First published 01/2012
The other day I drove by a young man standing on the middle berm of a busy highway right beside a stop-lighted intersection. He was holding up a handmade cardboard sign common to roadside panhandlers that read, “Need gas money!” with the appropriate prop sitting on the ground beside him: a red, plastic gas can. All the while he was sipping on a venti Starbucks frappuccino which as you probably know costs as much as a gallon and a half of gasoline at current prices. Even if he had been given that drink by some generous soul driving by, he was still unknowingly sending a mixed message to all other passersby: “I need gas. Not.”
We humans are brilliant mixed message senders. You might insist “I am fine,” when it’s obvious to everyone in the room by your gloomy countenance that everything is not fine. At all. You might be told “I love you” but it strangely feels much more like an attack as it’s said to you with eyes that are glaringly angry.
In my own belief system (subject to change at any time without prior notice), I see the universe functioning as a giant mirror. It reflects back to you who you are in all your beauty and complexity. So when you are lacking clarity in your life and the universe doesn’t seem to be helping, it is often because you are sending mixed messages to the universe and the universe is simply reflecting back to you your own inner conflict. For example, you say, “yes” with your heart to the dream of your soul, but your mind ticks off one negative thought after another as to why you shouldn’t/couldn’t/daren’t move toward the dream. And when you feel one way, but think thoughts in the opposite way, the universe is unable to respond in a clear fashion: does it respond to your feelings or your thoughts? Thus, you set up the universal mirror to act like one big pushmi-pullyu of Dr. Doolittle fame: a two-headed beast going in two different directions at once which gets you nowhere except maybe frustrated and exhausted.
When you are clear, you are in alignment—heart, mind, body and soul—and you will experience the Flow in totality, to support your every need in fulfilling your life’s purpose (not the same as your ego wants). This doesn’t mean you won’t encounter obstacles. You will. It is part of the hero’s journey to learn how to transform obstacles into stepping stones, as well as learn how to read obstacles as signposts redirecting you to fulfill your purpose in a better way than you could imagine by yourself. Without clarity, though, you don’t even encounter obstacles—you just experience inertia, the blahs, and lack of creativity and insight. You feel stuck in the mud and your inner lake stays muddy as the universe reflects back our own unclarity in a spiraling feedback loop.
So how do you find enough clarity to make a commitment (and then surrender the results to the highest and best)? Here are 10 steps to inner clarity!
1) Get quiet. Notice your inner chaos and confusion. Observe it for awhile.
2) Examine your thoughts. Ask “why” a lot. “Why do I think that way?” Keep asking “why” until you discover some understanding which will generally lead you to…
3) Feelings of fear. It is a simplification but a generally accurate one that we are either moving from a place of love or from a place of fear. If we’re stuck and not finding clarity, it’s usually stemming from some unacknowledged fear. So name the fears you find in this process.
4) Go deeper. Go below your thoughts and feelings to an inner place of peace and calm. You can visualize this as going below the stormy white-capped sea to a place of undisturbed water below the surface of the storm. Say some mantras here like “I am safe. I am calm.” If feelings or thoughts arise that bring up anxiety just notice them, thank them, let them go and return to the deep, peaceful calm.
5) When you are calm and still ask your self, “What do I really want?” See what comes. It could be anything!
6) Then ask, “Why do I want this?” until you get to the feeling you believe this new thing will bring you more of, whether that’s love, joy, peace, satisfaction, security, etc. Give yourself that feeling now. Imagine that you have exactly what you want and it has given you the feeling that you want more of. Continue to feel this feeling.
7) Realize that since you can give yourself this feeling, you already have and can give yourself at any time what you truly desire! Now that you are feeling this love, joy, peace, or whatever it is, now what do you want to do in your life since you are feeling good? What clarity comes to you now?
8) What one step of commitment can you make—as tiny as you need it to be to not bring up paralyzing angst—to go in the direction of your clarity?
9) Take that step and then let go and see what guidance the universe gives you. The universe might redirect you or adjust your direction along the way. If nothing comes back to you or if confirmation comes back to you, keep taking steps in the direction of your clarity.
10) Repeat process above as necessary!
May all good things Flow to you as you seek ever greater clarity in your life!
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Monica McDowell is a dynamic speaker, author, and practitioner in alternative wellness and spirituality. Find her on Thought Catalog here. She is the author of The Oracle of Devor, The Girl with a Gift, Confessions of a Mystic Soccer Mom, You are Light (internationally published by 6th Books in over 14 countries) and My Karma Ran Over My Dogma, and has the distinction of being the first ordained minister in America granted civil rights by a federal ruling. She lives in Seattle, Washington, USA, and can be reached here.