HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY REINVENT YOURSELF

In my last couple of posts, I wrote about how my life had completely been dismantled.  I also wrote about how I was using this summer to initiate my rebuild.  I call it my Summer of Reinvention.   As I’ve been sharing my story, I have been hearing similar stories reflected back to me.  Many of my clients and friends have been going through similar life demolitions, and are ready to start the process of reconstruction.  What most of them are missing, though, is the knowledge of how to do this.

How does one go about creating an entirely new life while sitting in the ruins of the one they’ve spent so many years building?  Well, I absolutely believe that the answer to this question will always be as unique as the person asking it.  That said, though, there are some tools that can be useful to help the process along, especially when you’re back at the beginning.

These are the tools that I’m using to help rebuild my own life.  I guarantee that at least a few of these practices can help you, too, to get more clarity, more motivation, and more enjoyment out of creating your dream life … whatever’s happening in your current life.

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TOOLS FOR SELF-REINVENTION:

  1. Honest Self Analysis.  If you’re like me and many other folks, you probably know what you don’t want.  You might even be savvy enough to know what you do want.  But many of us are lacking a clear and true picture of what we’ve got going on right now.  It’s impossible to make optimal effective changes if you don’t know what it is you need or want to change.  So, take a little time to evaluate what’s really happening in your life right now.  How are you operating in the world?  Are you proactively making things happen, or reacting to whatever comes along?  How are you viewing the world?  Through the lens of abundance or scarcity?  What do you have that you want?  What don’t you have that you want?  And what do you have that you don’t want?  What do you believe is truly possible?  In short, what are you currently working with, and what can you do with it?
  2. Get Grateful.  Now that you know where you currently stand, it’s time to show a little appreciation for the good you’ve managed to garner for yourself.  Openly express gratitude for the awesome things you’ve accomplished.  This will align you with the good stuff you’ve already got working for you.  Then, while you’re at it, express gratitude for the things you want to have in your life.  And express that gratitude as if you already have them.  You can do this by writing in a gratitude journal (my choice), or thinking your gratitude, or speaking it aloud to yourself or to others.  The how is not important, it’s the true feeling of gratitude being expressed often that helps to energetically magnetize you to more of those things you want. 
  3. Use Your Imagination.  This is where things get really fun!  Step 3 is about daydreaming.  This is your time to imagine the life you want in all its shiny new awesomeness.  Visualize what you look like in your new life.  What do you do every day?  Where do you live and work?  Where do you go and what do you do in your leisure time?  Who are you spending time with?  Get as specific and detailed as you possibly can.  Then continue to daydream like this every single day.  The more you imagine yourself living the life you want, the sooner you will find yourself creating it naturally and with little effort. 
  4. Use Visual Aids.  This is one of my favorite tools for reinvention.  I am a visual person, so it really helps me to get some clarity around what I want and what that looks like as a big picture.  There are several ways you can integrate visual aids into your work.  Vision boards are one of the more popular choices.  Gather images that represent the life you want to create.  Attach them to a piece of paper, cardboard, plywood, etc..  Then keep your board in a place where you can see it everyday.  The images provide visual stimulation and support to keep you consciously (and subconsciously) focusing on your goals, which keeps you activated and motivated to ultimately manifest them.  You can also do this the virtual way by creating a Pinterest board for yourself that can be your online vision board.  You just need to make sure to look through it every day.  Other options are to create an avatar of the version of yourself that lives this new beautiful life, create a painting or drawing that symbolizes your life in some significant way for you, or you can even regularly put yourself in places in have the look and feel of what you’re trying to create for yourself.  Get creative.  Get visual.  And get manifesting.
  5. Turn In Your Oscar-Worthy Performance.  One of the quickest ways to create a new life for yourself is to just start living it regardless of your current circumstances.  Just think like an actor preparing for a role. Want to billionaire?  Go shopping in luxury boutiques.  You don’t have to buy anything, but being there will allow you to feel like you are the kind of [super wealthy] person who shops there on the reg.  Want to be a sought-after public speaker?  Join a Toastmasters group to start getting the feel of speaking regularly in front of live audiences.  Want to have a baby?  Do some babysitting, and really get a feel of what it’ll be like to care for a child.  Whatever it is you want to have, be, or do, you can manifest it more quickly if you start acting like you already have it, are it, or are doing it. 

