Coming Home: Creating Inner CALM
The biggest compliment I’ve received to date is that I look calm inside. Last week it came from two separate strangers. The reason it’s special to hear it is because of all the change and instability I’ve been through these last several years. Moving from Japan to Lebanon, to the states, to Europe, then back to the states again, was mentally and physically exhausting.
Last year especially, was full of angst and pain. I was defeated by the jobs I held with bosses who didn’t allow me to be myself or make use of my full capabilities. Jumping from apartment to apartment wasn’t fun either, nor was opening my heart to love after a series of failed romances.
But towards the middle of 2017, when I penned my first book Eliminate, Meditate, Create, I started doing the work. It wasn’t much yet. I was still bulldozing through life to get things done and feel productive. Then I read Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, a psychotherapist and Buddhist teacher and something in me shifted. Darker truths about my ambition began to creep up.
We get tangled in the papancha of everyday tasks and forget why we’re here. Be present, and love yourself, are vomited cliches because they’re usually taken out of context and slapped where they don't belong, like on sparkly wooden plaques that are yet another wasteful use of trees, or in picture captions of half naked girls on the beach. I have nothing against half naked women, hell if I had it my way I’d live half-naked too. But promoting a sexy lifestyle with the intention of spreading consciousness doesn't pierce our core, because deep down we think: how can she not love herself when she’s naked, beautiful, and soaking up salt for a living? Surely her message doesn't pertain to people like me.
If we want to talk about self-love, we need to get real. I want to talk about conjuring that sweet self-affection when you rip your cuticles to a bloodbath, eat yourself to a disease, or drink yourself to addiction. What about when you sink in an existential crisis that vacuums weeks of your life at a time and drowns you in debt because your degree still hasn’t served you?
Can you love yourself through that?
It’s not easy to love ourselves. Telling someone to just love yourself is like asking them to build an IKEA bed without a manual. In theory, you know what it looks like, but your direction is completely vague.
Almost every industry is saturated with talent. Gender roles are shifting. The Internet is exploding with an overwhelming amount of information. Social apps have changed social dynamics. The cost of living is more expensive. Jobs are unpredictable. Politics are uneasy. Resources are running out in parts of the world.
And we feel it--we all feel it. Because what happens in one place affects every other nook and cranny of the universe. As much as we’d like to duck our heads and hide from it; we know it’s there.
On the flip side, we’re calmer than we have been in the past. More women have the chance to leave professional footprints. Studies on psychedelics are surfacing, and marijuana is becoming legal in more parts of the world. People have readily available tools to hone their crafts, and so on and so forth.
While there is a positive for each negative, so far I’ve only discussed external factors. In order to forge an inner peace that is genuine and lasting, however, we can not bind it to outside circumstances. Anything in our present life can change: jobs, partners, homes, friends, health, etc…
When our self worth is contingent on the success of such details, which isn't always in our control, we lose sight of who we are; we lose the point of living. This is when the self-loathing, depression, and hopelessness settles into our skin.
But should we choose to pause, to breathe, to listen, to reflect, to revisit, to reassess, and to truly become aware of our presence, we can create a inner peace that leaks into every other area of our lives. A year ago if you asked me why I wanted to be a life coach, my answer was simple: to work from anywhere in the world.
I’ll admit it was an egotistical response at best, but not because I don’t love helping people. But I’d lost sight of my true essence. Wrapped in my many layers of conditioning and unworthiness was a little hungry ego craving the attention a certain lifestyle would invite.
Without experiences like this, we don’t grow. My path towards authenticity came from the desire to become a life coach. I knew that in order to be the best life coach I could ever be, I had to iron out my own kinks first. So I am thankful for the goal I set, even if it wasn’t made with the best intention at the time.
I want to be a life coach because I’ve learned that I can trust myself to choose well. In other words, I feel like I can enjoy being who I am without a tugging desire to be more. Moreover, I attach less: to things, people, and places. This detachment has brought balance and consistency to me.
I want to be a life coach to be able to share these gifts in abundance. It is possible to know an inner peace that is more than fleeting, despite what happens on the outside.
Yes, it was with grace that I savored the compliment calm inside. How far I distanced my ego from poisoning its beauty. How I thanked the deep thinkers of this world who’ve emptied their souls for us to learn. They have given me the gift of life: an opportunity to rest, to forgive and love myself unconditionally, and to live lightly like a child again.
My wish is that you keep cracking your shell until the sweetness inside explodes.