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3 Powerful Insights About Finding Yourself and Creating Change

Monk

“Get out of your head and get into your heart. Think less, feel more.” ~Osho

When you’re on a spiritual quest in the chaotic outlying suburbs of Bangkok, and you’re having a complete and utter meltdown about your ability to face your inner demons and greatest life fears, where should you turn?

Well, I feel well qualified to answer this question, having been in that exact situation!

Where I turned was a peaceful little Buddhist temple, and more specifically a gentle and elderly monk named Yut.

Don’t be deceived by the “gentle and elderly” description, however, for Yut was also direct and unforgiving in the way he challenged my perspectives and answered questions from my seeking, fearful self.

Surprisingly he was also quite humorous and down-to-earth, which made for a delightfully game changing afternoon that helped to interrupt my meltdown, supporting my breakdown to become a breakthrough.

It was mid-way through my three month sabbatical in Thailand. The preceding six weeks in the paradise island of Koh Samui had been blissful to say the least, then arriving in outlying Bangkok had been quite a shock to the system.

I had followed my own gut instinct and divine guidance to be there, despite my fear of being alone in large cities, particularly ones where I don’t speak the language.

I was at a point in my life where I had to shake things up. I was standing on the precipice of major change, of following my heart and leaving my decade long corporate career back home, where at the time I was National Manager of a recruitment firm.

I had spent 32 years honing my ability to be what I thought others wanted me to be—a “success.” The only problem was that my definition of success was warped.

I thought success and my worthiness was measured by the big job, the fancy house, the material objects. This was, of course, all nonsense that I had created in my head—a story I had bought into, fed by my addiction for perfectionism and a desperate need for security and validation.

I was ready to break out of the box I’d been living in, and this trip was helping me to see the world, life, and myself in new light.

It seems that when you step up in life to invite change, life has a way of guiding you to exactly where you need to be, with whom you need to be with, and hearing what you need to hear.

It would turn out to be perfectly synchronistic that my freak out in Bangkok led me to go in search of somewhere peaceful, which in turn took me to this Buddhist temple where I was very helpfully fed three game changing insights by Yut.

This turn of events would be another building block in one very important and transformative lesson: just be who you really are and that is more than enough.

There was some undoing to be done! In order to be who I really was, I first had to know who I really was…

1. Meditation is a tool to know yourself.

“Meditation is a way to know your true self. All you need to know is within yourself, seeking it externally in the world will only take you so far. You need to look within.” ~Yut

This Thailand quest was the start of what would become three years of daily meditation. Only 5−10 minutes per day, which connected me with my intuition and the real me. Once I connected, I was able to live from that guidance, using it as my number one navigation tool.

2. Knowing yourself opens the way to limitless possibilities.

“As we become more enlightened, as we know ourselves more, truly anything is possible. When you connect to your true self, then life is limitless and anything you can possibly imagine can be your reality.” ~Yut

I was delighted to hear this! I had incorrectly expected a Buddhist monk would tell me all about denial of one’s longings and living a meager life in solitude and silence.

I had big, audacious dreams for my life—to escape the rat race, to be a writer and coach, and to pursue my passion for energy healing, preferably while traveling the world!

Hearing that meditation was a path to my true self, and connecting to my true self was a path to enlightenment, which in turn opens up limitless possibilities for me, well, I was ready to get my meditation groove on!

3. Face your inner demons; own your responsibility.

“While we are all connected, we must face our own challenges alone.” ~Yut

While I believe deeply that our family and friend support networks are fundamental to thriving in life, the truth is that when we’re talking about inner demons, fears, blocks, and limiting beliefs, we have to face up to those ourselves.

It’s a very personal journey to honestly look into the dark crevices inside yourself and truly own the way you feel, the way you behave, and see what is blocking your own thriving.

Taking responsibility for how we are being and what we are doing is something that requires great courage.

Nearly in tears when I first arrived at the temple, fearful of my time alone in Bangkok and facing up to what massive changes I needed to make in my life, the message of having to face my challenges alone actually empowered me.

It woke me up and made me realize that no one else could set me free from my limiting beliefs about what validated me as a person and the blocks I had about risking my security in pursuit of a more meaningful life.

