A New Dawn: Shine or Shun?

A few days ago, I got up early to watch the sun rise from a beautiful island in the Stockholm archipelago. I was thinking that few things are as reliable as the sun rising these days. Few things are constant, predictable, and at the same time captivatingly momentous. Everything we know depends on the sun rising. Every day. Meanwhile, at increasing intensity, the world is requiring of us respond to unprecedented situations and react to issues we have never faced, on an almost daily basis. And it’s not stopping, nor slowing down. Growing uncertainty in our careers, finances, safety, health and climate is prompting us all in one way or another to reflect on and question decisions affecting our lives’ direction – our own and those of executives and political leaders. We are at a point where we can no longer rely on established institutions and circumstances to define our identities or shape our destinies.

Consequently, more and more clients seek coaching with a revived sense of responsibility for being the most that they can be, to foster their own innate wisdom and capacity to create a life and career most fulfilling for them. I see people wishing to transform, desiring to become less dependent on a specific context or status to define them, and more powerful in their own right as unique individuals directing their own lives and contributing as active participants in creating their circumstances. And they wish to understand the sources from which they derive their strength and rejuvenation to sustain this capacity.

We all need to begin leading our lives from a clear understanding of who we are – what shaped us, what drives us, what we are capable of – letting go of constraining thought patterns and beliefs to fully harness our own innate power. And for every human being this journey must begin as a solo expedition.

There are two worlds to master, the internal and the external. The better you manage the former, the better you will manage the latter. Imagine that you felt completely whole, no compromises, no sacrifices. Who would you be? What would your life look like? Then imagine that you had no fears. How would you be, act, live, love, and face today differently?

We are balanced and fulfilled when we are able to take emotional risks, to open our minds to possibilities and follow our intuition without rational justifications. We are unbalanced when we hold on to old grief, when we insist on rational explanations for our emotional experiences, and when we close our minds to non-rational possibilities. When we deny the contribution of our feelings in making healthy choices, we can close ourselves off to new and liberating insights.

The types of thoughts and actions that lead to loss of personal power result from clinging on to past events or trying to manipulate our experience to sustain our sense of self. When we can stand firmly in the true experience of the present moment, our power is fully focused on the present and we can then make the most of what is possible in the now.

Your life is not defined by events, but by the emotions those events trigger. Your thoughts and your feelings create your life experience. A lot of our educational and professional contexts have imprinted in us a sense of scarcity, that there is only so much to go around for everyone, or that we have to feel guilty if we don’t need to sacrifice anything to achieve what we want. This creates a reality where people live in fear, guilt or greed, or even worse; denial – and this becomes their experience of life.

I have enjoyed 15 remarkable years of transformational experiences and continuous evolution towards an integrated sense of self, with both the pain and joy that journey may entail. I have confronted some of my innermost attachments, fears and insecurities – and the emotional freedom and the space within which to creatively develop my strengths that opened up has evoked a tremendous gratitude and a sustained sense of inner peace and joy. I have also learned that when the things you are supposed to rely on fall away – work, money, health, family, home, relationships – the raw you comes out. You have to become your own source of strength, and develop your own sanctuary within. The things that are truly important to you become blatantly apparent, and therefore command more of your attention and focus. You learn to set healthy boundaries. You grow stronger, more grounded and thus more equipped to actualize your highest potential. And you start nurturing the achievements that will feel most meaningful on reflection later in life. I choose a life of transformation; a life that is about learning and growth, about turning adversity into prosperity at any level of interaction with the world. It is about continuously stretching the capacity to walk further along the line between the physical and intuitive worlds in both directions. And again, it has not been without challenges, neither without pain. Thus I may assert from personal experience that one’s values have to be defined from within. The realization of ones wishes has to be owned by oneself.