This is not an exhaustive list.  But these are some of the tools that I am finding to be really helpful for me, and that have proven helpful for many of my clients.  It is my sincere hope that they will work some magick for you, too. 

If you have other recommendations of tools that have worked for you, please feel encouraged to share them in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you!  At some point or another, most of us will find ourselves ready to change our lives in some way.  This is growth.  This is evolution.  It’s always nice to know that we’re not going through it alone!

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Living the Tower Card: Watching My Life Crumble Around Me

There’s a card in the Tarot known as the Tower.  It’s usually the sixteenth card in the Major Arcana.  The classic imagery is of a, well, tower, that has been struck by lightning to its total destruction.  There are sometimes images of people falling from the tower to their demise, too.  It’s a pretty intense card.

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image courtesy of pinterest

Here’s what Aeclectic.net has to say about the Tower card:

In a moment, it is over. The Tower is rubble, only rocks remaining. Stunned and shaken to the core, the Fool experiences profound fear and disbelief. But also, a strange clarity of vision, as if his inner eye has finally opened. He tore down his resistance to change and sacrifice (Hanged man), then came to terms with Death (Death); he learned about moderation and synthesis (Temperance) and about power (The Devil). But here and now, he has done what was hardest: he destroyed the lies of his life. What’s left are the foundations of truth. On this he can rebuild himself.

Many people read the Tower card as negative, and fear it’s presence in a spread.  I, however, almost always see it as a good thing.  For most of my readings, the Tower card tells about a complete breaking down of the foundational beliefs and perceived truths upon which we once built our lives, making space for the rebuilding of new truths and ideas that more accurately reflect the evolved person we have become.  It’s sort of like the old Etch-A-Sketch toys that erase everything previously drawn when you shake them up a bit.

I bring this up here, because I am currently living the Tower card.  Fair warning:  This post is going to be raw and real.  There will be no sugar-coating here.  If you have no interest in reading about the intimate details of the lives of others, you may want to click over to a site featuring kitten memes, or whatever you’re into.

I am not exactly sure when the lightning bolt actually struck my tower.  Well, that’s not entirely true, if I really think about it.  Perhaps it would be best to say that my tower has been sustaining some pretty potent damage over the past couple years.

My time at Kanekiki Farm on the Big Island of Hawaii was definitely instrumental in creating some cracks in the foundations.  I experienced an entirely different way of being in the world while I was there.  I was fully submersed in a supportive, cooperative community.  I was encouraged to, and given the resources to, take a long, hard look at how I was living my life, how I was connecting with others, and how I was sharing myself with the world.  On the farm, our foods were raw, our emotions were raw, and our interactions were raw.  It was simultaneously glorious and heartbreaking, terrifying and exciting.  And my experiences there really ignited a spark of new awareness deep within me.

After Kanekiki, I spent the rest of the year traveling the globe, sometimes with a companion, but mostly solo.  With every new country visited, I felt new shifts in my foundations, new cracks in my walls.  I found myself hastily patching rents where I could, but my heart wasn’t really in it.  This was simply the reflexive response to the fear brought on by the drafts from these chinks in my shelter.

Instead of feeling the freedom I was craving, I found myself feeling more and more trapped.  I was living in the most stunning exotic locations, and all I could focus on was how miserable I was feeling.  I would be surrounded by new people, new opportunities, new experiences, and instead of reveling in it, as I had expected to, I found myself shrinking in a mindset of lack, of loneliness, of fear.

Oh, the shame of it all!  Shame of feeling these dark and heavy feelings in these light and beautiful places weighed down on me.  It was so heavy and so brutish that it began to shake the walls of my tower of identity, leaving me with real concerns about whether or not I could sustain it all.

There was a brief reprieve when my sister joined me in Greece for her birthday.  But soon that came to an end, and, with it, my time of wandering the world.  Things just got shakier after that.

I returned to the States with no real plan, no money, and no idea what to do.  I knew I had changed so profoundly since leaving my home for Hawaii all those months ago, but I hadn’t really had time to process who I had become or, rather, who I was still becoming.  I was lost, but I took refuge in my tower.  It might not be as sturdy as it once was, but it was familiar, and that felt safe.