I had to do this myself. I had to build a relationship with the true me and let her emerge, just as we are all called to do.

Photo by Gane

Profile photo of Bernadette Logue

About Bernadette Logue

Bernadette Logue is a co-founder of the blog site http://www.PinchMeLiving.com – inspiring you to BE WHO YOU ARE and DO WHAT YOU LOVE. She is an Amazon bestselling author, blogger, coach and workshop leader. www.facebook.com/PinchMeLiving.

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  • Anders Hasselstrøm

    Hello Bernadette,

    Thank you for sharing this story about your personal quest.

    When did you first realize that you were living out the success of everyone else than yourself? You are now a coach and bestselling author (well done!) but I’d like to know how “chaotic” your life used to be living the life everyone else wanted you to. What inspired you to change? Was it a specific event in your life?

    I’m asking because I think most people are trapped in the same mental cage as you used to be. We are trying to live up to all the expectations of people because we think success is found in fancy job, money and other material goods.

    All the best to you Bernadette,
    Anders Hasselstrøm

  • Beth Gallagher

    Thanks, Bernadette, for this illuminating blog post! I am having my own “Bangkok Moment” at present, and your post has set me on a better path to figure out where I must go from here. I’ll be checking out your website as well. Thanks again!

  • RandyH

    Hi Anders…great questions and I’m anxiously awaiting the answers as well! Peace…

  • RandyH

    Good morning, Bernadette! What an inspirational post and guide for us all…glad I woke up to it this morning! Peace…

  • Kelly Bauer

    Bernadette, I stumbled upon this post by accident and now feel so fortunate to have done so! I appreciate you taking the risk to publish such a powerful and personal story. It definitely had meaning to me.

  • Valerie Rogers

    Wonderful. A truly life changing and spiritual experience for you. I believe we are given all we need to get through in life; each individual endowed with their own unique set of gifts. It is learning how to tap into it that presents a challenge. There are many times where we arrive at that transition point. When it is the right decision for us we will feel it. Listen to that inner voice as it will never betray us.

  • dean moriarty

    been meditating for 40 years.. went to thialand for 2 years and etc.. and done all u did.. i hate life now.. i wish i was dead..

  • Hey Kelly, thank you so much. Awesome that you found your way to the post and it’s neat to connect with you. Blessings and love, Bernadette 🙂

  • Peace right back at ya Randy! Blessings, B 🙂

  • Awesome Beth. I’m excited for you that you’re in the middle of a “Bangkok Moment”, I 100% believe that meltdowns/breakdowns of any type are access points to transformation and powerful breakthroughs, Exciting times even though incredibly uncomfortable to be in. Here’s to the light shining brightly on your path to guide you forward. Love, Bernadette 🙂

  • Beautifully said Valerie. That is so true. It’s having the courage to listen to the feelings we have, the inner knowing, when our mind is full of mental noise (fear, anxiety and ‘what if’ statements). Thank you for sharing your words. Bx

  • Hi Dean, there is sadness within me to read your words, and I know that meditating, travelling and doing spiritual things are not what makes life good or brings us happiness, but they may be a path that help us come to the love and peace inside of us. For wherever you are at, and whatever you are going through, I respect your willingness to say honestly how you feel and I genuinely send you every ounce of light and love that I have within me. Blessings, Bernadette x

  • Thena

    Thank you so much. I would love to hear more about the experience of meditation. I have for some time be able to sit and be still, but not really getting the full gist of what meditation is all about. I think I have good form but not enough substance. What does it really mean when we experience meditation – I’m sure it is different for each of us, but it seems rather vague and abstract (or is that just the point? 🙂 )

  • Luca Samson

    Awesome Post Bernadette,

    I agree with you in that meditation is one of the best tools for truly discovering yourself and really helps bring emotional and mental stability to your life.

    Cheers

  • Thanks Luca! Blessings, B 🙂

  • Hey Thena, great questions!

    Meditation is definitely different for each of us, and what one person believes to be ‘true’ about meditation, may not resonate for the next person. I am definitely no expert, all I can offer is my own insights. To me meditation is about quietening the noise in my mind, so I can better sense who I am beyond thoughts, and to find small gaps of no-thinking where I can feel my connection to source more strongly. As someone who has spent most of my life ‘lost in my head’, I know it’s a very exhausting way to live to be identified with your thoughts like they own you and define who you are.

