A fundamental concept I help my clients to understand is that their outer world is merely a reflection of their inner world.
All change begins by first changing our insides. Life is like a movie playing out the inner stories we believe to be true about life and ourselves. From within, our core selves hold the movie projector. Our consciousness is the viewer.
When I first heard the philosophical quote, “I think, therefore I am” by Descartes, in my sophomore year college psychology course, the idea didn’t sit with me well.
I didn’t think thoughts had much power.
Now I know the truth is—they really don’t.
Thoughts themselves are powerless and weightless. They hold no depth or gravity. We choose to give our thoughts power. We cling to them. It is like clinging to a cloud that quickly evaporates and changes to another weightless thought. Chasing a chaotic loop in a machine that only functions to loop.
However, what I didn’t recognize at the time was perhaps Descartes was not referring to the thinking of the mind, but pointing toward a deeper knowing arising from within the body.
This knowing, this thinking, has weight, depth and gravity too. This inner knowing is grounding. Not like a cloud, but an anchor.
These thoughts are more coiled around our identities and who we are.
In fact, these thoughts, we might not even consciously think about. They are deeply rooted in the guts of our stomach and mostly bloom in our sub-conscious.
Personally, I would think Descartes’ statement would hold more power if instead it was revised to, “I know, therefore I am.”
An example of a powerful negative “knowing” I have experienced personally and with clients is: “I know, I am unlovable…therefore I am.” Lo and behold, the movie of our lives plays out before us, supporting our deep unmovable stories of un-lovability.
Negative internal beliefs of what we “know” to be true were planted at some point in the past and spread viciously throughout our internal system. Like gnarly weeds suffocating our precious blissful garden of peace and joy.
Where these negative beliefs come from, both individually tailored and common in many cultures, doesn’t really matter at this point. The point is if we want the story of our lives to change, we have to dig up these weeds and plant some god-damn bountiful flowers. Our favorite flowers.
Okay, so how do we do this?
I mean, I know a lot of us are already aware of some strong negative internal beliefs we hold, for example—being bad, wrong or inferior. Having awareness and pinpointing what these beliefs are is just the first step. The next step is changing them. The retrospective opposite of the example given earlier would look like this: “I know, I am lovable…therefore I am.”
So what is the gap in-between? How can we can truly fundamentally shift such deep beliefs we carry about ourselves?
It is permission for ownership.
To own something, is to coil our core selves around it and to transform it to become one with us. This ownership becomes a fundamental anchor in our identity.
A lot of time, we have not had permission to own pieces of ourselves that we have consequently abandoned.
Our internal story may look more like this: “I think…I don’t know what I think…therefore I don’t know who I am.”
So instead we look outside of ourselves for something to own. Hoping that the ownership and attachment outside of ourselves will give us security and a sense of inner knowing. We embark on a relentless quest for someone or something to tell us what to think and who we are.
Our internal belief being, “I have had no permission for ownership.”
When the character Khaleesi from “Game of Thrones” hit the air, she was a huge symbol of female empowerment. I had a friend who found the strength and courage to divorce a man she didn’t love anymore because of the sole inspiration of that character.
What was it that had her feel so empowering?
“I am—the Mother of Dragons.”
She took ownership. In ever scene she kicked ass, because she took ownership, of her lineage, of her name, of her role, and ultimately—her destiny. I image her internal monologue to be akin to: “I know, I am the Mother of Dragons…therefore I am.”
When we don’t have permission for ownership, we do two things. One, we look for something or someone else to attach ourselves to, that we in fact don’t have ownership over. This is for security reasons. Two, we seek for others to give us the permission we are looking for.
Looking for the permission outside of us looks like the karmic cycles we get sucked into that we can never seem to be able to break out of.
In this case, the karmic cycle would be similar to:
1. Not owning our brilliance until our brilliance is credited, but our brilliance never being credited until we own our brilliance.
2. Not feeling secure until all needs in your life have been met, but not having your needs met until you feel secure.
3. Not loving ourselves fully until we have been fully loved, but not being fully loved until we fully love ourselves.
I had a client once who came to me and declared that he was cursed with women, and I could never persuade him otherwise. It was something outside of him and beyond his control. He even wrote out a very convincing laundry list of events to prove his point.
I honored everything on his list. I honored every single instance that occurred which brought him pain and had it be that he believed the story that he was cursed.
Additionally, I let him know that waiting for God to prove his story wrong was never going to happen. Never. He was going to need to own a different belief about himself and within himself before anything ever changed from the outside.
He had to be the one to give himself the permission to own a different story.
Any karmic circle that is created—you are the one responsible for breaking it. What are you afraid to own?
Maybe you have no permission to own:
Your love for your self and another
Your needs and wants
Your desire…for more
Your pleasure and body
Your brilliance, art and success
Own your story.
Maybe it is as simple as beginning to own what it is you are feeling:
I am sad.
I am hurt.
I am angry.
I am happy.
I know, that I am deserving of my deepest desire, therefore I am.
If I can offer any assistance in your journey—for what its worth, I give you permission. To own all is wild, majestic, lovable and brilliant within you. With that little push, I pray you take that permission to own for yourself. To step into your power—and a new story to live out.
Author: Leah Petrusich
Editor: Catherine Monkman