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Susan Ann Darley: Following the Bread Crumbs in Search of Inner Insight

Tune out the outside world to hear the 'still, quiet voice inside'

I recently spoke with two stock brokers and asked them, “Are we in uncharted territory?” One hedged the question. One 20 years his junior said, “Yes, and it’s a bloody mess.”

Wanting more, I asked what he meant. “Political uncertainty, debt is a big deal, there will be sacrifices, austerity programs.” But he’s optimistic about the future with the likes of alternative and green energy. I asked him if he was invested in any. “Yes, a Chinese fertilizer.”

Yep, it’s a mess, and it even smells messy.

So where do we go from here? I can get lost using a GPS, and how well do they function in uncharted territory anyway? So what do we do?

“You must shift the focus of your attention from outside yourself to inside,” says former journalist Tony Schwartz, author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. “You need to hear the still, quiet voice inside.”

Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project, helps organizations and people take charge of their work and life in a balanced matter.

Accessing our inner GPS is easier said than done, but we are in a moment in time where it’s absolutely critical. Why? Because the breeding ground for innovation, creativity and solutions is inside of us. It’s also the place where your next step is revealed.

Technology, however, with all its benefits, is interfering with our internal reception. It’s difficult to “hear the still, quiet voice inside” when you’re computing, texting, tweeting, talking and sorting through mounds of data. Ironically, when technological clutter fills our heads it’s often the exact moment we’re searching for an answer, a job, some direction and guidance.

“Should I turn right or left?” We seek the answer outside of ourselves, often frantically and fanatically — getting even more lost in the noise, clutter, beeps and tweets. Finding your way back home to your truth is not rocket science. It’s about following the bread crumbs. They will lead you to your inner spring where your answers reside.

Five Simple Steps to Inner Receptivity

» 1) Take some time out of your day to spend quiet time alone with you — and just you. No iPads, iPhones, any kind of phone, computer or electronic devices designed to connect you to others. This is sweeping away the leaves in the forest so you can see the bread crumbs.

» 2) Now take pen to paper and begin emptying your head. Spontaneously write whatever comes to mind. You’re creating white space. Clearing the path to the door of inner receptivity.

» 3) Next, put down the pen and spend five minutes in silence. (For some that will be a very, very long time. You won’t die — just do it.)

» 4) Ask for assistance, answers, guidance — whatever you need.

» 5) Listen for your next step. Write it down. Trust it. Commit to taking it.

Why do I call it “following the bread crumbs”? Because it’s scary to walk through the forest alone, without any visible props. There’s no hand holding or busyness to numb our feelings. The bread crumbs will lead you to inklings of inner insight that will slowly but surely bubble to the surface.

“We need less data and more context, less volume and more depth,” Schwartz says.

So pull the plugs, hit the mute buttons and follow the bread crumbs.

Go to the heart of the matter. Dig deep and discover your personalized road map. Begin sooner than later to chart your own course because the herd, just maybe, might be off course.

Susan Ann Darley is a creativity coach, arts writer and author. Through coaching and writing, she motivates people to use their talents and market their creative projects. For more information, click here, e-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 805.845.3036.

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