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Purposeful Self-Awareness: What Have You Signed Up To Do?

Mirella De Civita, Ph.D., PCC, MCEC
, President of Papillon MDC Inc.

Most of us go through life not paying attention to our inner voice, barely audible due to our focus on getting things done. And, if we hear a whisper, we quickly shift our attention toward the things we have convinced ourselves are more important. In fact, we often confuse what is immediately important with what is fundamentally important. And, soon enough we find ourselves stuck and unable to move in any direction because the dialogue in our head is dialed up reminding us about all the reasons we should not change direction and what we would lose in terms of material possessions if we did change direction. I know all too well what being stuck feels like as I was one of those individuals who ignored my inner voice with all the excuses I gave myself for not fulfilling a role that I had actually signed up for. “I often felt as though I was marching through life always having a primordial drive to becoming something, and sometimes not understanding why. Just like instinct influencing a caterpillar to crawl through life to find a spot to cocoon. I too felt in some parts of my life as though I was always looking for a place to land. But why must a caterpillar cocoon? What if someone accidently steps on it? Then what? The caterpillar destined for transformation would be no more. And what if I am the caterpillar? How far over the horizon and around the corner am I actually seeing if I am not paying attention to the elements that may indeed prevent my transformation?  If I am to experience a transformation of any kind, I must be willing to look back on my life and understand where I was in order to understand where I will emerge. Therefore, knowing that I could not change some of the decisions I had made, I was pressed on to engage in a profound self-reflective activity, which would become a passage to my soul….” [excerpt from The Courage to Fall into Life: The Tao of Purposeful Existence, 2011] We find blame in what others did not do for us. We convince ourselves that the ‘timing’ is not right. We rationalize that we are not yet ‘good enough’, and we even go so far as to fabricate a narrative story that keeps us stuck in a past that reminds us why we can’t aim for the place that we know deep within us is the place where we naturally belong.

Give yourself permission to listen to your inner voice

What I have come to realize is that WE are this infinite intelligence propelled by our purpose. This sense of purpose goes way beyond this physical self and beyond all of our possessions whether in the form of knowledge or things. By not giving ourselves permission to listen to our inner voice, we go through life looking at events, circumstances, and people in a circumscribed way. We lay blame on the things we feel could be better or different. We look for behaviors we don’t like in others and soon enough we create conversations with others that pins ‘us’ vs. ‘them’. We move through our day noticing all the ‘stuff’ we resent, and it is resentment that will drain us. Before long we are trapped in a life that we cannot claim to be our own. What if for a moment, you were to pay attention to this inner voice? What if you were to give yourself the freedom to listen to your inner music, what would you do differently? Purposeful self-awareness is about paying attention to that part of you who has been silenced. Paying attention to this part of you is noticing how your own “self-agency” is being shaped by the things you tell yourself ought to be, how people ought to behave, and how circumstances ought to unfold. None of those things are real. In fact, all of those things are fabricated by a mind that is fashioned not by your inner voice but by what you have come to believe ought to be. And, this is where your own leadership gets trapped. You lead others on the basis of what you think is right and what is wrong. You speak to others from a place of personal bias and self-preservation. And, you make decisions on what harms you less. In a nutshell, you lead others without a sense of purpose because you have not yet claimed yours. There is an old Chinese adage that goes something like this,

“When you go around saying, “this is mine” or “this belongs to me” it is disenchantment. When those things confirm you, this is enlightenment”. 

Wherever you are at this moment in time, simply sit, close your eyes, and listen to what that inner voice is saying. Perhaps right now, you cannot hear it.  Tomorrow will come, and you may not hear it. It may take a few more sitting moments like this before the voice that was once inaudible is heard.  Listen.  Listen. What is it asking of you?

Learn more about Dr. Mirella De Civita, President of Papillon MDC Inc.

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