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In Search of Our Inner Sanctuary

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” - Hermann Hesse

I had a lovely chat with the delightful Lucy Sheffield on this week’s IC show. Lucy is an author of children’s books and an abstract artist. As a 3 Principles Coach, Lucy helps women tap into their innate confidence and creative genius through writing and art. Today Lucy is a happy, exuberant young woman bursting with enthusiasm and joy. This was not always the case.

Growing up, Lucy dealt with the same issues many teenagers are subject to. She said that she felt fat and spotty, which led to her being bullied at school. To make matters worse, Lucy says with humor, God then went and made her attracted to other women! Her first crush was with one of her female high-school teachers. Not knowing how to deal with her feelings, she reached out to her mother, a devoted Christian, who was unable to give her the understanding and support she needed. That’s when Lucy fell into a crowd of older girls who were heavy drinkers and introduced her to alcohol.

Initially, Lucy loved the way alcohol made her feel. She rebelled against her ultra-conservative upbringing and took solace in getting inebriated. After a lifetime of feeling controlled, not good enough, and unlovable, Lucy suddenly felt free of the constraints of her past. For the first time in her life, Lucy felt that she could be herself. She could speak her mind, do what she wanted, and go wild. Her confidence seemed to grow, but Lucy noticed that she became verbally abusive when she drank. Pretty soon, the partying began to get out of control, and for the following years, Lucy struggled with her dependency on alcohol.

Lucy first came across the Principles about ten years ago. The Understanding was pivotal in helping her come to grips with her drinking and the feelings of inadequacy she was trying to numb herself against. Lucy didn’t stop drinking immediately, but she did lessen her use, and her erratic behavior began to subside. Last January, Lucy gave up drinking for good. She said she has never felt better. One of the benefits Lucy is feeling is the incredible flow of creativity that is now surging through her. Lucy believes that her alcohol use was causing a block to the inspirational creative genius innate to all of us. For the first time in years, Lucy picked up a paintbrush, started to paint, and hasn’t stopped since.

Many people use alcohol to self-soothe when they feel insecure or the stresses of life are too overwhelming for them to handle. I know I have. Like Lucy, I grew up feeling inadequate and full of self-doubt. During my teenage years, alcohol gave me an escape from the negative self-talk that filled my head. Later I used it to quell my anxiety and take the edge off when my mind sped up. I mistakenly believed that my feelings were caused by my circumstances or the people in my life. And as such, I innocently reached for relief from something on the outside to calm me down.

It wasn’t until I came across the Principles that I learned that my experience of life was created from the inside out, not the outside in. The first insight I had when I came across the Understanding was that it wasn’t my circumstances or the people in my life causing my anxiety; it was my thinking about them that was causing my suffering. Another insight that helped me with my feelings of overwhelm was understanding that I didn’t have to fear my experience. Although I might not choose to experience anxiety, I now know that it cannot hurt me. I also know that it will move on its own accord if I leave it alone. And before long, I will bounce back to the innate wellbeing that is our natural set point.

That does not mean that I don’t enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a busy day, because I do. The difference is I now know that I don’t need the wine to help me relax. When I remember to stay in the present moment, I am fine. But when I forget and find my mind wandering off into an imagined future that may never occur, my anxiety rises. Thankfully reminding myself that I am resilient and that I will be okay no matter what, helps me find my way back to my inner sanctuary without the aid of alcohol.

With love and appreciation, Del 💕


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