Snapshots : Personal Renewal
Snapshots of Personal Renewal
By Barbara Bowen
No matter how we approach New Year's Eve with dazzling exuberance, quiet reserve or indifference it's hard to escape the sense that another cycle of life has ended and a new one begun. We navigate the portal from 2008 into 2009, trying to catch our collective breath. But the passage seems clogged with the air of uncertainty. Whether it be radical endings due to the economy, or endings that test our acumen and ingenuity on other levels we are full-term pregnant with stakes higher than in many years past.
Turbulent endings may ultimately lead to powerful breakthroughs and renewal. Cultural evolution bears this out, as do our personal histories, if we are aligned with growth. In evaluating our actions in face of challenges, I believe the present demands particular attention to the inner level of creating. The key notion being: in order to resolve issues that appear to exist outside, we need to look within.
These snapshots contain a distillation of optimistic perspectives that my clients and me, and most everyone we know are striving to implement during this period of endings, toward renewal:
The Outer View:
In vulnerable times, outer circumstances can grip the mind's attention too firmly. In this state, the outer level can appear daunting a phenomenon which exists beyond us, and beyond our direct influence. We feel out of control, and emotional discomfort sets in.
The Aerial View:
The discomfort we feel is actually a "call" that signals new opportunity. In order to decipher the signal, our perceptions need pulling back from outer circumstances. It's not about denial. But by observing present challenges in the broader scope of our personal histories, the obstacles are brought down to size. From the aerial view we recall past endings survived, learning and confidence gained, circumstances that, a the time, felt even more dramatic than these. Past evidence reveals that we ourselves are larger than circumstances, which are fleeting.
The Inner View:
Recognition is required to understand and benefit from the call. Realizing we are larger than they, circumstances can no longer hold us hostage. They might look like captors, but in truth they are reflectors. When we experience tensions, lacks and frustrations, it's tempting to panic or blame an outer condition. We forget that most often looking within is the wisest response. Circumstances, people and events often cannot be controlled. But going within to shift an attitude or belief is where we do have control. Doing so will lead to new actions, and the shifting will be revealed in the reflection of events.
The Long View:
No matter how much value we've instilled in our work, it may be time to further enhance the value of our services. Aiming to create more income or celebrity is missing the mark. In contrast, aiming to create more value in service to others is building trust and attracting income. Most likely, you are now seeking more value for the dollars you are willing to spend. So is everyone else. We need to glance away from nervous preoccupation with the ephemeral, and re-focus. It may take quite some time to navigate through this year's endings. Creating more genuine value for the people we serve may be challenging. But patience and a long-view focus will lead to improved conditions.
Endings lead to new beginnings, easily stated. But this year's end seems to call for something deeper than a beginning. It seems to demand renewal. The kind experienced by reflecting on the inner level, where the most significant questions and answers are found. I remember reading once a phrase that struck home: 'The inner subjective is primary.' We could call this little pearl one of nature's laws. It suggests that what we create in our minds and hearts is the primary generator for creating outcomes in the law of probability. By extension, outer results are secondary. During stressful times, it's reassuring to recall the inward realm as our refuge and primary place of power. Reflecting and sorting there awhile is the most powerful response to rough endings, and the first key to life-giving renewal. •
© 2009 Barbara Bowen. All rights reserved.
Barbara Bowen owns Gateways Coaching and helps artists and other professionals to master the creative process, build momentum, and take sensible risks to move careers to the next level. More »