Ep. 102: Start Close In

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I had a recent client who had a really tough time with letting go of the “how” before allowing herself to be happy, relaxed, and free. Everyday she felt anxious and even downright panicked because she didn’t have “The Plan” for how to create the life she wanted. 


I feel like all of us can relate to this, right? 


We often want focus on how to create the amazing things we want. We decide what we want to create, then we spend a lot of time wondering about how it will work. The logistics of it all. 


I can get really excited and even start dreaming about the steps I’ll take after I’ve created that thing. Like all of the programs and retreats I want to lead a few years from now. Kind of like wondering what you’re going to wear to the grammys… before writing the song! 


We can also come from fear and start to focus on all the obstacles and dangers we need to avoid so that The Plan works out. We desperately feel that it needs to work, because we have put our happiness into the hands of The Plan working out. 


This can be dangerous, becasue when things don’t go as planned, we panic again, because we believed the whole reason we were feeling okay before was because the plan was working. We thought that all was OK because it was a “good plan.”  


When things don’t go as planned, we feel vulnerable and at risk again. 


The main thought error here is the belief that we need to figure out the external elements (the items in The Plan) and change those in order to create what we want to create and feel how we want to feel. 


But can we really even control what goes on in the world around us? In those external elements? 


Nope. Otherwise… we’d probably be doing that. So it’s a common mistake to believe that shifting the external is THE solution to ending our suffering. 


But because our minds haven’t changed, our beliefs haven’t changed, and therefore our feelings haven’t changed. So our actions don’t change and lo-and-behold, the results we create in life don’t change. 


So, while changing the external world may result in a temporary reprieve from our old patterns of suffering, if we haven’t changed the internal world, we will inevitably create them again. 


I’m not saying we don’t ever have to have a plan. But that plan should come from a place where we’ve done the internal work. From already having that ziji – that radiant inner confidence. When we have that ziji, the choices we make and the plans we create will be far more likely to sustain freedom. 


Maybe someone leaves a relationship since they feel unappreciated, but when they enter the next relationship, they still expect that feeling to come from the other person’s actions, and when the other person doesn’t return text messages or constantly flatter them, they feel…unappreciated. Still. Because the internal hasn’t shifted – only the external. 


Again, this is not to say you should leave an unfulfilling job/move to a different country/drop the toxic relationship. DO the thing. Plan for the future and think things through that amazing brain of yours. 


The thing I want to invite you to avoid is thinking that will be the main reason you feel better. 


If we don’t shift our thinking and beliefs to know how to feel that way now, before the thing we want to create happens, we will inevitably be disappointed and possibly set ourselves up for creating the same problem again. 


And in that, we create our own suffering. But when we free our minds TO free our lives, that is true freedom. 


So yes, we need to start close in. Inside. 


David Whyte’s poem, Start Close In (check out the full episode to hear it!) talks about the need to with inside work by encouraging us to do 4 things: 


  1. Listen to our intuition 
  1. Don’t seek answers outside of ourselves 
  1. Be willing to DO the hard work 
  1. Don’t get distracted by dreaming about the future or worrying about obstacles 


So do the inner work. Do the thoughtwork, the coaching, the therapy… face your demons and reshape your beliefs about who you ARE and how you show up in the world. 


Start there, and from there, you can create the plan. From there you can figure out the “how.” 


One way to know what this is for you is to ask yourself, “How do I think I’ll feel when I achieve that goal/dream/lifestyle?” 


That is how we want to feel. And how we want to feel drives most of our action in life, and how we feel in the moment drives the choices we make. 


That is how sustainable, life-changing shifts happen. And this is why practices that help you first shift your mind ultimately lead to more success in helping you actually DO the things that will create meaningful changes in your life: Meditation. Mindful Movement. Retreats with integration. Plant medicine journeys. Thoughtwork…   


So find those things and stick with those. 


Free your mind, free your life. That is what will be worth your precious time, money, and life energy. 


In this Episode you will learn:  

// Why we spiral when we obsess over the “how” when creating our best lives 

// How changing the external world can only result in temporary relief 

// Why we need ziji first before making plans 

// Why the key to permanent, sustainable change is starting inside 

// 4 ways to “Stay Close In,” according to David Whyte 

// One question you can ask yourself now to start your inside work 



// If you’re ready to start close in, head over to AdventureMastermind.com and get on the waitlist for the next cohort – bonus sessions start in July. We start close in. WAY in. 


// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist FB group, and tune in every Wednesday at 11:30am PST as I go live.  


// Want to dive into this work on a deeper level? To study it and practice it together? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out.  


It’s also where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life. It’s where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more, and it’s where you can connect over all things freedom with other freedom junkies just like you and me. It’s my favorite place on earth and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there.