After several months of questioning, wallowing, and job-hunting, I finally decided to start my new life in Austin.  I arrived with a job, but no place to live, and still no money.  But I was feeling determined to make it work.  I spent three months living in my compact sedan.  I kept telling myself that it was an awesome adventure, but when I got really honest with myself, I was met with embarrassment, discomfort, a strong sense of failure, and yet more shame.  I didn’t choose to live like this.  I was living in my car because I couldn’t afford to live anywhere else.

How could I be living like this at my age?  What’s wrong with me?  I have no house, no partner, no kids, no community, and no clue.  Why can’t I get my life together?

This, I believe, was the final lightning strike that collapsed my already shaky tower.  It kindled that inner spark born at Kanekiki, and the whole thing went up in flames and came down in a tumble of stones and bones.

Knee-deep in rubble, I realized that I have been living my life half asleep for a very long time.  I have been operating from a place of knowing what I didn’t want, but having no idea what I did want.  I will never be able to cultivate a life that makes me happy until I understand what it is that will make me happy.  Out of the debris of all the challenging experiences during my journey, I was able to start piecing together a new picture of what I want my life to look and feel like.  I began to have a clearer understanding of what I want.  And in that moment, I began the slow and steady process of rebuilding my tower.

I’ve made some progress, but, as with any construction gig, there have been setbacks.  And I really have no clear idea when my completion date will actually be.  I’m still undergoing some pretty intense moments of destruction, too.   It’s like I’m now in the dance of one step forward, two steps back.

Once in Austin, work was slow to start, but with just a little time, I built a strong base of wonderful and loyal clients.  (Add a new layer of bricks and mortar!)  This allowed me to find a better living situation.  I still didn’t have a ton of money, and Austin is a crazy expensive city, but I was lucky enough to find a room for rent in a home in one of my favorite neighborhoods.  It was in walking distance to a grocery store, to my job, to downtown, and to a free public natural springs swimming pool.  It was unbelievably cheap, too.  (Yes!  Add a brick, please!)  I would be living with two other folks around my age – an artist and a yoga instructor/musician.  (Awesome!  Another brick!)  It sounded amazing.  I was so grateful to be out of the car, and into a proper house.  But I soon realized that, while the price and location were perfect, the living situation was not.  One housemate was great, but the other, the one who was there all the time, was very, let’s just say, difficult.  I was doing my best to hold space for him, to send him love as a fellow human being who was doing his best in this world.  But, I was sitting in a pile of rubble, man!  I just didn’t have the internal resources to manage that crap.  So, my fledging foundation took another hit.

Then I decided to move to Asheville, to be close to my sister and her new baby.  Meeting my niece for the first time really filled me with love and provided some unexpected clarity.  Moving here, and seeing her nearly everyday, continues to do so.  More bricks in the walls!  Hooray!  

But, my new job, which seemed so bright and shiny before I moved, is starting much slower than I’d hoped.  And no one working there is ever as busy as I was at my job in Austin.  This concerns me.  Potential damage could come of this, though I’m trying my darnedest to stay positive.

Another wrecking ball came to tear down some of the new building when my car, Gertie, finally gave up the ghost.  So, now I have no car, a job that has yet to convince me it will pay my bills, and no second job – as my second job was as a delivery driver … which kinda requires a car.  (More rubble.)

Luckily, my sister has offered to share her car with me, so all is not lost.  (And … add a few more bricks, thank you!)

But, still, here I sit in a construction site of a life that looks like it’s being overseen by Animal from the Muppets.  My life is a mess.  Nothing is certain.  I can’t read my blueprints because I’ve been crying.  A lot.

But this is what happens when we are letting go of old limiting beliefs, old structures of identity and old paradigms of perceived truth.  Those old thoughts and behaviors fight back.  We have to struggle with them a bit in order to get them to release.  Sometimes it might seem like they are winning, and this is when the tower begins to falter.  But other times we can subdue them and make some real progress in the reconstruction of this new tower, this new life, this new identity.

It’s like Jen Sincero writes in her book, You Are A Badass:

[Your Ego, aka. your old limiting belief system] will do everything it can to stop you from changing and growing, especially since you’re attempting to obliterate the very identity that you and everyone else has come to know as “you”.  Growth ain’t for weenies, but it’s nowhere near as painful as living the life you’re living right now if you’re not really going for it. 