    What I’ve noticed is that for some of us, meditation isn’t sitting cross legged in silence, but it might (for example) be walking in nature – feeling presence, connecting to our breath, being immersed in the beauty and joy of the experience. It is in that state of presence and inner peace that the noise of our minds is not controlling us (perhaps only for a few moments) – that to me is equally meditative as sitting cross legged practising meditation.

    B 🙂

  • Love your questions Anders. There is only so much one can fit into a blog before it becomes an epic novel, so I’m very happy to expand and answer your questions here in the comments. Also- if the topic interests you, I wrote my books in order to take people in the same situation I was in, on a journey with me, so they can see exactly what happened and how I ended up where I am now. The books answer all the types of questions you have asked here.

    But I’ll share a short summary with what most resonates as relevant and comes from my heart when I read your message above…

    1) How chaotic was my life? My life was busy, but so is everyone’s! My health was patchy, due to my stress levels. The real chaos was not in my external world. The chaos was inside. Confusion about who I really was and what life was really about. The moment when I realised I was trying to live up to the success of what I thought society wanted/others wanted, was when I finally stopped long enough to listen to the pervading sense of unease within me and to ask what that unease was telling me. That may sound vague, but here’s the dealio – I spent my entire life up to 32 years old literally doing everything in my life on super high-speed – like a headless chicken multi-tasking, running everywhere, ensuring I was always busy and never still. I would never really tune into how I felt and honour it. I thought being chaotically busy and on-the-go was just my nature, but it was actually just my conditioned way of behaving out of desperate desire to ‘succeed’ (per what everything in society and life tells us is ‘right’) and from behaving out of fear… I was always anxious and felt like getting as much ‘success’ as I could would make me feel safe, secure and in control. All of which was an illusion.

    2) The point that really made me stop (aka literally stop being so busy, and take dedicated time out to reflect on myself and my life and my behaviours and desires and fears) – came via two key moments. A) I was newly married and thought the next ‘right thing’ to do was to have kids. And I let that become my next obsession and thing to organise and prepare for and dive into… but then I really asked myself what I wanted and started to question if I did really want to have children and scary things came up. I realised I most wanted children so I could escape my job and find something more meaningful to do with my life and children seemed like my only obvious option and the next obvious step per the ‘normal’ path you take when you grow up, get a career, get married, get a house and…. have kids! But the real kicker, the thing that stopped me in my tracks and woke me up…. B) I started to realise that the Universe sends us signs – divine guidance. It started when a friend had just seen a spirit channeller and suggested I go along. I was skeptical but I went, and it blew my mind and lit a fire under me that began a 3 year journey of massive change, where I really awoke to how we co-create our lives with the Universe, what is asked of us in life in terms of ‘waking up’ to live from love (not fear) and how important it is to live fully conscious lives where we get to know ourselves, our talents and commit to giving them into the world. I could talk about the process and learnings forever, as it literally tipped my life upside down – over that 3 year period I left my career, I sold my home and everything I own and started making decisions that were from my heart, not from my fear. Obviously that is a pretty extreme version of change, but it was right for me. I respect that the path others take will be different and not all freedom/peace/joy has to come from massive changes in external circumstances. The process I went through was extremely difficult and fear-striking – to let go of so much that had defined me previously, both externally but also huge process of letting go of limiting beliefs and paradigms that kept me trapped. If that sort of journey sounds interesting, the reason I wrote my two books was to share the first-hand experience with others. I literally wrote what happened as it happened and how I followed signs and connected into my true flow in life. I had never ever thought about or wanted to write before that point, but the passion I had for helping others who felt trapped like I did ended up leading me into this new direction. For once I listened to my passion and not my fear.

    3) The other thing which really helped me wake up and gave me courage to shift my experience of life and how I was creating it, was this… I have always had a very acute sense of my mortality and felt like life was incredibly fragile and short. This due to losing a sister unexpectedly when I was a teenager. It took me a long time to process that grief and channel it into courage to live fully in every day as my true self (not the facade I presented to the world based on a need for security and acceptance).

