Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Interior Determines the Exterior

A new friend recently suggested that I write philosophy. This concept was very surprising to me. I was flattered at the idea, as philosophy seems lofty and intelligent, but the more I thought about it, I wondered if that was a good label, because I want to write about practical things that are useful, not only to others but also to myself.

I suppose it depends how the word is defined. Philosophy essentially means thinking and pondering, and I do find that is a big part of my writing. I love noticing the small things in life and recognizing that the little things add up to mean the big ones, if we stop to pay closer attention.

Kids have this down in a way that adults can't easily replicate. They play, fully immersed in their activity, and don't bother to worry about what is coming next or consider that they could be doing something else instead. They simply are themselves, in each moment, and that is something I wish I was better at.

Life is truly the sum of its parts. Moments and days and weeks add up to inform our character. Who we are is what we do, and I want to focus more on who I really am and less on my actions, for one flows from the other, and I desperately desire to be genuine and have my actions match up to my intentions. Faking who you are doesn't get you very far, and I know this from experience. There is a base underneath of your actions which eventually reveals your biases, opinions, judgements and thought patterns. I want to build up that base so it drives my actions, and not the other way around.

The interior determines the exterior. This lesson has been huge for me in the last year. Sitting and staring out the window is working on myself, because I'm able to slow down and pay attention to what is happening inside of me. When I change, my ideas change with me, and I want to constantly become softer and kinder, instead of more rigid and unbending. I've been inflexible for most of my life, and now I want to be pliable and moveable in my personality and ideas.

It's harder than I thought to really change myself. There are moments where I panic, but those are offset by the most incredible feeling of joy, as though I am hang gliding at sunrise in the mountains, and everything seems inspired and beautiful. It's important to keep walking, especially when we are unsure, and develop the confidence to know we will find our way eventually.

Paying attention to what is going on inside is a deeply valuable practice. Our emotions signal to us all of the time, but if we are too busy to listen to what our feelings are telling us, we miss out on opportunities to grow and change. Intuition is an important part of our lives, but we must sit up and take notice when it is talking to us. Respecting and listening to what that still, small voice is saying has been extremely beneficial to me in recent months.

The process of change is long, and hard, and frightening as often as it is rewarding. But it is always worth it, and when something has begun inside of us we are best to see it through to its end point, and while we are alive there should be no finish line for personal growth. If the line is always moving, then we are constantly changing and growing and improving ourselves. I want to keep building my interior, and out of those changes, my exterior life will get better and better.


  1. The closest I get to that child-like flow where nothing matters but what is right in front of me is when I am creating something -- either with words or in any other medium. All else falls away, leaving nothing but joy. My challenge is to bring that joyfulness to everything I do which begins, I guess, with being fully present in ever moment of my day, even the ones I don't consider enjoyable.

    One thing that's proved invaluable for me in my attempts to change the deep-seated patterns of a less-than-stellar childhood is a form of meditation technology called Holosync. If you're interested, you can read about it at

  2. Thanks, Maxine - I see you figured out the anonymous/name issue! :)