I’m determined to stay with this rebuild as long as it takes, but I sure do hope there’s more progress than regress from here on out.  I’m using my Summer of Reinvention to experiment with new practices and routines that will help me to be more productive, more actively engaged, and more blissful (of course!) in my life.  I’m feeling really hopeful.  And I am feeling some momentum.  And that feels good.

Have you ever had an experience in which everything you held to be fundamentally true about your self/life completely fell apart?  If so, please feel welcomed to share your experience, and/or what tools you used in your rebuild.  I’d love to hear from you and connect over this shared experience!

Thanks for taking the time to make it all the way to the end of this long and confessional post.  I am so grateful for you!

Wishing the most blissful of experimenting,

melanie

Summer of Reinvention

It’s been a minute since I’ve been committed to regular updates on this blog.  I’m glad to be back and sharing my journey once again.  If anyone is out there reading:  Thank you for following along.  If not, well, that’s okay, too.  Writing is an important tool for me to help process and track my personal growth and wellbeing. 

This return to regular posting is part of a bigger life restructuring for me.  After nearly two years of nomadic wandering, I am finally setting down roots for a while.  If I’m honest, it’s long overdue.  But, if I look at the big picture, and get even more honest, all that wandering had to happen to allow my arrival at this place in the present moment.  So, I allow that all the discomfort is worth it.  (Discomfort, after all, is merely an alert that I’m not allowing my desires to be fulfilled.  The alert is what motivates me to make positive change.  It’a a good thing!)

There are a lot of cosmic factors playing into this restructuring, which I’ve dubbed my Summer of Reinvention.  (I’m giving this season this moniker, because I like titles and it gives me a clear theme to work with for a specified time.)  For starters, at my birthday in April, I transitioned from a 9 year to a 1 year.  This is part of the recurring numerology cycles that we experience through life.  The 9 year is a time of wrapping up loose ends, purging the last dregs of what doesn’t serve the higher good, and generally going through a massive inner/outer housecleaning in preparation for the transition to a new cycle.  The 1 year is all about starting over, but with the added wisdom of lessons learned in previous cycles.  There tends to be more clarity, motivation, and momentum in a 1 year.  It’s not always super immediate, though.  I liken it to my favorite quote from The Tortoise and The Hare:  Slow and steady wins the race.  This is time to reorganize, set goals, and set up strategies for how to reach them. 

Astrologically, we are about to enter the eclipse season.  Mars is retrograde.  Jupiter has been retrograde.  Mercury is about to go retrograde.  And undoubtedly, many other transits are conspiring in the heavens.  Since I’m merely an astrological novice, here’s a snippet from one of my favorite astrologers, Charlie Cross (astrologyally.com) to explain the current landscape a bit better:

This Thursday’s New Moon initiates Eclipse season, but we’re already in the midst of some strong astrological weather.

Tuesday, Jupiter stations direct after having been retrograde since March. The Sun has been opposing Pluto for a week (which will be exact on the New Moon, and then present for another week), and Mercury has entered its retrograde shadow.

Altogether, there’s the sense that this week is a turning point on a journey that will quickly ramp up in intensity through the next couple months.

This Spring and Summer, Jupiter’s retrograde has had us tuning our navigational compass, questioning our maps and guides. At the end of this process, we ought to feel more mature, less able to be fooled, and ready to jump into a more substantial adventure.

The Sun’s opposition with Pluto is an encounter with the intense, naked truth. It demands that we live authentically, taking seriously our deep sensitivity and discarding that which doesn’t serve us. Pluto offers us riche, if we sacrifice (make sacred) unneccesary compulsions and reclaim that which we’ve pushed to the shadows.

So many star- and planet-fueled energies to aid in my process of reinvention!  Another astrologer, Shannon Gill Jones (www.shannonjonesastrology.com), has this to say about eclipse season: 

Eclipse season is a portal time. A time when the universe opens up and showers upon us cosmic seeds of reorganization in a catalyzed fashion in order to wake us up and propel us forward on our evolutionary journey. Expect the unexpected!

So, you can see that there is a lot of cosmic energy supporting this reorganization and reinvention.  And thank goodness, as I will take all the support I can get during this process.