    I hope this helps. The Bangkok experience occurred about 1 year into my 3 year journey and was just one of the moments of insight that helped me to release myself and feel at peace.

    Blessings!
    B 🙂

  • Nicole

    WOW. That is all I can say. You just affirmed everything I have already thought and believed, it simply helps to have another human being say it because without these words expressed it is easy to fall into that cycle that society pushes us towards. Beautiful.
    Thank you.
    ~NAMASTE~

  • Thanks Nicole, so glad it resonated with you 🙂 Yes, I completely agree it is VERY easy to fall into a cycle that fits what society suggests is ‘right’ for us, instead of listening to the only one source of true guidance for ourselves… our own hearts/intuition. Namaste. Bx

  • Anders Hasselstrøm

    Hello B,

    Booom! That’s what I’m talking about. Amazing reply and now I have a much better understanding of your initial blog post. I want to thank you for taking your time to elaborate and include me.

    I enjoyed it. Thanks!

    Best,
    Anders Hasselstrøm

  • Guest

    Fantastic post!!! Thank you for sharing such life alternating advice that you received!! 🙂

  • lv2terp

    Fantastic post! Thank you for sharing such life altering insight!!! 🙂 What a wise monk, I’m glad you were able to have that experience, sounds amazing! 🙂

  • You’re more than welcome 🙂

  • A pleasure to share. Blessings to you. B 🙂

  • Thank you for reading and for your feedback. B 🙂

  • Audrey Meyr

    Beautiful, beautiful post! I love the way you encourage a deep sense of responsibility for one’s inner journey and distill it to its essence–thinking less and feeling more. I also like it that there are only 3 steps keeping it simple. More than that and I get overwhelmed. Simple and direct–thanks for that!

  • Mr Mojo Risin

    Enjoyed reading all that! Well done. I’m finishing university in TX in a few months and going to Kathmandu, Nepal for like 5 months with a close Nepali friend. Would really like to incorporate meditation into my life. I found your blog post encouraging.

  • Harmony

    Very well said. Loved the post. Finding your true self is the most important thing you can do. And yes, we do face our challenges alone. No one will ever understand you the way you can know yourself.

  • Thanks Harmony 🙂 Blessings, B

  • Rachelle

    Hi Bernadette, I really enjoy your posts from tiny buddha. I was just looking for a post that I saw recently about anxiety. And there were just three simple reasons why we feel anxious and one of them was about unresolved feelings in relationships. Can you please send the link to that so I can read it again. I found it to be very important for my own life. Thank you x

  • Hi Rachelle, glad you enjoyed the post. Nice connecting with you. Bernadette 🙂

  • Hi, thank you for your comments. Your upcoming trip to Nepal sounds amazing, and how wonderful to enjoy that experience with your friend. I am sure that time there will allow for plenty of opportunity to experiment with meditation in it’s various forms and finding ways to integrate it into your daily life wherever you go. Best wishes for your travels! B 🙂

  • Hi Audrey, thank you. That personal responsibility for the inner journey is really the most powerful point for me. In a world where we are bombarded with offerings and information externally, it can take a long time for some of us to come to realise that what lies ‘out there’ is useful, but ultimately the most powerful journey is the one back to the core of who we really are, and to face any personal demons and blocks inside of us as we do so. Without that inner journey, we can never fully enjoy the external journey in a sustainable and peaceful way. Thank you for your comments and blessings to you. Bernadette x

  • Heba M.Alaa

    I also think one of the best ways to create change is to know that you can always have a fresh new start .. You can take all the time you need to truly discover who you are but always keep in mind that you’r not defined by anything that happened to you or anything you went through ..

  • Heba that is so true and powerful, thank you for adding this awesome insight. Nothing, and no one, defines who we are. Every day is a fresh new day, every moment is an opportunity to recreate ourselves. Life is one big dance to evolve ourselves and it is only us that chooses to do so. Thank you! B 🙂

  • Eva

    I have heard many times that meditation is a good tool to know yourself, but how can it be? Because every time I meditate, I’m flooded with thoughts.

  • Sam

    I’ve been feeling so lost after battling a serious illness that almost cost me my life, I ended up losing part of my identity in the process. I often say to my family “Who am I” “Whats my purpose in life”, I could go on. I’ve been wanting to travel Asia in hopes that it will help me find myself but have let my fear hold me back a bit. Thank you for this inspiring article, it was just what I needed to hear.

