Sunday, June 5, 2011

What is an Inner Life Adventure, and Why?

What in the heck was I thinking naming my practice Inner Life Adventures?  Like everything in life, there is really a lot in there.  Inner Life Adventures really speaks to what happens inside all of us in every moment.

Inner - Even though the focus is on the “inner,” integration is everywhere.  Just like there is no separation in mind and body, there really is no separation in inner and outer life.  Our "inner life" - thoughts, beliefs, and feelings we have about ourselves and the kind of world we live in, weather we are aware of them or not affect how we participate in our "outer life" - the world of relationships with friends, family, lovers, employment, and world.

Have you ever made a Mobius strip?  Take a rectangular piece of paper, give it a twist and tape the ends together.  Now put your finger on one surface (not the edge - no paper cuts please) and trace the entire paper.  You will see there is no front or back, no inner or outer. Even though you started with two distinct sides, when you connect them, you see it's all the same. The same is true about our relationship with life.  Connecting these two sides is what we do when we start focusing on our Inner Life Adventures.  We choose to focus on "Inner Life" because it is much easier to watch and it is the only thing that we can hope to control.

Life - Life is rich.  In this practice, we aim to study all of life, both the positive and the things we don’t usually want to think about.  It is all a part of life and it’s all good!  When we start to pay attention to our Inner Life, we gain access to so much more in both our inner life and our outer life.  After all, it is through our 5 senses that we take in information about the world, which registers only inside. 

Imagine for a moment you are walking down the sidewalk.  By focusing on what is happening inside you, you may notice in just this simple act, you are aware of the weather, the surface you are walking on, the people around you, the plants, animals, types of buildings, cars, bikes, and so much more.  Also, you have stories that are starting to play, being triggered by those things. Some people may seem friendly and remind you of someone you love; others may seem scary and make you feel afraid, some people may trigger judgment, some people may bring up your compassion. 

All of this and more is happening inside us at lightning quick speeds, most of it out of our awareness. By learning to pay more attention to what is happening inside, we gain access to that much more of life and we can start to see our patterns of automatic behavior and learn more about how we react rather than choose in every moment of our life, ultimately giving us more ability to create the life that we want, rather than being controlled by it.

Adventures – Looking inside is an exploration.  You never know what might turn up, so it is important to keep a positive, curious, experimental attitude. Sometimes, doing inner work can be tough. Most people, myself included, don't really want to look at those parts of ourselves that are hurt, scared, neglected, or tender because we don’t want to feel those things. When we honestly take a look inside, we will see things that are really awesome as well as things we may not want to see.  By taking the approach that it is all normal and viewing exploration of our inner life as an adventure, every thought, feeling, and behavior is accepted as part of being human, being honest with ourselves and exploring all parts of us can become exciting and fun, seeking out new information about ourselves. There is no such thing as a problem, only information.  We don't explore problems, we go on intrapersonal adventures which help us with interpersonal and "outer life" adventures.

There is so much more that could be said about this, but words can only do so much, your Inner Life Adventure is experiential.  This is enough information to get you started.  By shifting our view of life just a little, to be an exploration of all of life and by looking inside to do so, life becomes much more rich and exciting!  I invite you to contact me and comment below on your thoughts, experiences, and questions. But most importantly, I invite you to fully step into your own Inner Life Adventure!


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