Times of disruption can provide opportunities that serve us — allowing us to transform challenge into meaningful new choices
As we move more deeply into this time of global quarantine, many people are feeling out of control, frustrated, trapped and unsure about the future. We are all being faced with situations none of us have learned to navigate in our lifetimes.
With a constant stream of negative images and statistics on our devices, an interruption of so many jobs, all combined with the knowledge that there is no cure available at the moment — it is all too easy to become overwhelmed, fearful and eventually even angry. Some people have been hoarding, while others have been shutting down and distracting, simply hoping that things will somehow return ‘back to normal’.
No matter what circumstances you may find yourself in at the moment, I have some good news.
With a little help, we can all learn to dance with life more effectively.
One of the most immediate ways we can do that at the moment involves evaluating the choices we have been making in our habitual lives most recently, followed by introducing some proactive, nurturing alternatives. If we develop a healthy approach, we can all utilize this time of challenge to set ourselves up for a ‘new normal’ — one that is more balanced and meaningful.
Quite often, the quality of our journey is determined by the specific perspectives that we choose. For instance, if our perception about challenges is that they are “difficulties which impede and diminish our life experience,” then we will likely find ourselves resisting, fighting and struggling through the challenges we are presently facing.
If that perspective is familiar to you and you are finding yourself in and out of fight, resistance and confusion, I look forward to guiding you into some healthier alternatives.
One of the most important starting places will be revealing how our challenges actually serve us.
First, let me introduce myself. I am Ron Baker, and for over twenty-five years now, I’ve been a Self-Mastery Coach. Having had the opportunity to nurture thousands of people through a distinct process of personal transformation, my impression is that most people around the world have been moving through their lives without an empowering education about Self, without understanding how crucial nurturing is in our lives — particularly in times of challenge — and finally, without a clear trust that there is real power in the individual choices that we make.
To set up our exploration well, I encourage you to begin with a few questions:
- How have you been doing so far with this interruption?
- Do you already have a nurturing approach that has allowed you to respond proactively to everything that is taking place?
- Have you been using this time as an opportunity to deepen your connection to your inner Self?
I don’t know about you, but growing up, I was never taught how to nurture myself or to use the events of my life as opportunities for developing Self — and I am grateful beyond words to now understand how important these skills are in our lives.
If we want to make this a time of real enhancement, rather than one more struggle that we merely endure, it is important that we prepare to make some empowering adjustments.
The 3 Levels of Self
Let’s start by considering that there are three different levels of Self held inside you: child, adult and Soul. And perhaps surprising, those three levels refer to much more than stages of chronological growth.
For instance, most people have never been taught that there are core qualities and gifts that are held as potentials in each of those three levels:
The innocence, wonder and trust of a child; the empowerment, clarity and passion of an adult; and the wisdom, greatness and sacredness of a Soul.
All of which are awakened most powerfully through nurturing.
Even though this may be a lot to consider at the moment, I find it helpful to have a list of healthy, core qualities that we can reference. Even if this is the first time you have considered some of these elements, each one has the power to deepen the personal fulfillment you will be able to create in your life. Just as important, each one requires an inner investment in Self.
In my early life, I was only taught to focus on outer goals. And it was quite a journey for me to realize that approaching my life in this way didn’t create true fulfillment. Instead, that approach generally leads us into overly busy lives.
Having generations of people who have been taught to focus most fully on outer goals, without a balance of nurturing investments in the inner Self, is the main reason most of us didn’t emerge from our childhoods feeling true wonder about life or a solid trust in our value as individuals.
Self has simply not been a typical priority in the world, as strange as it might sound to see it written in such simple words.
Just see how it sounds if you take the time to say it out loud. “Self has simply not been a typical priority in the world.”
At the same time, I am thrilled to share that when any of us learns to make a more nurturing investment in Self, we put ourselves on a much clearer path to fulfillment. I know this is true, because even in times of challenge, I still maintain a sense of peace and clarity most of the time, which is exactly what I wish for you.
Important side note: I will be suggesting some specific exercises as we continue to explore. Keep in mind that it is only when you take a moment to do the exercises that they will have the power to have any real impact.
Besides, when you begin to make proactive choices — such as taking the time to do these exercises — you begin to feel more in charge, based on investing in something you decide is important. This can be particularly helpful in a time when so many people are feeling out of control and unsure how to create tangible solutions.
