• The Unusual Counselor

A Daily Ritual for Inner Alchemy

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

Maybe you've heard the word alchemy before. Perhaps an image of a man mixing chemicals flashes before your mental screen. Or maybe you envision the cover of Paulo Coelho's timeless classic, The Alchemist.

For our purposes a basic definition is suffice. Alchemy is the art of transforming ourselves. In a very real way, this is already happening through the automatic responses of the body--blinking, converting oxygen into CO2, digesting and eliminating food, etc... These are examples of effortless transformation.

When we say Inner Alchemy we are referring to our ability to focus our awareness on our inner state of being--our thoughts, emotions, and mood. When we bring our awareness to our inner experience, we can determine if we want to sustain or change it. Either can be alchemical. So if we find ourselves caught in a wheel of limiting thoughts for example, we may realize that the thoughts are not helping our mood. We may want to shift our awareness to a new goal of kinder and more loving thoughts.

Often times this is easier said than done! In our fast paced, material goal driven culture, it is easy to feel like we haven't accomplished enough. The conditioning of our minds in Westernized societies is very much based on conflict. This presents a great rationale for the practice of Inner Alchemy--focusing on our awareness. Awareness is in of itself neutral. By practicing inner alchemy, we can get a bird's eye view of what we do and don't like from a space of neutrality. From a neutral space we are empowered to change the course of our thoughts, feelings, and actions as soon as we become aware of them.

This is the practice of inner alchemy.

In this example I will focus on the office. To get started it's helpful if your space is clean. Sweep under the furniture, organize your paperwork, discard things not in use, and wipe the surfaces with an eco-friendly lemon scent :) -- or the best available to you. Then turn off the lights. Bring your awareness to your breathing. When you feel settled, create an intention for your work day.

Make sure the intention feels really good in your entire body. Bring the awareness of the good feeling to the center of your heart. Sit with this good feeling for several minutes. Then open your eyes and turn on the lights. There is no need to hold the visualization. A relaxed and receptive state of mind will maximize its fulfillment. You can get to "work" and allow your intention to happen for you.

This here was my office as a School Counselor. I took pride in all the details so I could have a safe, colorful, and meaningful place to practice counseling. For me this practice became the foundation of my day. It became a pillar to guide, support, and experience my full potential in fulfilling my purpose. My intention everyday was always to speak the words that students and parents most needed to hear in service to their journeys.

Did I fulfill my intention? Like many educators, I may never really know the impact of my work. What I do know is that I felt peace at the end of almost every work day. The feeling of peace was my evidence of inner alchemy in action. It was the fruit of the seed I planted every morning.

Much more to come on this note! Until next time, may the peace of inner alchemy be with you in all you do <3

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