Image by Maciej Cieslak
The first step in changing what’s not working for you is awareness — becoming conscious of what you are currently blind to. You simply cannot change what you cannot see. But when you do see what was previously hidden, you gain the power to change it.
When you can see both the systemically created and the self-generated roots of overwhelm, burnout, and self-sacrifice, you become empowered to make changes not previously available to you.
The systemically created roots are tied to the collective and cultural systems for how we work, educate, relate, and operate, as a society and within our families, communities, and organizations. Ignorant that we could do things differently, we ignore our inner knowing by not questioning what doesn’t feel good or right inside. We accept things as normal, as just “how it is.” However, what we’ve deemed normal for how we work, live, and succeed as a collective world is anything but natural.
Your "Internal Operating System"
The self-generated roots stem from what I think of as your personal “internal operating system.” Similar to how a computer has an operating system that runs its programs and drives its functionality, you have your own version of a motherboard chock-full of programs that drive your emotions, thoughts, and choices.
Your internal operating system drives how you design your life, how you approach your work, and how you define and experience success. It dictates how you give and receive in relationships, relate to money, and operate in the face of all the demands and within the diverse realms of your life. The problem is, the programs within you are much more like blueprints for burnout than imprints for self-sustainability and real success.
Embrace the Power of Your Fierce Feminine Heart
(Editor's Note: while this article is directed to women, the principles presented can apply to all genders.)
As I started to wake up and see the root reasons underneath the burnout, anxiety, pressure, dis-ease, and self-judgment we feel, something inside me ignited. Some deep, primal part turned on. Like a fierce mountain lion protecting her young, I wanted to stand up and roar for all of us, “This is not okay with me! We cannot keep sacrificing ourselves for profit, productivity, or other people’s well-being. There has to be a different way.”
I’ve come to call this part that awakens within a woman our “fierce feminine heart.” It’s the part of you that empowers you to speak up and take a stand when things don’t feel right, even if everyone else seems to be going along with the status quo. It’s the courageous and curious part that calls you to seek a different way. It’s the wise part that will lead you to find the path. It’s the part full of the perseverance and commitment you need to keep going on the days you’d rather not get out of bed. It’s the fuel that keeps your inner faith lit that something more is possible.
Your heart is your power center. The path to liberating yourself out of the ways of working and living that lead to burnout and self-sacrifice is through your heart, not your head. Liberation is an act of love; freedom always emanates from the heart.
Think of any significant elevation in consciousness in human history — women’s right to vote, civil rights, the independence of colonized countries. The catalyst always rises up through the human heart. Revolutionary change takes courage, compassion, and commitment to do things differently. Your personal liberation and elevation will be no different.
When my fierce feminine heart woke up to the root reasons why I kept getting trapped in these unsustainable realities, I knew I had to go deeper. For two decades, I had tried emulating and applying the models for leadership, productivity, happiness, and success I had been taught — first in my career working for others and then as a social-impact entrepreneur. Filled with passion to make a difference, and perspectives from a top business-school MBA, I worked hard to pursue success and security and make a meaningful difference.
Then somewhere in my thirties, I saw the cycle of endless striving and giving I was stuck in, which drove me to continually sacrifice my needs and wellness for a project, goal, vision, greater good, person, team, [fill in the blank].
I finally saw what I’d previously been blind to — the models for success and how to structure our lives, organizations, and societies were not created by or for women. Nor were they created to support sustainability — mine, yours, the planet’s, or humanity’s overall. Something within me told me if I kept working and managing my life, career, business, and family this way, I was going to get sick.
Awakening to "New" Perspectives and Practices
Awakened to the reality that I had been imprinted with such an unsustainable model for success, I turned my focus to finding a different way that could empower us to be successful in achieving our goals — personally and professionally — in a manner that sustains us on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, and relationally. A new reality for success — one that by its nature cultivates wholeness and wellness.
This led me down a path of deep study and experimentation in what’s known as a “wisdom tradition” — specifically, in yogic science, sacred feminine, and indigenous earth teachings, none of which had been talked about in my traditional education or on-the-job training. In fact, as I learned more wisdom, I began to suspect that perhaps there was a reason for the exclusion of this deeper knowledge.