Finding out that you can impact your own experience will also inspire seeds of courage and clarity.
Lastly, whenever you make nurturing investments in Self, you send a clear message to your inner Self that you matter.
On the other hand, when you move through any of your challenges without nurturing, you tend to build fear and self-doubt instead — qualities of what I like to refer to as a wounded child versus a wonder child.
All of that leads me to more good news: it is never too late to invest in claiming Self. As a matter of fact, what better time than now, while many of us have some unexpected time on our hands, to make an initial investment in some nurturing alternatives?
Taking Inventory of Your Life
One of the most powerful tools we can use to set us up for healthy change is an inventory. So for instance, if you take a really honest look at your recent life, you will begin to discover which of your choices have been setting you up well and which ones have not.
Without any need for judgment, it is helpful to become clear — no matter what you discover. Besides, it is only when you are clear that you can identify where you need healthier alternatives.
Exercise one. Ask yourself:
- What have your top priorities been in recent years?
- How many of your day-to-day choices have supported those priorities?
- If you had to start over today with a clean slate, which of those familiar choices would remain clear priorities?
- Are there areas of your life (inner Self, work, family, relationships, fun, rest) that have been neglected and need to become a greater priority moving forward?
Please take some time over the coming days, if not in this moment, to write down your answers. Don’t just do this in a random way in your head.
Putting something on paper makes the impact much more powerful.
Once that is done, do the next step on a new page.
Exercise two. Now that you are clearer about what your life has been, make a current list:
- What do you choose as your current priorities?
- What are some of the choices you can make that will set you up well to support those priorities day-to-day or at least each week?
- Name a few NEW choices that you realize you need to introduce that set you up better than before / creating more balance.
- Name ONE new choice that you are willing to begin practicing today.
Another important skill that we all need to learn, in order to truly enhance our lives, involves shifting old, limited perspectives into wiser approaches. For that, let’s return to the subject of ‘challenge’.
In order to get clearer about what you might want to choose moving forward, let’s compare some the more typical perspectives of a wounded child with those of an empowered adult.
The un-nurtured/wounded child part of us sees challenges through the fear of failure, afraid that we are not capable of taking effective steps or creating acceptable solutions.
Without nurturing encouragement, the wounded child is afraid of affirming the doubts about Self that we carry. Instead, this part of us endures challenges alone, fearing we are not safe to ask for help and support.
“I am alone. I don’t know how. It’s all too much for me. I don’t deserve support. I feel pressured to prove myself and I’m afraid to make a mistake!” These are all common perspectives of the wounded child. I know, because these are some of the wounded myths that I carried for many years.
On the other hand, once we begin to show up and nurture ourselves through our challenges, we begin to inspire pieces of the empowered adult potentials instead.
The empowered adult approaches life as a series of learning curves, with constant opportunities to develop Self along the way.
The empowered adult sees challenges as an opportunity to explore new areas, with constant opportunities to discover new potentials and facets of Self.
The empowered Adult learns from their inevitable mistakes and failures, grateful for the clarity that each brings, imbuing them with more effective approaches and a deeper awareness of what works well and what does not moving forward.
Hopefully some of the adult perspectives resonate as tangible possibilities. If so, a helpful choice you can begin to practice as we continue through this time of global interruption is to create reminders for yourself. You might create a sticky note or a reminder that you ask Siri to pop up on your smart phone each morning at a certain time. This is particularly helpful in a time of challenge, when the habitual perspectives of the wounded child fears try to suck you in.
To begin a clear negotiation, evaluating which choices come from the wounded child versus the empowered adult, is crucial for recognizing which of your choices set you up well and which ones do not.
With that in place, I have even more good news. We still haven’t explored the deepest, wisest part of Self — the Soul.
While the Soul may never have been part of your typical conversations, it is extremely helpful to consider. Most of us have never been introduced to the Soul in any practical ways. I would like that to change. The Soul is a very real, practical part of us, that encourages us into wisdom, greatness and sacredness.
What may be surprising is that what is most sacred to the Soul is the development of Self — ultimately learning to love and value Self as the foundation for our greatest fulfillment.
When we consider that we have been living in a world which has not been encouraged to prioritize the inner Self, we can see how much we need to begin considering the Soul.
