“Inside Out” is one of my favorite tracks on Madonna’s new CD, Rebel Heart. She sings “Let me love you from the inside out.” So much of our world is backwards. We base our beliefs and actions on outward appearances. We look for things on the outside to make us happy on the inside. A Course in Miracles is all about reversing the thinking of the world. It says in the beginning of Chapter 21, “The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition.” In simpler terms, if you are not feeling peaceful inside, then conflict and chaos will show up in your life to reflect that.
What better example than the story splashed across media headlines recently when Diane Sawyer interviewed Bruce Jenner. Like thousands of transgender people around the world, he courageously shared that his outward picture has never matched how he feels inside, causing turmoil throughout his entire life. No matter how fast he ran in the 1976 Summer Olympics to win the gold medal in the decathlon, he could not run away from what he was feeling inside. Like many, without thinking, I judged his choices for changing his appearance back in the 80’s, and then again more recently if I happened to see his photo on one of the tabloids at the grocery store. I guess I wanted him to match the outward picture of the athlete I had a crush on before I even knew who I was! Now I applaud his decision to transform the outer to match the inner, because I understand that it doesn’t work the other way around. He tried and it didn’t work.
One of my greatest lessons in how futile this is happened when my mother moved to Florida in 2005. I mistakenly believed that her life would turn around here with me. No one knew her past so she had a chance to make a fresh start. She traded evergreen trees for palm trees and blizzards for beaches, yet how she felt on the inside did not change. She did not trade anger for peace, resentment for acceptance, guilt for joy, or feelings of unworthiness for feelings of being loved. It wasn’t long before her drinking started again and her home became an unimaginable and unlivable mess. The outside picture matched the inward condition. Meanwhile, I thought she had to change so I could be happy. The last six years of her life taught me just the opposite. I was the one who had to change. I had to stop thinking there was something to fix. The Course puts it so beautifully in that same section from above. “Therefore seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”
If you want to experience more peace in your life, first be gentle with yourself. Stop beating yourself up for what you think you did or didn’t do. Take a minute to think of your positive qualities or an action you are proud of. Stop looking in the mirror at all the things you want to change. Instead, look for the things you appreciate about yourself. Then extend that same courtesy to others. Stop judging them by their appearance or for their choices that may not match what you would do. Honor them for where they are on their journey, knowing they are doing what they think is best based on what they currently believe. Then look for things you love and appreciate about them. Once you change your mind, your experience of the outside picture will follow!
This is exactly what happens during a private or group session of Family Constellation, and during Life Coaching sessions with me, since I base both on the teachings of A Course in Miracles. If you’re ready to change the inside so that what your experience on the outside can change, visit my website and schedule a session. Until next time, remember the advice the old beggar woman gave to the prince in the prologue of Beauty and the Beast. “She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.” I see the light in you!