How much personal transformation is enough? Too much?
There isn’t a right answer. It is more of a Goldilocks thing. What is just right for you? You might wonder what I mean by tools for personal transformation?
Simply, I mean when you learn new wisdom and concepts from reading, watching, or taking classes in self-help, spiritual growth, personal and professional development and then translate them into habits, practices, and new ways of thinking/acting, those are your tools for personal transformation. Ultimately, the great tools support your growth, happiness, and fulfillment in life ongoing. The growth can be spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical in nature.
For example, I read “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz years ago. The concepts in that book were based on Toltec Wisdom. I was in a coaching group and the facilitator had us write one of the four agreements each day 21 times for a month. We focused on how to apply it in our real life. By the time four months had passed, I felt like the four agreements went from a concept into a tool for personal transformation. Even now, I remind myself to Never Take Anything Personally, Do My Best (Our Best is Always Changing), Don’t Make Assumptions, and Be Impeccable With Your Word. In the moment, I say one of these to myself, how I am viewing the situation and the other person shifts. Sometimes it helps me be kinder to myself and sometimes it helps me let go of being a people pleaser.
A tool I use for physical growth is daily exercise. Recently, though, between what I learned about the power of breath from a Yogi friend of mine, my acupuncturist friend teaching me about my low Qui, and the book “How The Brain Works”, I realized that walking, Meditation, and Yoga alone weren’t doing the trick to quiet my mind. So I started a high intensity exercise regimen 5 days a week. It has done something to my brain chemistry where I feel awake all day and then sleep better at night. Tools again are very subjective, so what works for you might not work for me and vice versa. You gotta find your Just Right for you.
This year served up some particularly challenging moments. I doubled down on my current practices and adjusted some of my habits. Leaned into my friendships and asked for support (another tool I learned – asking for help). However, I was still feeling hella stressed out.
It is likely you can tell that I am a lover of all things personal and spiritual growth related. Underlying this is my desire to live my best life. It was this stuck in stress experience that really had me do a bit of an inventory of the tools I had been using. If you are being served up a big ol’ helping of challenge at the moment, I send you my love and compassion. If you aren’t currently experiencing one of those moments, I still invite you to consider the inventory because growth can happen in challenges or in unexpected moments.
What is the specific challenge or area of life that I would like to have growth in?
What wisdom have I learned that could support me right now?
How could it support me specifically? (getting specific was really helpful for me)
What practices, habits, or tools could I create from that wisdom?
What practices, habits, or tools have I forgotten about that I could once again utilize?
The inventory had me see that my stress was coming from an unhealthy pattern. I was taking care of others and not taking care of me. I was holding in my emotions. The stress I was having was intensified by only processing mentally. Now I know that taking care of myself is essential, expressing emotions is necessary for overall well being, and processing life’s challenges by moving the issues through the tissues (as Brene Brown says) works better, but I wasn’t doing those things. So… Asking for support is an important tool that is not my go to, but key to growth, I reached out to my community and was served a heaping helping of love. EMDR therapy was highly recommended. So I started it.
So… your turn. I wonder what your inventory reveals?
I promise to keep sharing my experience on this journey called life. For the moment, here is my new favorite quote about challenge and transformation by Lalah Delia:
“Grapes must be crushed to make wine. Diamonds form under pressure. Olives are pressed to release oil. Seeds grow in darkness. Whenever you feel crushed, under pressure, pressed, or in darkness, you’re in a powerful place of transformation and transmutation. Trust the process.”
AND trust that you are not alone.