I used to ignore my feelings. I was unaware of what was happening inside of myself, and I just kept going. That was my plan. If I keep going everything will be all right. Everything will work itself out. Everything will be okay.
This was happening at an unconscious level – I wasn’t even aware of it. How could I have helped myself and mastered my emotions, if I wasn’t aware that I had a problem?
It’s as if I was peering just at the surface of the ocean (my conscious awareness), and not seeing the world taking place under the rippling ocean waters (my subconscious mind).
I was trapped. Trapped in unawareness, trapped because I just kept going.
Trapped by my hubris, of thinking everything was okay the way it was, because the “this is what life is like, and this is how things get handled” type of mindset was holding me back.
What I’ve learned since then is that it’s not all right to put my needs on the backburner. I no longer accept unawareness of my thoughts, beliefs, or emotions – in fact, this has now become a high priority in my life.
I’m allowed to peer past the rippling ocean and down into the deep blue sea of my internal canvas.
I may be mesmerized, or terrified, to explore a new terrain that has not been charted.
This is the inner landscape that ultimately frees you.
This frees you to live.
You live more fully as you traverse your inner waters because you get to take hold of a part of yourself you had no control of before. You know on some level that mastery is here for you now, because – and only because – you exist in harmony with what is – your body, your emotions, your beliefs, and how you perceive the world around you.
They all work for you or against you.
They work against you when you wind up in a dead-end relationship because you’ve been down that road before, but it all feels so familiar to you, so it continues.
They work against you when you’ve got to pay the bills, and you’ve poured your heart and soul into your business, but you feel like something is missing in your life, or that you just aren’t living up to your potential.
They work against you when you’ve stopped yourself short of your goals and ambitions, without even knowing why, or noticing that it happened.
You have an inner compass much like a dolphin has sonar. If the dolphin goes above to the surface of the ocean, its sonar capacity quickly diminishes, but as the dolphin goes deeper and deeper under the water, the sonar becomes stronger and stronger, until it has a clear understanding of its sprawling environment.
This is what going inward will do for you. It will allow you to open your senses so you will know what to do next and where to go.
Right now, there may be an ocean between you and your dreams. What will get you there? For some, it’s a boat. For others, it’s a life preserver.
You see, if you get into a boat with less weight, the boat will glide effortlessly across the waters of life. The more weight you have with you, the slower the boat goes, and with enough weight, the boat may sink with you in it.
This is a metaphor for life. Sometimes you can glide along in your boat, and sometimes you need to put on your life preserver. The famous Forrest Gump quote fits perfectly here – “Life is like a box of chocolates.”
How do you know which one to employ? This is through exploring your inner world.
Your emotions shift and change just like the sea moves its waves to the shore. Some days are calmer than others. The tide goes in, and the tide goes crashing out.
I used to try to hang onto low tide as much as possible with my emotions. If I could try to shut them down and not feel as much, that meant I was safe.
I put up a wall between me and my emotions, and I also built a wall up between myself and others or other experiences.
The interesting thing was that I was also willing to help myself as I was doing that. It’s like there was a part of me that was crying out for help, and I went down the self-help path, buying any book that I could to read.
Self-help is such a used-up phrase in the personal development industry. What if there was a better phrase?
There have been more books written on how to help yourself than is probably possible to read. My question to you is: when are you going to move past self-help and move into self-mastery?
Self-mastery only comes when you begin to explore the inner landscape of the vast ocean inside of you.
There is a big difference between anecdotal self-help quotes, stories, or remedies that you’ve intellectualized – with a splash of motivation – and having internalized real inner exploration.
Let’s go to the beach to figure out how you can get started moving in the direction of self-mastery.
You can start off at the beach with your toe in the water, working your way past the waves and into the deep sea of your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.
Your emotions are like the plankton of the sea. They are pervasive, alive, and move with the sea, and what’s happening in it.
Your thoughts are like the jellyfish in the ocean. They move and glide through your ocean currents, changing with the tides (careful, they might sting you from time to time).
Your beliefs are like the seafloor that supports all the ocean water and creatures within it.
When you’re starting off at the beach, you’re becoming aware that you can go into the water.
What might lie beyond the waves? When will I be in deep waters? What will I do when I’m in deep waters? When should I turn back and swim to the shore?
If I kept swimming would I eventually hit land? If I did hit land, I wonder what that would be like? What if it’s what I want – what if I swim just a little longer?
Are you starting to see that if you want more out of life, this is the way?
Should you wait any longer?
Why would you wait any longer? The beach is beautiful, but it’s so sunny out. It’s becoming hot and constricting. It would be so lovely just to go stick your toe in the water.
The water may be a little cold at first, but you’ll get used to it quickly. In fact, you’ll want to dive in before you know it – into the living waters of your emotions, and conscious and subconscious mind.
Exploration is what it means to be human, and it’s part of why you are here.
You see, it’s so much easier to shift your focus to keep going, or to be spiritual, to manifest, or to pray.
These are all great things, but what if being spiritual, connecting with the universe or with God, is really about going on an inner journey? What if that’s the way towards seeing the divine in yourself?
I used to think I was done with personal exploration. After all, it is a significant priority in my life, so I thought I was done because I had worked so hard on my inner self.
That was until my subconscious brought more to light for me to explore. I was a bit taken aback that there was so much more inside of me that I wasn’t even aware of, that was affecting my life without my knowledge.
Had I decided that I was done with inner exploration (that’s like saying there aren’t any other sea creatures that have yet to be discovered), I would have robbed myself of real peace and safety.
I lied to myself before without even knowing that’s what I was doing. It’s weird to even write those words. On some level, I told myself I was done. As I write this, it seems so laughable.
Of course, I knew that there was always more, but I figured I was done enough. That I had taken out everything that needed to be taken out of the junk drawer because things were going fine. But were they?
I grew up at the beach, and we would go to the beach many days in the summer. This was a space I felt free to open up to myself. Free to release myself from the intense emotions I carried as a child, due to abuse that caused a great deal of suffering.
I was at the beach one day, feeling playful and free, and I was playing with those cute little sand crabs tucked away deep in the wet ocean sand.
I knew they were there because their little air bubbles would come up to the surface of the sand, and tell me that they were hiding there.
Your feelings send you signs like the sand crabs do, with their air bubbles coming up through the sand, letting you know that they are hiding there.
Will you dig them up as I did? Or will you let them continue to hide?
If you dig them up, what would they look like? What will you do with them then? What might happen if you bring them to the surface and expose them to light?
If you did, could that mean that you’re embracing life and opening your heart to all of life’s experiences, whether deemed good or bad?
My heart is open. It’s open because I cleared the space inside of me to let this happen.
An open heart means you can be more open to love and life’s experiences. The thought of opening your heart can feel scary. If you have an open heart, it means you need to be vulnerable and allow this to happen.
When you have self-mastery, you build a foundation stronger than the ocean floor to allow your heart to spring forth with plankton blooms that move throughout your currents.
When you have self-mastery, your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions are flowing with the ocean current, and you flow with life.
From this flow, you can take inspired, intuitive action to manifest your dreams, and open your heart to love and life.
Remember when you were young, and you were curious about so many things?
You can tap back into your inner curiosity, stick your toe in the ocean water, and explore your emotional landscape.
I wonder what might be waiting there for you?