What are some of the ways I’m navigating this process?  I’m so glad you asked!  It’s still unfolding, so I reserve the right to add/delete/change any of this as I go, but for now, here’s a list of the activities and practices I’m using to make this reinvention successful:

  1. Getting clear on what I want.  In high school, I had a fairly clear picture of what I wanted.  I was going to go to college.  I would become a doctor (a neurosurgeon, no less).  I would get married and have kids.  And I’d live happily ever after.  About a year into my time at university, I realized that this dream was no longer true for me.  I was changing, growing.  And that was fine and good.  The problem was that I shifted from a place of knowing what I wanted, to knowing what I didn’t want.  And somehow, I’ve managed to stay stuck in that place ever since.  I wasn’t even aware of it until I started exploring the Law of Attraction in earnest over the past couple years.  It took me a while to wrap my brain around the idea that I was approaching goals (and life) from a negative point of awareness by neither having clarity around what I truly desired, nor what was motivating those desires.  And once I was able to fully understand that, it’s been a slow journey of shifting my perspective toward the positive point of knowing what I do want and what I hope to gain by fulfilling those desires.  I’m still honing my vision, but I have a much better idea of what I’m moving toward in my life – rather than what I’m moving away from.  That leads me to …
  2. Setting specific goals.  I sometimes struggle with setting big goals on paper.  I mean, I enjoy the process of writing the goals, but I often neglect the action steps needed to achieve them, and, therefore, end up failing before I even begin.  So, in lieu of writing out a big list of over-arching goals, I am starting small with some consistent action plans.  I have created a calendar for myself that includes dedicated times for all the things I want to work on during the week.  This includes, of course, the more mundane obligations like going to work, feeding myself, and the like.  But I’m also scheduling time for fitness, writing, working on personal business tasks, cultivating social connections, practicing meditation, and other activities that either excite me or bring me closer to my desired vision for myself.  I may not get everything done every day, but having it laid out for me on my calendar makes me more aware of how I’m spending (or wasting) my time.  It’s gentle, built-in accountability.  And the more I do, the better I feel.  The better I feel, the more motivated I am to keep doing it, and to do even more.  It’s a beautiful snowball effect. 
  3. Enlisting support.  This one has been a fail for me in the past.  I have been historically rotten at asking for help.  When embarking on something challenging, I have a tendency to want to keep it to myself until I have perfected it enough to bypass the embarrassment of the messy beginning stages.  This, of course, is total bollocks.  It’s in the messy beginning stages that I am able to allow myself to be truly vulnerable, to let go of expectation, and to allow myself to make mistakes … mistakes which inevitably blossom into new wisdom and skill.  Without support during these not-so-perfect stages, it is easy for me to give up and fall back into old tried and true patterns.  Without support, I’m more likely to continue down a path that doesn’t serve me – that, in fact, only perpetuates what I don’t want – just because it’s familiar and I’m pretty good at it.  (Again … bollocks!)  So, this summer I’m enlisting the help of others to not only keep me accountable, but help bolster me when I’m feeling discouraged by the lack of competency that inevitably comes with learning new things. 
  4. Investing in myself.  This is yet another area in which I have historically been remiss.  Having been raised a good Southern girl, I often put the needs of others before my own.  And while this can be a fine practice once in a while, it’s very limiting on the reg.  I’ve recently been consciously investing both time and money into my own wellbeing … even against those inner voices that have been spouting refrains from the chorus of scarcity.  “You can’t afford this!” they cry.  “I can no longer afford not to do this!” I reply.  I’ve enrolled in an intensive year-long coaching training course.  I’m doing some health coaching with a mentor to try to correct my D, B12, and Iodine deficiencies.  I’m investing in the supplements needed to correct those deficiencies.  I’m committed to getting more regular bodywork.  I’m making time for physical fitness.  I’m setting a priority around getting enough quality sleep.   I’m starting a women’s circle, which is an investment not only in myself, but in my community.  These are just a few of the ways in which I’m investing in myself.  I hope that more opportunities will arise as I continue down this path.  So far, I’m feeling really good about these investments, and, I suspect, the returns will be even greater than I can imagine.

There it is.  The crux of my plan for my Summer of Reinvention.  May the sharing of my experience serve you in some positive way.  If you have tips, ideas, or thoughts to share, please feel encouraged to leave a comment below.  I love receiving other perspectives!  Until next time …

xoxo,

melanie