Ten years ago today I sat in a Beijing stadium, my clothes soaked through with sweat from hours in 100 degree heat and humidity and polluted air, waiting for the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics to begin.
What a bitter sweet memory. I had already chosen to leave my corporate life and was there in Beijing for one final project before selling my Montreal home and moving back to the US.
I didn’t know what was ahead of me. I just knew I was taking a leap of faith, for a life of greater freedom, authenticity and creativity.
At the time, I attributed my frustration, disappointment and powerlessness to the environments I kept landing in. And what I’ve discovered since leaving was that it’s really our inner landscape that creates our experience. That any sense of powerlessness I held within me, against myself, would naturally get expressed in the environments around me. It was my own filter for my experiences.
I keep learning this lesson, over and over again. Each time I get the lesson in a new way… there’s a new flavor, a new perspective, a new opportunity to fine-tune my own inner experience of freedom and self authoring.
Sometimes it takes a dramatic break. A choice to leave a toxic environment to create more space within, so you can hear your own voice, discover your own preferences, give yourself permission to just BE without all of the static. Those moments of choice reflect your readiness for the adventure of becoming. To experience yourself in a new way.
It takes courage to be willing to experience yourself in a new way, without knowing exactly what that new way is. It takes courage to imagine something different, without attaching to some idea of what different will look like.
Since Beijing, I’ve made a few more dramatic breaks from environments — family, relationships, communities. Initially, it’s come from a resistance to the environments themselves, where I haven’t felt seen or valued or honored.
But the deeper truth is that these dramatic breaks have been less about the external environments and more about my own relationship to myself. It’s been a baby step by baby step, day by day journey into my own heart. Of my own willingness to see myself, to value myself, to honor myself. Inside out, without any attachment to how the outside world responds. Only clarity, courage and commitment to my choice to be free of my own patterns of invalidation and dishonoring.
What I am discovering along the way is that from this inner landscape of self-seeing, valuing, and honoring, the choices I make in the outside world become quite simple. Not always easy. But usually very very simple.
How might this lesson deepen over the next 10 years? I don’t know, but I am willing to experience myself in new ways. I am willing to imagine something new.