We can never make peace in the outer world until we make peace in our inner world.
–The Dalai Lama
What are you creating in your interior world?
These last several months living in Western North Carolina, I notice an expansion of an inner world filled with gratitude, love, and tenderness. While grief, occasional anxieties, and misinterpretations flow through my heart, I also observe consistent creative bursts, a greater ability to respond calmly, and a childlike spontaneity that would make both of my children proud.
As I compose this article my wallet remains missing. The place I’m fairly certain I left it had a note on the door “Back by 3 pm.” I made phone calls, sent texts, and will return to The Cutting Crew this afternoon. I imagine a relieved reunion with my blue wallet. I’m choosing to trust. It’s unusual and liberating. Past experiences have taught me that the unknown or the uncertain do not have to be scary. Lessons in the rewards of paying attention alongside compassion for my imperfect humanity continue to keep me grounded in humility.
As I look out at the lush green trees, the bright fuchsia blossoms on the rhododendron bush, the asparagus sprouts, roses, irises, and overgrown wild bushes I feel peaceful. This new neighborhood remains exquisitely gorgeous everywhere my eyes can see. The quiet at night, the birds chirping in the morning, the ripples on the lake where I run, the sound of the geese, the sight of the ducklings and goslings, the gravel path with green sensuous mountains all around nourish my inner life.
Your interior world may be enriched by other types of sensory experiences. Maybe you prefer a coffee shop with the music, lights, and people gathered or an urban setting of bustle and brilliance. Notice there’s a dynamic relationship happening between outer spaces and your inner world of body sensations, thoughts, emotions, breath, and quiet. No matter where you are you take your inner world with you.
Have you taken time to enhance your internal house with lightness and blissful decor? Is it time to claim your unique way of arranging the furniture of your focus, values, and passion? Have you begun to cultivate a witness that watches peacefully without judgment from a comfy chair or a padded seat of your soul? Could you finally take down the creepy artwork of your nightmares? Are you willing to dismantle the shields and thick walls of anger you’ve placed around your hurting heart? Are there dressers and cabinets filled with loving memories you’ve forgotten?
I recognize we live in a culture that tends to be outward focused on the bling, pings, and pitches. Sometimes easily distracted by what’s going on in the world of people, belongings, interactions, and the ever-changing everything you might be challenged to intentionally create an interior place of safety and comfort where gratefulness takes root and moments of deep quiet emerge. Yet, the benefits of doing so remain rich.
When the mind quiets down a bit, you notice you can hear your heart’s yearnings, griefs, hurts, or all of this. You can build a meaningful connection to your gut instincts or intuition. You could find yourself more easily inspired to the next love-filled action. Faith in something bigger than your fears begins to take hold. Your core can begin to feel strong, resilient, and free.
If you could draw a picture of this inner world would it be filled with flowers, fields for dancing, open doors, and windows for fresh breezes of ideas, a red Hippity Hop for laughter filled bouncing, new pebble pathways created by reverence and wonder? Could there be sculpted ceramics of stone lining the grassy places where old hurts, fears, and resentments lay permanently at rest beneath the ground? Would all the boxes of lost treasure dreams finally be unpacked, ready for gifting to beloved others? Can the energy debris from that critical voice be smudged out of the air and replaced with soap bubbles blown with compassion?
You can create your interior world intentionally. This feat remains within your reach. Some of you choose to allow this space to emerge through prayer, quiet reflection, difficult experiences, meditation, mindfulness, embodied gratitude, or conscious, wakeful awareness. Accessing the design of your internal hard drive can be some of the most beneficial, challenging, joyful, and meaningful play you ever do in this lifetime.
I just now got the call from Joe, the owner of the hair salon. He has my blue wallet. It turns out that he drove to the house last night to drop it off, but I was at the lake on an evening walk. A tearful, happy, grateful reunion with my wallet can now take place. A beautiful interior by design dances with a life filled with grace and kind, generous people.