I cannot tell you how to live your life, I can only live mine in a way that embraces for me, certain fundamental principles. The catch is that these do not feel external to me, it is as if they were written on my heart. Sometimes, I can see them clearly and at these times all of my actions flow from this place. Other times my vision is clouded by a barrage of thoughts and associated emotions. Actions become indecisive half measures defended by my old story.
It is only through a process of continually returning to this place, that my heart centered actions have grown stronger. Acknowledging this return with gratitude for having done so, leaves no room for feelings of shame or unworthiness. It's not about perfection, it's about practicing excellence which for me is making my best effort over time. This effort of course varies according to conditions.
It is this old story that serves to keep me separate from my deeper self and though it's voice is much more quiet than it used to be, it still grabs my attention. It is a fearful story of me and other, that preaches safety through vigilance and isolation. Yes, I know on a cognitive level that this story is a lie and in fact nothing more than a compilation of best guesses designed to keep me safe at all costs.
It's the at all costs part that really, really sucks as this is what weighs so heavily on my heart. In order to maintain the facade of safety and security based on mostly incorrect best guesses in the past, I did the following. Closed my heart to all people and situations that I was unable to control, manipulated others to meet my needs, isolated myself. I was trained throughout my early life to create connections in a sideways manner, testing and often rejecting so many potential friends, lovers and collaborators in life.
The surprise to me was finding that my behaviors though nothing to be proud of, left me well on the side of the majority of my fellow human beings. Wow, what a revelation to find that I was not alone in my apparent dysfunction, not that it actually made me feel better. Though it did help me process through the tremendous sense of loss and regret for what could have been. It also helped me find the determination to change this story the only way I knew how. Through strong intention support by resolute action I began living into a new story, one that became real for me.
This story is that of belonging, being a part of something bigger than myself! I learned through practice to catch myself while listening to this old story and call it out for what it is. Simply an outdated set of assumptions based on feelings linked to various emotional states. I have learned that safety itself is an illusion and that living my life with passion is not as risky as it first felt. My hope is that you will join me on this quest for a life well lived!
About the Author
Behavior Change Coach and Author James Barfoot holds certifications as a Master NLP practitioner and Clinical Hypnotherapist who is registered to practice in Washington State. He developed The Primal Toolbox a behavior change and coaching strategy based on a tribal models. James lives in Spokane WA.