Living From the Inside Out
Recently I was at a leadership and transformation training with the Hendricks Institute
and we discussed the concept of endogenous versus exogenous living. Exogenous is
from the outside in, and endogenous is from the inside out.
I thought about how people tend to create structures based on exogenous experiences
in childhood. We may have experienced trauma, or our culture simply informed us on
how to live our lives. Rather than live from a paradigm of personal responsibility and
integrity, we likely have made choices based on what was happening on the outside.
I am grateful that we humans were built with a brain that knows how to fit in when it is
important, such as respecting the personal rights of our community. I also appreciate
that our brains respond to threat, as when the saber-toothed tiger was running around,
we sure needed it. And we still do when crossing a busy street. But what if this fear
system is working overtime?
If we primarily live exogenously, we are living in a foundation based mostly in fear. I
have found that fear is not always the greatest of leaders. Perceived threat is much
different from real threat, and it is insidious in its power. One only has to look at our
current American political structure to see evidence of this power.
Moving into endogenous living while our protection system is firing, is not a task for the
meek. There are tools a plenty, and most of them center around overriding the fear. I
have found this to be like a band-aid approach, and I’m not a fan of short term thinking.
Building a new foundation for your life takes time and in our culture of soundbites and
adrenaline rides from the latest blockbuster movie, it is hard to believe we have time to
spare. The most powerful step that I have taken has been learning how to breathe
properly. I found that my breathing practice led me to another powerful shift-move from
fear to flow called “Essence Pace.”
I learned this tool from Kathlyn Hendricks, a powerful teacher of body wisdom; and it is
the concept that we all have a natural rhythm in which we feel most alive. Now I grew up
in New Jersey, only about 30 miles from Manhattan and you could say the pace was
fast. In fact, I grew up in a family where walking fast was a point of pride.
You can now begin to imagine my surprise at finding out that there was such a thing as
“Essence Pace,” a pace that was natural to each individual, and that my lifetime of
moving at the speed of light (ha) wasn’t truly in alignment with me. In fact, when we did
the exercise to discover our Essence Pace at a training I was attending, I was shocked
to find myself walking much slower than I typically do. Equally shocking was catching a
glimpse of Dean, my partner, as he seemed to be speeding around the place. You see
he grew up in Hawaii, and identified with the chill, ‘hey-what’s-the-rush?’ pace that he
moved at most of his life.
Finding our true pace has been a game changer for us both. For me, I find that moving
fast, though it feels familiar, is actually an adrenalized experience. I was literally rushing
through my life. Whew!… what a discovery! Unhooking from this habit has been a
process, and one that I am giving attention to on a daily basis. And the gateway to
finding and maintaining my Essence Pace is my breathing practice.
And Dean discovered that ‘chill’ was actually a sort of hiding place for him and he
comes alive at a much faster pace. What an opening to freedom living at our natural
pace has been for myself and my partner. The affect on our relationship is undeniable,
as we are so much more available to one another now.
So breathing properly and Essence Pace were two of the steps I took towards
endogenous living. And this has opened up powerful opportunities for me. Moving
towards living from the inside out has truly been a big YES to LIFE for me.