It is becoming clearer to me that growth is more about what you don't do, than what you do. I am realising that there is a clear path that is easy to navigate if we listen closely to our heart but for most of us we listen to our head, clinging anxiously to the knowledge our head acquires along the way.
I am learning that in order to walk the path with ease and grace the most critical skill is shedding and becoming rather than adding more and more layers and getting bogged down. Listening to the knowing of the heart rather than the knowledge of the head.
Traditionally when I have felt in a rut I have added and sought, I have feed my mind, madly scrambling for the answer in as many external sources as possible. My first response when I feel self doubt kicking in is to revert to my book case and seek out the answer there. Sometimes this works and I read that one pithy sentence that helps me move past the block but more often than not it simply makes me stay up too late reading, breaks my sleep as I toss and turn with thoughts running around my head and I wake the next day cranky and out of sorts.
My next avenue of guidance is to browse the hundreds of "10 steps to bliss" style emails in my inbox. Occasionally this helps too but I have signed up to so many newsletters and blogs over the past 10 years on my quest for meaning that it tends to totally overwhelm me and instead of helping me I use it as a reminder of how much others are achieving while I navel gaze at the start line.
I could go on but I am sure you get the picture - I search and fill, seek and grasp, looking for external validation and for someone else to give me the answer.
The thing is, that will never work. Yes it can help, and many of the external tools that I use are valuable, but ultimately what I need to be doing is peeling back the layers, letting go of the tools and lessons that have served in me reaching this point but no longer serve me. I have a desire to evolve but clinging to stuff (emails, newsletter subscriptions, documents, images, online courses, internet bookmarks) from a period when my essence and life path was more obscured, is counter productive. It is agreeing to learn a lesson but refusing to implement it. It is tying my feet together and wondering why I can't move forward.
In order to lean into this lesson I have dedicated May to cleansing & shedding. I am unsubscribing to newsletters that I have out grown, removing internet bookmarks, deleting music in my iTunes, sorting my iPhoto and culling lots and lots of images, sorting out my wardrobe and linen cupboard. Reducing the load and creating the space required for the new tools and resources I need to evolve.
It is a tricky process, my life is full of old ideas, old memories, old ways of thinking, old hurts, old perceptions - there is a lot to work through and it feels hard, but the thought of not doing it feels even harder. The thought of not stepping up to the plate and becoming all I am is something I cannot even contemplate. But the thought of stepping up to the plate and continuing to do it the hard way, bogged down, filled with fear and self-doubt is not something I can contemplate either.
For example I have a whole file on bioenergy, what do I do with it? It is from a period of my life where my identity was tied up in this research. My heart was never in it but my head was in heaven, my ego was on fire and I thought I had it made. I was a Churchill Fellow, I was pioneering new technologies and industries, I had a purpose and a direction. But I haven't pursued it, it has not developed into anything beyond a report on a shelf so do I let it go, or do I cling to it in the hope that one day a highly profitable opportunity will spring from my ideas and I will live happily ever after. My head says keep it, my heart says you don't need it, you never did.
Or what about the email subscription to the Internet Marketing Guru who promises that I will be an overnight millionaire if I follow his 10 easy steps. My head says I would like to be an overnight millionaire and that I am stupid if I unsubscribe from this but my heart says that hurts, that email is what is holding me back.
And then there are the 8,000 digital photos to which my head says, photos are important, they are the first thing people take from their burning house, but my heart says be free, the best photos lie in your being and in your living.
So the tool I am taking with me on this epic adventure is the knowledge that my heart knows and that in creating the space for my heart to speak my path will become clear.