Spiritual Integration comes from combining what is in your head, your heart and your gut instincts to make choices that are a true reflection of your deepest core. When you are living from that authentic place; from who you really are, it’s a whole lot easier to know what to do, how to behave or how to face up to a challenge. It’s so easy for us all to look to the outside for guidance, validation and input about who we should be, but this kind of life can be very stressful, because we are always jumping through the hoops set up for us by others, rather than tuning in to what is really important to and for us.
Even at this stage of my life, where I teach and coach other people about looking to themselves for guidance, I still find that I can be drawn into expectations or stories that come from somewhere else. Some of these stories are so old that it’s difficult to even recognize them as stories; we just sort of think they are the “truth.” It’s only when we look at them more closely that we realize that isn’t necessarily so.
I was talking to my coach, Mary, the other day (yes, I have a coach too, because it’s such a powerful process for getting clearer about things) and I was telling her about how I was considering stopping something that I’ve been working on for a while because it was going just sort of so-so. I was torn between the feeling that the moment had passed, that it was time to put my efforts elsewhere and the idea that if I just hunkered down and applied more time and energy I could get better at it, even if it wasn’t as much fun as it used to be. She asked me what I really wanted and I was having a hard time honing in on that because I kept hearing what I thought I should be doing rather than what I actually wanted. Once I identified that this voice telling me what I ought to do wasn’t coming from me, I was better able to sort through what I wanted. In fact, I ended up realizing that it didn’t have to be an either/or thing and that I could create other options for going forward. That’s always one of my favorite moments in coaching – for myself and for others, when the realization comes that there are nearly infinite possibilities and that you don’t have to settle for choosing between 2 less than perfect options.
Every moment of every day we are told by the media, the culture and the opinions of those around us, just how we should behave, dress, talk, think, spend our money, raise our children, vote – you name it. It requires on-going vigilance to separate out your own desires and your own voice from that stream, but when you do, there is a peace and satisfaction that comes from deep within. I am comfortable with my choices, and they come fairly easily, because they stem organically from who I am in my head, my heart and my gut. Sure, I still have moments where I have to actively sort out whose voice is talking in my ear, but once I do that, then I am free to choose what works for me, what nourishes me, and what allows me to sleep well at night. For the most part, the hoops I jump through are my own, and those are plenty. At least I don’t have to wonder if I’ve done a good job by someone else’s standards when I do.