February is the time for hibernation in bear country, or the Northwoods, but for us humans, we hunker down in winter and call it ‘going within’!
Why would we want to focus on going within and what does that really mean anyways?
Going within is a process that helps us direct our awareness and attention down into our bodies, bringing ourselves into the present moment. This exercise allows us to accept whatever is happening in the moment and allow any emotions to surface and be released. Going within encourages us to point the finger toward ourselves and BE the change we wish to see in the world. Any time you are triggered or have a strong reaction to something going on in your life, that is a clue to go within to track where, when, and who your reaction is in transference too.
“The truth will set you free, but first it might piss you off!” - Gloria Steinem
Most of us spend a good chunk of our day focusing and pointing a finger outward -- we are always judging and evaluating everything that is going on around as as good, bad, right, or wrong. We act as if we are victims of the lives we live. What if we shifted our focus inward? How would a focused change of going inward instead of outward, affect our everyday life?
Take a minute to FEEL how that shift might feel in your body -- no judgements and no critical evaluations. Instead you might have a quiet mind and a feeling of peace, love or joy.
Have I convinced you to hunker down and start your journey of going within? If so, here are some tools and events that will help you get started. Having a silent breathing practice is they key to start you in the right direction.
1. My free PDF Breathwork Tool will help you practice your breathing, focus inward, and calm your mind down. If you practice enough, it will create a lasting change in your life. It sounds simple, but until you actually take on this mindful practice each day, you will not notice a change!
2. Check out my recurring event, Snowshoeing into the Silence, located on our beautiful 80-acres retreat, the Northwoods, just 15 minutes outside Traverse City. These snowshoe meditations are from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm on February 10th and 17th. After a silent snowshoe trek around the lake, hot drinks and nutritious soups will be served. And to finish the connection, we will have the opportunity to share our own experiences. If you can’t do a snowshoe with us, just go outside and connect, be silent and do some sort of movement.
Do you have any other pointers for going within in your life? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
What do you want to create with the precious time you have left in life?
No thinking...just answer the first thing that comes to your mind.
Ok, now write it down on the top of a piece of paper.
How does it make you feel?
Do you feel excited?
Depressed because you don't think there is a way to create what you wrote down?
How you feel about your answer will help determine the work you'll need to put in to move toward your answer.
Our intention and commitment are based on having a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset is stagnant, wanting perfection, and hoping that things will make you more — more happier, more lovable, etc. This orientation is an attempt to enhance and improve the ego.
A growth mindset is just that — you are focused on growth without a destination in mind. You are curious while on an adventure of the present moment. With a growth mindset, you're not giving up on yourself. The mindset can diminish and dissolve the ego, rather than enhance it. The ego cannot pursue a true aim, only presence can. Instead, your aim is to understand yourself now. It is the dance of life.
Life is not about where you want to go. It's not about waiting and striving to get someplace other than where you are right now.
Do you spend your day waiting for lunch time? Or, the end of the work week? Are you always looking forward to something different than what is happening right now in the present moment? If so, then you have a fixed mindset and you are living a future-orientated life and you have some work to do!
Do you enjoy your day no matter what time it is or what day of the week it is? Do you find joy in the ordinary and simple tasks you need to perform? If so, then you have a growth mindset and you're doing great!
"The growth mindset is the dance of life."
If you think you have a fixed mindset, then it is time to STOP meandering through your life with no directional compass, hoping someone will come and save you, or change it for you. YOU are it! When you are committed to ego-boosting activities, as you are with the fixed mindset, you're like a hamster on a wheel. When you reject the present reality and hope or imagine a future that will be better than what you have right now — you begin a pattern of rejection, hope, and desire. It then feeds into the belief that you are not enough. Such thoughts keep us stuck in our childhood and past core beliefs that simply don't serve us anymore.
So, what are you spending your precious time doing? Will you take the step to unravel your "stuck" places or habitual patterns today? Choose to accept the growth mindset!
Find more about the fixed and growth mindsets in Carol S. Dweck's book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Do you ever feel that someone else is running your life and it isn't the life you actually want?
I recently witnessed a true shift in consciousness. For the first time, this person (let's call her "Julie") identified and then let go of her inner judge voice.
When I started working with Julie, who is in her 70s, she didn't know what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Julie struggled with depression and merging with her children. She felt as if her life was going by so fast, but she was stuck in this double-bind of not being able to fulfill her desires while simultaneously keeping everyone happy.
In her processing, Julie recognized that she had difficulty moving toward what she truly wanted because of her strong inner judge. After recognizing this hurdle, we went through the following steps together.
