Life Changes

Where Do We Go From Here?

five closed doors, one pained yellow, the others white
Image by Arek Socha 

Video version

Life can be confusing. There are so many things going on, so many choices presented to us. Even a trip to the grocery store involves choosing between a multitude of options... low-sugar, sugar-free, no added sugar, and of course sugar-laden (though of course not labeled that way). Low-fat, unsaturated fat, saturated fat, cold-pressed oil, organic, etc. 

What needs to change?

There are so many energies pulling us one way or the other. Many distractions. A visit to Facebook can eat up two hours of your time before you know it. And then shopping online and comparing items and prices, reading reviews, can also make a huge chunk of time disappear. And there's binge-watching a new TV series.

Our time seems in short supply, even though we still have the same amount of time we've always had each and every day -- 24 hours. 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds. What has changed is our use of that time. In a society where we were promised a shorter work-week, not only have the work-weeks become longer, but many try to get overtime or additional jobs to increase their income.

So what needs to change? First and foremost, while there are many things "out there" that need to change, the only thing we have ultimate control over is ourselves. So the first thing we need to change is the use of our time. 

Here is some food for thought taken from the book The Unleashed Entrepreneur:

"By far, the most valuable asset that you and I possess is time, and the biggest decision we have on a daily basis is how we choose to spend it." 

What do I need?

We all have various wants and needs. And the things we need are not necessarily the same as the things we want. We may want a bigger house, fancier car, newer phone, or whatever, but we may not really need them.

However there are certain basics that we do need, such as air, water, food, and love. Yes love. Research has shown that babies who grow up without love end up with major emotional and behavioral problems... as well as physical problems.

So what do we need the most? Love. With love all other things are possible. Sounds simplistic? Well, if you are loved, then you will have food, air, water, etc. since a person who loves you won't let you starve. But you will also have so much more than that.

Choosing love as our priority ensures that our lives are balanced on all levels. It also ensures that the planet and its' citizens survive because once we love the planet, we stop allowing the rape and pillaging of it and the harm done to it in the many ways it now takes place. So love needs to be the foundation of all our actions, whether directed towards ourselves or outwards into the world. The well-known saying, "what the world needs now is love", is a truism, not a cliché.

What can I receive more fully?

Many of us on the "spiritual path" are quite willing to give of ourselves, but have a harder time accepting what we need... whether that is love, assistance, generosity from others, compliments, blessings in all forms. We need to be able to receive love, as well as give it.

In order to move forward on our path, we need to learn to accept graciously what others are willing to offer whether that is their time and energy, their love,  or some more physical and material gifts. 

If you have difficulty receiving, perhaps the answer lies in a sense of undeservability that was instilled in you at a young age. Now is the time to clean the slate of old programming and realize that you deserve to be happy, to be loved, and to partake in the blessings that our universe has to offer.

What is the next step?

many staircases branching out in various directions

Whatever our goal, whatever our vision, there is always a next step. And that is sometimes where we get bogged down. Either because we don't know what the next step needs to be, or because we see too many steps to take or too many possibilities, and feel overwhelmed and confused by it all.

As with many challenges we face in life, the first step is to stop, take a deep breath, and go into a quiet space inside our heart and mind. Once we get centered, it is easier to discover the guidance that awaits our discovery.

When we seek guidance, we need to ask a specific question. So if "what is the next step" is a question that doesn't generate  a response for you, then querying various options in your quiet inner space will help guide you to the next step, and then later to the next one as the time comes. The key is to ask the question internally and then pay attention to the answer, however it comes.

What am I ready for?

We have hopes and dreams, and possibly even grandiose visions for our future. However, when it comes down to it, are we really ready for those dreams to manifest? Do we even believe they are possible?

So many times, we demean the validity of our goals and vision, by stating that they are very difficult to attain, or at worse, unattainable.

In order to succeed at whatever it is we envision, we have to be ready to first believe that success is possible, and second, believe that we are deserving of that dream coming true. There may be numerous beliefs and attitudes we need to let go of before we can experience the manifestation of our greatest good.

What am I attracted to?

Are we our greatest friend or greatest enemy? We can answer this question by observing our behavior.

If we are constantly attracted to those things and people that are not best for us, then we are not our greatest ally.

It is important to reflect on the things and people we are attracted to and ask ourselves if they are friend or foe to creating a better life for ourselves. Once we gain that clarity, then we are able to make the appropriate choices for our highest good. 

What is true for me?

It can be difficult to gain clarity as we are constantly being bombarded by other people's thoughts, desires, and projections. The advertising industry, in all its forms, specializes in mass manipulation -- trying to convince us of something or the other. And that's not just in advertising but in the TV shows and movies we watch, the books and news items we read, and even everything on social media. It is all geared, intentionally or not, to "help us" see things their way. 

No wonder we get confused as to what is true for us. Do we really need the newest I-Phone, the newest model of whatever it is we are being sold? Do we really need to avoid carbs at all costs? Do we really need to be thin as a rail? Do we really need all the drugs they are pushing on us? Are we really supposed to be happy all the time? 

Perhaps in order to be clear about what we want to create in our lives, we need to be aware of what is true for our own self. We need to learn to tune out the suggestions that are carpeting the air waves, and go within to a still quiet space and ask ourselves: "What is true for me?" This will lead to the path of our fulfillment and the way to experience it on a daily basis.

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Article inspired by:

Inquiry Cards: 48-card Deck, Guidebook and Stand
by Sylvia Nibley  (Author), Jim Hayes (Artist)

cover art for Inquiry Cards: 48-card Deck, Guidebook and Stand by Sylvia Nibley  (Author), Jim Hayes (Artist)The deck that asks YOU the questions… because the answers…are INside you! A new kind of meditation tool. A delightful game to engage family, friends and clients in new ways.

We humans have a habit of looking OUTside ourselves. Especially for the big things, like love and power and answers to our most challenging questions. And that gets us into all kinds of trouble. The purpose of this deck is to turn that around and practice looking INside ourselves for answers, and in the process, train the mind to ask better questions.

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About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on


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