If you commit yourself to feeling whole, always – this is not just a process, it’s a way of life. And it may involve grabbing some bulls by the horn. Resisting any thoughts that come up takes us further away from the truth, and we are not being honest with ourselves or serving our own evolution. Our biggest ally in running away from ourselves is our tendency to over-schedule our lives. Being busy keeps us from seeing our bigger picture and addressing any imbalances we may have in our lives. The more we resist, the more those thoughts will keep latching on to your mind and it will never rest. Not until you truly accept what comes up for you, will you truly be able to investigate those thoughts and ultimately find the peace that lies underneath.

To begin your exploration, take a small step and ask yourself: “What are truly the most important things for me in life?” And for each value, ask, “What does it mean to me?” Then rank those values in a way that the ultimately most important value is at the top. Then ask yourself: “Am I living in accordance with these values and their priorities in my life?

Then take another step. Ask yourself: “In which areas of my life do I feel most myself, most authentic? In which areas do I feel most disconnected from myself and my values? Do I spend time with people who see my whole self, and support me in being all of who I am?”

Then prepare to leap. Remember the last time you felt completely fulfilled – joyous, balanced, excited, authentic, strong, on top of your game. I invite you to ask yourself: “What elements or circumstances brought out that feeling in me? How can I allow and create more of that in my life?”

Then look out for a bull. Remember the last time you acted in a way that did not serve you. It may have served you in the short-term, but not in the long term. I invite you to ask yourself: “Why did I do what I did? What drove me to do that? What was at stake for me? Is there a pattern with similar situations? What would need to be different for me to not react like this again?”

Self-esteem is the most significant power of the human experience. You might argue that love is, but love has as many definitions as there are human beings on earth. Some will say it is passion, some might say pleasure, and some might even associate love with pain and suffering. Love experienced with strong self-esteem is significantly different from love experienced with low self-esteem. Unconditional love can only be experienced from a place of strong self-esteem, because it requires you to love without attachments or expectations. Healthy competition also entails healthy self-esteem. Competition is everywhere, and as long as you need to compete make sure you’re doing it with self-esteem, or you are certain to end up acting against your own integrity. I invite you to ask yourself: “What dis-empowers me in life? When I am going through a particular situation in which I am having a hard time standing up for myself, what about that situation is taking my power?”

Self-esteem is also the ability to have enough stamina that your sense of self worth is not dependent on anything or anyone’s approval. The moment you need someone else’s approval you compromise your own power. I invite you to ask yourself: “How much of my energy do I give to other people’s approval of me?”

I have found that when people have the courage to explore who they truly are, they come closer to a sense of purpose that feels so right it fuels them forward into new life experiences they may never have thought possible for themselves. From the point of realizing ones’ sense of purpose, life has more meaning and joy, and the unique individual’s creative power becomes an active force in painting the vision of their future. I feel blessed through my work to be able to facilitate these transformations and calls to action for my clients in the most respectful, expanding and motivating dynamics. I have seen what power can emerge from an individual who chooses to make the most of their resources and sense of purpose – a charisma that can drive masses to accept challenges and accomplish goals!

Being forced to ask yourself some serious questions, you may be getting closer to your true purpose than you have ever been before. If you work against or ignore it, you will experience chaos. But if you work with it, it will take you to new places. And problems will begin to disappear. You will open up pathways that you never even knew existed. It might even be overwhelming. But what if it turns out to be rewarding beyond measure? And the truth is, we cannot afford to go against the virtue of integrity, it is the only reliable compass to keep us on the right path. For too long we have let outside forces spin the needle.

We are living in a time where a shift in paradigm is more paramount than ever, not just for ourselves but for our societies, because the decisions we are faced with collectively will drastically shape our collective destiny. This requires setting different guiding principles from those of the generations before us, and inspiring those that are to follow. It implies taking responsibility for co-creating the world in which we live, and the need to let go of destructive patterns to make way for new constructive ones. We owe it to ourselves and the earth that nurtures us. And in the way everything that keeps us alive depends on that magnificent sun, what if everything depended on you rising, every day. How would you show up?