your daily 1-2 minute practice: Take a few deep breaths and imagine with every cell of your body how it is to be the person you know you can be in your new reality!
Written by Mia Aittola. This is part of a series of articles on Conscious Living inspired by Conscious Dialogue Community Calls. Welcome to join our free monthly sessions!
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Photo credit: Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash
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