The more I embraced and embodied the “new” perspectives and practices that were really thousands of years old, the more I became empowered to make conscious, wise choices, for myself, others, and the organizations I worked with and created. I became more courageous in speaking up for what didn’t seem right for me, other people, or the planet. I became freer to design a life and a path to professional and personal success that worked for me, even when it defied conventional wisdom and flew in the face of what everyone else was doing.
In the process of my exploration, I found I had a gift for translating deep wisdom into practical “superpowers” for truly succeeding and thriving in these intense, changing times. Not as a mental construct or spiritual ideal but as an embodied reality. I’ve come to embrace this power as how my intellectual-MBA self and my intuitive-mystic self come together to find and create new ways of working and leading that empower us as women to create whole lives, in which we can both achieve what matters to us and receive what we need.
How To Make Everything Shift
As you make different choices — not just in what you do but also in how you feel, show up, and interact on the inside — your reality and relationships (to your work, people, health, money, home. . . everything) shift.
Think of this like an upgrade to your personal internal operating system — mind, body, spirit, and heart. We are elevating the blueprint within you that affects your impulses, emotions, and thoughts, which in turn drive your actions and choices, which determine the reality of your life, work, relationships, health, wealth — everything. Remember, this is more than a set of beliefs; these are imprints that exist in your emotional, physical, and energetic bodies and your mind. To make lasting change, you have to work on the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual realms — all four.
How Transformation Happens
Too often I see people fail at making the changes they desire, because they buy into the overculture’s promises of quick fixes and seven-step panaceas, which may give a short respite or boost of elation but, like most crash diets, eventually revert back to old programming, and they stay stuck. The truth is that lasting personal transformation and elevation is a path, a practice, and a choice in how you live. Change happens in small increments that lead to bigger changes, over time, often following these four stages:
Stage 1: Awareness.
You see what you were blind to before — habits, beliefs, patterns, relationships, and ways of working that don’t serve you.
Stage 2: Reflection.
You still choose to self-sabotage or self-sacrifice, but you can look back as an observer, seeing the impact and how you could have chosen differently.
Stage 3: Change in the moment.
You possess the inner strength to change your behavior, thoughts, actions, and choices so that instead of habitually reacting, you consciously respond. Your imprints and neural pathways begin to break as you choose self-empowerment and sustainability over self-sacrifice and sabotage. As you continue to make the harmonious, healthy choice, you begin to trust this new way, and the elevated imprint takes root, in body, mind, spirit, and heart.
Stage 4: Integration.
The elevated program is installed! How you relate to your work, others, and yourself is different. The choices for how you design your overall life and live your daily life are different. You are freer and more empowered — centered, calm, and clear — within yourself, which your external reality reflects.
©2020 by Christine Arylo. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpted with permission of the publisher.
Publisher: New World Library.
Overwhelmed and Over It: Embrace Your Power to Stay Centered and Sustained in a Chaotic World
by Christine Arylo
The tasks and pressures never end in our culture, a culture built for burnout. But there’s a way to stop stressing and start thriving — to wake up to the underlying systems and unsustainable ways of working and living that sap your strength, drain you dry, and fragment your focus. Christine Arylo shines a light on the external forces and internal imprints that push you into overwhelm and self-sacrifice. She then shows you how to access your power to achieve what matters most, including receiving what you need and desire. You’ll learn to release the old approach to working, succeeding, and managing a full life, and embrace a new way that gives you clarity and courage to make choices in your day-to-day and overall life design that support and sustain you.
For more info, or to order this book, click here. (Also available as a Kindle edition.)
About the Author
Christine Arylo, MBA, is a transformational leadership adviser, teacher, speaker, three-time bestselling author, and host of the internationally acclaimed podcast Feminine Power Time. As the founder of the Feminine Wisdom Way, an online wisdom school for women, and Expanding Possibility, a feminine leadership consultancy, she offers teachings, mentoring, retreats, and trainings that have touched thousands of people on six continents. Visit her website at ChristineArylo.com