  • Adolfo

    I just read this and it is so….. I can’t even find the word to use right now. I have been wanting to find myself for a while and this is so easily explained. I’m grateful that u have found this.

  • gryph

    Don’t limit yourself to characters in jack kerouac novels

  • Jason A

    B, your story resonates so well with me and I’ve found it at a time when I’ve reached a defining moment in my life. For many years now, I’ve found that I’ve had a nagging feeling telling me that something isn’t right in my life. I have everything a person in the western world should want. Good job, nice house, material stuff, married with children. But that nagging feeling that I’ve always pushed to the back of my mind is getting stronger with age. I’m now 45 years old with 2 teenage kids and faced with an opportunity to take a redundancy package and move on (my choice). if I didn’t have the commitments in my life (namely my children – which I adore dearly and I would not wish for a life without them), I would sell everything and take a journey to find myself similarly to you. However I do. So now I feel I have to compromise. But I know compromise is not an option as I have the feeling that it is essential for me to leave everything behind in order to truly find myself and move forward in life. I feel this is necessary not only for me but for everyone I love also (although I’m sure they wouldnt see it that way initially). As you can see, I face quite a dilemma. I do not seek any answers from you but your thoughts on my situation would be greatly received.

  • Hey Jason. Thanks for sharing your situation. I can tell from your post that you have your own strong intuition leading you, and I’m sure you will do what you feel is best for yourself and those around you. I love that you wrote “I do not seek any answers from you” but rather you’re just open to other perspectives, open minded, open hearted. So awesome… because your own inner knowing will help you with your choices, and at the same time its our interaction with the world that helps us become clearer in our inner knowing (the more we see, hear, read, learn… the more we feel that inner voice become louder and clearer, well… that is my own experience anyway). In terms of my thoughts on this situation/topic, I guess the main thing that comes up from within me as I read, is that from my own perspective from the journey I’ve taken, I’ve learned that whilst travelling, changing circumstances, and “leaving it all behind” is definitely an extremely effective way (and sometimes radical way) of fast forwarding ones growth, understanding etc it 100% is not the only way and it 100% is not necessary in order to have the transformation of self and shifts in understanding. The inner shifts are the key, as they feed into our outer circumstances. I have lots of clients and family who have also taken their own personal journeys (spiritually, psychologically, emotionally) etc where they didn’t change anything about what they did, where they live, who they are with, but over time they entered into reflection, rituals, self-discovery, self-educating to grow from the inside out. At the same time, as someone who has taken radical steps, I totally respect the courage and calling other people feel to do the same. If I had my time again, I would certainly do the same thing again, as I knew inside it was what I felt compelled to do. My greatest learning so far on the overall journey of personal expansion has been to trust my instincts, trust the passions that arise, trust each inspiration that comes in, trust each moment of intuition, as these are the inner feeling guidance system helping us to navigate through live to evolve, expand and unfold. I send you warmest wishes for your journey. Bernadette 🙂

  • Jason A

    Bernadadette, I thank you for your swift and promp reply. Here goes….

  • Michael 2015

    Hello I just wanted to ask your advice on getting over the re occurring pain of losing a first love?

  • Maurice

    Just today, I’ve started looking into all of this spiritual stuff. I have never been a spiritual person, and I’ve never taken the time to truly find myself and face my own demons. Others have tried to help me and I continually pushed them away, including within the last month. Now I’m in a new city, starting a new chapter in my life and I’m hopelessly lost with no idea where to even begin. I truly don’t know what to do, and I only looked on the internet due to a…gut feeling that I needed to change something in my life. What you’ve said makes so much sense.

    I guess my fear is so palpable that I tend to ignore the right decisions and follow the path of darkness. Then I try to run and get sucked back in because I give up too easily. Do you have any advice that you could give me?

  • jp3

    what you waiting on?

  • raja

    Right pratice is necessary my freind,as one can’t squeeze milk from cow’s horn……

  • Yes

    Thank you

  • M.D Dragon

    I don’t believe you.

  • Jason A

    Ajiotaj