A few weeks ago I was laying in my hammock on a hike in Morrison, Colorado, when I came to some big realizations. You see, over the past couple years, I’ve put a lot of energy into shifting the direction of my life. In doing so, I’ve been confronted with all kinds of things that have been lurking below the surface of my awareness. It’s kind of like cleaning out your room. You come across a pile of stuff that accumulated with time, dusty from remaining untouched. You wonder, “do I keep this or throw it away? Does it hold the same meaning as it once did? Do I still have the same attachment to it?”
While relaxing on my hike, I came across an accumulated, dusty pile of energetic “stuff” in my own consciousness. I was contemplating my core beliefs. As I started examining the way I see myself and how this plays out in the world, I realized I needed to do some internal spring cleaning. When we give space for our soul’s purpose to surface, we are confronted with a choice. We can either stay stuck in the cycle of what’s not working, or access our inherent worth to step forward into something greater.
Core beliefs are the foundation for how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. These are the deeply embedded ideas we develop throughout life, such as “I am (or am not) worthy of love”, “I am (or am not) capable of achieving my goals”, etc. Most of us have at least one or two beliefs about ourselves that aren’t very empowering, or have some kind of condition attached, like “I’ll really love myself when ____”
Once we’ve taken our beliefs as absolute truth, we begin to greet each day looking through the lens of our distorted views. We strengthen our skewed beliefs by looking for examples that reinforce them, such as, “I know the reason this didn’t work out is because there’s something wrong with me”. We can start to see patterns in how our beliefs are mirrored in our relationships, career, the way we carry ourselves, etc. They are a direct reflection of the world we create for ourselves. The good news is, core beliefs can be restructured with a little willingness to open to the possibilities.
What beliefs have you developed about yourself? How do these beliefs either help or hinder you moving forward in life? Can you let go of those beliefs that are outdated, dulling your shine, or simply untrue?
It became clear some of my core values, developed years ago and clung to as fact, were no longer aligned with the self-growth that I’ve endured since their formation. In fact, I now see many of my core beliefs have been idealistic, disempowering, and very “all or nothing” thinking. So where did this realization leave me? Feeling like I didn’t have a whole lot of stable ground to stand on. Looking out at the pine trees lining the rolling hills from my hammock and feeling the cool breeze on my cheeks, I knew I was uncovering something big. I could sense that working through this block of holding onto stagnant energy and old stories would clear the way for the next step on my journey. The only problem? It wasn’t as easy as just snapping my fingers and letting go. This realization came with all kinds of resistance to change, difficult emotions, and a general sense of confusion.
From that day until today, the energetic dead weight has felt like carrying a ball and chain around my ankle. I’ve been facing the feeling that something needs to change, but unsure of how. So I just sat with my experience. I didn’t try to ignore it or rush to change it. Something as multi-layered as our fundamental identity takes time to untangle. It requires trust in ourselves, as well as trust in something greater than ourselves, to know that things will unfold and fall into place as they need to.
These small, consistent steps are what helped propel me forward:
- Patience~Understanding that I’ve been living this way for years, and it’s going to be a process to let go.
- Self-compassion~Being gentle with myself for knowing I have always had my best interest at heart, even when I have formed my identity around beliefs that are counter-intuitive to my self-worth.
- Listening~Quieting the mind to hear what fears were coming up in the form of resistance to change. Acknowledging my fears, then checking in on what age they developed (often times, they’ve been hanging around since childhood). A reminder of how old you are now, and how much you’ve grown, can keep fears at bay.
- Creating space~Engaging in activities that facilitate emotional processing, such as meditation, journaling, yoga, and asking those closest to me to listen as I share what new revelations I find.
This morning, while wrapping up a fun weekend at a cabin in Buena Vista, Colorado, I sat by the river in the backyard. I observed many rocks in the river’s path, and how the water continued to surge past, regardless of how big or heavy the rocks were. I listened to the repetitive rhythm of water flow by. This was a true moment of mindful awareness. I’ve been by plenty of rivers, but taking in this sensory experience in the moment allowed for something to click in me, as if this was my first encounter with this body of water.
I began thinking about how, in clinging to these core beliefs that were hindering my growth, it was much like placing giant boulders in the path of my flow. I also watched in awe, as the water powerfully excelled forward. It was a reminder from the universe that, despite obstacles along the way, it is the natural progression of life to keep moving. In these moments, I could feel a change within. It finally felt like I could give myself permission to release and expand. Permission, that’s what it all boiled down to. Permission to loosen my grip on what once felt true, to make room for new ways of being that align with a more authentic sense of self.
We are the creators of our reality. We have the incredible power to make massive shifts on our path at any time. A little spring cleaning for the soul can go a long way. Check in with yourself to see where you may be holding on to what no longer serves you, and trust the process of shedding what’s been weighing you down. There’s so much waiting for you on the other side.