An Unrecognizable Life

The great solution to all human problems is individual inner transformation.

~Vernon Howard

I remember years ago being involved in an intellectual discussion about the difference between change or improvements and transformation. Years later I attended a business workshop facilitated by Tom Wentz where I gained clarity about transformation.

Transformation is not about something better, a tweak here or there, or eating carrots instead of broccoli with your dinner. It’s about different. It’s about a contrast. Experiencing an inner and outer transformation in life often translates into what earlier might have seemed improbable, maybe even impossible, a vision of something beyond your current reality.

The ability to realize that the way you think, feel, and behave, the essential ways you experience being alive can completely shift plants an important seed for transformation.

For most of my life, I lived as a terrified, traumatized, people-pleasing victim. I sometimes snapped when someone accidentally poked a place of unhealed shame. Unresolved traumas showed up as eruptions in what I called the rage/shame cycle until I steadily healed and released this energy. I regularly pretended to have it all together with a fake “I’m Fine, thank you for asking!” smile.

I now live as an immensely grateful, loving, passionate person. I notice being awake with an unshakeable inner value, peace, and compassion. Sprinkled with moments of utter delight, sadness, laughter, tears, squeals, inspiration, my world feels safe and free. Experiences of being loved and being lovable continue to expand my heart. The Inner Silent Fly on the Wall grows each day.

From seeing, hearing cars, trucks, emergency vehicles, driving on freeways of concrete, entering many different buildings, and interacting with lots of people to now observing deer, hummingbirds, black bears, trees, butterflies, blooming flowers, rain, sunshine, running around a lake, typing regularly on a laptop, and encountering only a handful of people in person became an outer transformation, a thoroughly different experience of daily life.

To transform the only person’s life you can transform, which is yours, you must take responsibility for your words and deeds and set down any sense of responsibility for other people’s words and deeds. You must feel fully the impact of hurtful words and deeds you have done. Choosing not to repeat them and then not repeating them remains critical. Knowing in your bones how criticism chokes, what shame suppresses, how rage regurgitates, you can go about the business of that inner work in your body/heart/soul as you stand in new postures. You can roar out your hurt and anger in the privacy of your bathroom. When you safely release this energy, you can find power in silent reflection, which does not harm anyone least of all you.

Create a safe haven of firm advocates on the outside of you-actual people who see the goodness in you. Join these supporters with the internal affirming part of you, the part of you that knows you are courageous, resilient, and strong. You can work together to cause a complete shift.

When you gather people around you who support and believe in your essential self, they can hold you high. You can hold them high. You become mirrors for one another of what’s possible.

ou can reflect their inner love and strength and they can reflect yours. Transformation takes place in that shift in consciousness, in the namaste of honoring the Love in you and the Love in me.

Discovering the roots of your deepest dreams, passions, a purpose that takes hold of your heart, and does not ever let go, you can begin creating a life you love living from inside your essential self. As this love and passion grows, resentments let go of you. Your attention shifts to what you love about living life, the ways in which you want to spend minutes, hours, days, months, and years as an open-hearted human being experiencing life.

Knowing you have a purpose for being on the planet, that your life matters, that you have dignity and unique qualities, skills, and people who love you can fuel your soul towards creating an unrecognizable experience of being alive.

Allow your heart and body to love what they love.  Connect to what you actually cherish about being alive. Take a moment to write these down or speak them to someone who loves you. Who and what do you care about? Who in your life will breathe deeply, laugh freely today because you are here? How can you embody a holistic transformation?

May you choose new practices that build a bridge to your unrecognizable experience of being alive. May you attract supporters of the essential you and may you be a supporter of other people’s essential, beautiful selves. May we create a transformation in how we experience being alive on this gorgeous planet.


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Laura Staley
Laura Staleyhttp://www.cherishyourworld.com
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy


    • Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughtful reflections. I appreciate knowing that the practical ideas offered resonated for you. Many stages of this process including percolating and pondering. Sometimes becoming curious about a new path opens that door to healing-that there’s a different way to experience life, relationships, and one’s inner world/outer world. Having new practices does concretize the experience-it shifts from becoming a good idea in your head to a more relaxed way of being in life. I appreciate you and your thoughts very much!

  1. Oh my, Laura… this is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story so freely and so honestly. This is the nugget I’m taking with me today: “Knowing you have a purpose for being on the planet, that your life matters, that you have dignity and unique qualities, skills, and people who love you can fuel your soul towards creating an unrecognizable experience of being alive.”

    You, my friend, are a gem and I’m grateful for you!

    • Thank you so much for all your kind words, Melissa! I appreciate knowing that phrase especially captured your attention. You, too, are a gem, my friend. I continue to be fascinated by the neuroscience of all the healing and transforming I continue to experience…to know about the plasticity of the brain and about post-traumatic growth. Yes!! Exciting “good stuff!”

  2. Laura, this essay is truly an inspiration. It provides potential answers to experiences that at the time we knew not what was happening and why. We may put on an act; presenting a face that we think the other person will want to see. Deep down, we are not presenting our true personality; our inner self. Following one’s heart is essential and can and will make a positive difference. More often than not, the heart knows best. Follow your heart.

    Just one of your wonderful ‘messages’ to us all is:
    ”Allow your heart and body to love what they love. Connect to what you actually cherish about being alive. Take a moment to write these down or speak them.”
    Wonderful, Laura. those two lines deliver more than a a volume.

    You have blessed so many of us with your strong and gentle words. For that I thank you so much. Keep spreading the word.


    • Simon, I’m moved deeply by all your kind words and thoughtful, heartfelt reflections. There’s something rich and meaningful about getting quiet enough to hear our hearts and begin to listen to other people’s hearts (beyond their words.) I completely agree with you that the heart knows the way. I have not ever regretted actions taken from love, care, tenderness, and compassion. I believe the when we release the hurts in the heart this begins the healing process towards that full blown transformation. To live from love and imbued with love is itself a beautiful transformation of the soul. Thank you so much for all you’ve shared, Simon. I appreciate you so very much.

    • Thank you so much, Larry, for your kind words. How wonderful that much of your life is now spent in nature. I’m surrounded by nature here in the mountains of western NC and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. Feels like heaven on earth. And you are encouraging, kind, supportive, and engaged. I appreciate you so very much. Thank you for taking the time to read this essay and to share your thoughts.