The first step was working on identifying who the judge was and how it controlled her daily life. While grounded into her body, Julie found that she was collapsed by her mother’s energy riding on her back (metaphorically, of course). Julie's mother has been dead for 16 years. She allowed herself to feel how this energy lived in her body.
The second step was being the judge voice. Julie preceded to voice out loud what the inner judge voice was saying. The true energy of her mother was allowed to come out in that moment and we could feel that this voice was not actually Julie's voice (it even sounded like her mother).
The next step was standing up to the judge voice. Julie had to STOP the judge and not rationalize, defend, or collapse (all childhood strategies). She needed to ground her body again and feel how the inner judge voice was crippling her from moving forward. She had to feel how this inner critic had caused her pain.
This was not an easy step. Julie practiced many different strategies to try and stop the judge. But, finally, she found the strategy that set her free. She now feels and exerts a new strength in her mind and body.
Now that Julie is free of the judge, she is fully in her body - relaxed and standing without her mother on her back. She is full of strength, which allows her true essence to shine - a playful joyfulness.
If you want to experience true joy and your true essence, like Julie has, and let go of old wounds that keep you 'stuck' or un-empowered - consider signing up on the link below and Commit to Freedom from your inner judge today!
It is truly amazing to me to see how sharing our true essence “LOVE” spirals out in the Universe as a ripple effect.
I believe LOVE is not something we get from the outside, but something we find from within. I have experienced it as one of the many true essences we can draw on at any given time. When we let our story masks or ego slip and allow ourselves to fully feel present in any given moment, we can feel our LOVE essence. Giving can be given from our ego states; of thinking we “should” do something for someone else. OR giving can be given from a true place that needs nothing but to get out of our own way.
My parents had a gift of reaching out to those in need but it was not always from a true place of essence. If it were then they could have brought if further into their family relationships. I did learn this at a very young age, the “should” of doing for others. So the unraveling of this judgmental voice had to be tackled before I could really feel my true essence of LOVE and was then able to give from this place to the others.
My brother was not exactly nice to me growing up. However, he did stick up for others less fortunate than him in our neighborhood. This was because he was previously bullied in our old neighborhood. My brother and I did not have much connection as adults because of these actions toward me during our upbringing.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
In 2008, I was at an ‘Awakening to Presence’ workshop with facilitator, Michael Fleming. It was our last day of the workshop and I had not yet had my own personal process. Each person’s process was unique in that it addressed anything in the moment that was coming up for him or her. There was never an agenda or direction to someone’s process. We let it unfold in the moment and allowed our minds to let go and our bodies to show the way of the true enfoldment. Just recently, I had received a phone call from someone letting me know that my brother, was in jail. When it was my turn to process in front of the group, I had many feelings regarding my brother. My enfoldment allowed me to find forgiveness, and my heart opened with love for my brother.
When I arrived home from the workshop I drove to visit my brother. I was able to meet him with unconditional love and support. This was the beginning of our journey to an amazing friendship and connection, which lasted throughout his 7 years in prison and beyond. Since my heart opening at the ATP workshop, allowing me to share my true essence of LOVE without any story attached, this allowed my brother to open his heart to not only me but also his fellow inmates. One of the first people my brother met in prison was a man, who I will refer to as “John” that had been incarcerated for 22 years, and had many more to go as he had a life sentence. John was moved to a different facility, which led my brother to ask me if I would consider writing him a letter. He didn’t tell me much about John, only that he was a true friend. Supposedly since the move, John felt as if nobody cared about him and why not just give up? But, to John’s surprise, he received a letter from a total stranger - me! I cannot recall what I wrote in that first letter to him; I am not sure it matters. What matters is that he felt love and connection from that letter. According to John, he felt as if God was saying, “see I am worth it” - you are loved!”
This ripple effect started before my healing at the island workshop. It started before I began working with Michael Flemings (the facilitator). In fact, we never know where something really starts or ends, because time is an illusion. The importance of the opening the heart and letting the “story” (ego self) leaving our consciousness - for that moment where we can truly feel what is true. What is true is that we are not separate from one another! We never have been and on the deepest level we know that we are all one. We don’t need to do anything, it just being what we are, LOVE…
The ripple is still spreading – John received a surprise letter for the first time in 28 years from his son! Let’s keep the ripple going until it is a wave that has such force that we are all riding the waves together in the oneness!
Wendy Wagoner has explored numerous avenues of disciplines over the last 30 years. She is a professional Awakening Coach, healer, and experienced workshop leader.
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