If we continue with our exploration of challenge in our lives, it is helpful to understand that our Souls actually set up our challenges.
That is because the process of facing challenges is what encourages us to grow the most fully. Encouraging our growth and development is how our challenges truly serve us.
Let’s simply look back to our very first years to become clearer. From the very beginning our lives are structured with challenge, like learning to feed and dress ourselves. If we are nurtured through those initial challenges, we learn to claim the first levels of our personal potential in a sense of safety, love and value. If not, then we develop some important skills, but we don’t develop trust and a sense of safety.
From that point forward, our lives continue to be structured as a series of progressively deepening challenges. Beginning in first grade, we are challenged to learn how to read, how to work with numbers, to share with other children and to be away from home for more extended periods of time. By facing those circumstances, we develop skills and claim various capacities that we will need to thrive in the next levels that we reach.
It is through the process of facing challenges that we gradually develop Self-confidence, building more and more trust that we are capable and have the power to impact our own lives and the lives of those around us, determined by the choices that we make.
When that process of facing challenges is nurtured and encouraged, we even learn to trust that our development as an individual truly matters.
Another gift of the Soul is that it encourages us to focus on teaching the collective, encouraging whatever serves the good of the whole — which is often done by introducing shared obstacles. Our present situation is a perfect example. The Soul recognizes this global interruption as the first time in history that so many people have been able to see firsthand the whole world facing the same challenge at the same time.
In other words, the Soul understands that all things are there to serve us. From that perspective, we have the opportunity to allow this broader challenge to inspire us to recognize that we are all in this together — embracing our shared humanity and moving beyond our habitual barriers and separations.
The coronavirus doesn’t care about race, religion, gender, culture, political party, continent or someone’s perceived status in society.
Just consider for a moment that on a Soul level this pandemic is trying to teach us to come together, helping and learning from one another.
The bottom line is that if we are willing to evaluate our challenges as opportunities, instead of roadblocks and pains in the butt, so much more becomes possible.
More good news. There is an endless list of opportunities that we can all construct that will allow us to make forward moves and healthier choices — such as respecting, honoring and valuing one another in deeper ways than we might have considered in the ‘old normal’ of our lives. I deeply encourage you to continue exploring, and then share some of your inspirations with others. This is another proactive choice that you can make which makes a difference. Again, remember that we hold tremendous power in the choices that we choose to make as individuals.
As we prepare to close, let’s do a recap of some highlights.
Facing challenges is an immediate opportunity to make powerful choices, starting with evaluating which ones work well and which ones do not. We all have learning curves and the need to make mistakes in the process of making forward progress. We can all relate to the process of facing challenges and we all have shared needs. All the while, we have Souls that are encouraging us to learn how to love and value in our lives — starting with Self. And there are some core qualities of the child, adult and Soul that will set us up brilliantly to create a more fulfilling dance with life — IF we allow that and choose that as our ‘new normal’.
Remember that even in a time of quarantine, you do not have to be alone. It is so important that we learn how to communicate and share what we are going through. In this way, we can all become allies for working through our challenges — even if that is only via video chat at the moment.
Over time, it is so important that we don’t forget the lessons of this global challenge.
If we prepare well now, we can begin to invest in relationships that are based on mutual value and nurturing encouragement.
No matter what you choose as your starting places, take it one nurturing step at a time, acknowledging with each choice how much better nurturing feels than separating yourself or spending time blaming others for what you are going through and haven’t chosen to nurture… yet.
There is nothing like a global interruption of our habitually busy lives to give us some extra time to evaluate and make some new choices. The ones I have suggested are just the first of many practical suggestions I would love to make.
In order to provide you with more practical perspectives and nurturing tools, I have created a series of 5 FREE videos for that very purpose. You can easily find those to sign up for at the home page of my website below the opening picture.
I have already had tremendous success in helping people from around the world to claim more of their personal potentials over these twenty-five years. And I am more than happy to show up during this time of shared challenge to help in any way that I can. Now the ball is in your court.
Show up for yourself. Reach out.
If you do, you will be well on your way to a beautiful new normal — one that is filled with meaning, value and purpose. If that is what you choose, you might even turn this time of challenge into one of the most meaningful times of your life. That is my wish for us all.
You may also enjoy reading Amazing Grace: Experiencing the extraordinary within the ordinary by Adyashanti