I’ve written here before about “The Empty Elevator“. It’s what Martha Beck calls that period of time during your change cycle when you know you’ve really started to change. All of a sudden, the people who used to surround you and support your in your old ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to life begin to disappear. Some of them decide they don’t approve of you anymore (which really means they’re not ready to look at the part of themselves you’ve left behind in your decision to change). Some of them you find you just don’t want to interact with anymore. They no longer bring you the energy you desire to live from.

It’s a tough place to be in. You need real strength and courage to feel totally OK with yourself as you make changes from within, and then, almost like an observer, you watch the external elements of your life begin to dissolve and change as well. Starting in January, I’ve watched almost every existing relationship in my life begin to transform. Some of these people went away without any comment. Others fought kicking and screaming. Still others – the ones who truly love me – have been alternately approaching and avoiding me in an attempt to understand me. It’s been interesting to watch how the people who are closest to me have tended to want to rescue me from myself. I’ve interpreted this to mean that they don’t believe in my own ability to form desires and go after them. In reality I have no idea what their intention is, other than to make things OK in their definition of the word “OK”.

I bought two Jennifer Dahl charms this weekend. I encountered them totally by chance, while I was at the store trying to buy a frame for a photo I have been meaning to put on the wall of my studio for three months. Turns out I need a custom frame (which was unexpected), but as a bonus, I found these lucky charms (also unexpected). I wear them and they make me feel like ME.

One of them says “rebel” on one side and has music notes on the back. The other says, “Those who wish to sing always find a song” – a quote which also appears on the wall of my studio – and “Music Maker” on the back. They make me feel like who I want to be, and who I already am becoming.

For me, the elevator began to fill again when I was able to trust myself. I could never have predicted in my wildest visions that I would be playing in an acoustic rock band called “Chinese Melodrama”, having a ball doing it, meeting new people who want me to play with them every time I show up somewhere, and feeling this peaceful. Back in January of this year, I made a seemingly simple commitment which turned out to be amazingly powerful. I committed to being in my Core of Peace, and taking action from that place.

I knew what it would take to be in my Core of Peace – the courage to tell myself the truth, moment by moment. The audacity to want what I want, and to take small steps toward my desires. The patience to keep doing this over and over again, day by day, even when “nothing” appeared to be showing up. The feeling of gratitude in every moment, no matter what.

I recently made a list of qualities I see in a person who happened to walk into my empty elevator, while I was learning to trust myself. Or maybe what happened was my elevator door opened on a new floor, and when I stepped out, here’s what I saw. I saw a person who was focused, hard-working, generous, unafraid, open-hearted, sensitive, expressive, reflective, clear, joyful, welcoming, inclusive, self-motivated, full of heart, and receptive.

I wrote these down and kept looking at them. Had I ever described another person in so many heartfelt words so soon after meeting them? I liked this list. I liked this person. And then I realized, I was looking at my own new way of seeing the world around me. I was looking at what I am attracting into my life as a result of being in my Core of Peace. All of those adjectives describe what I see in the world, and the qualities I am drawing toward me. These are things I love about me when I trust myself. These are the gifts I have to offer the world.

I’m reminded and inspired by these quotes from J.K. Rowling’s commencement speech at Harvard about the importance of failure and imagination:

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J.K. Rowling

“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” – Plutarch

Let’s keep imagining better, and watch with delighted eyes as our worlds begin to change.

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