What does the expression “out with the old, in with the new” mean? Does it mean that we discard the past and plan for a new tomorrow? Do we ignore all that has come before in favor of that which is yet to come?
In pondering these questions, I can identify with my own experiences that have shaped the person I was and have come to be. Are they one and the same? One might argue, that I am still the same person — that my inner core, essence, soul, whatever terminology one chooses, remain the same. That what I may think of as being the “new me” is actually the “me that always was.” That the only thing that has changed is my relationship with the external world.
Consider this. If I look in the mirror, I see a different physical image than what used to be. Instead of a youthful looking version of me, I now see a less youthful person who is heavier with graying at the temples. This physical exterior is not the person I was accustomed to seeing in my younger years. It’s during these times that I often reminisce about how I used to look, and then find ways to restore any semblance of youthfulness left in my physical being. Almost daily shaving and applying moisturizing cream to my face, neck, forehead and around the eyes, as well as running styling gel through my still-thick but mildly graying hair, add to my persona as a younger-looking aging man.
Despite the disparity between the images I now see versus the person I used to see in the mirror, my core being is still the same. My physical representation has drastically changed over the years, but my inner-core, spirit or soul, remains the same. If I were to suddenly lose my limb or become disfigured, does my inner self cease to exist? Each of us carries an inner child in us, only to be lost in this physical realm. Take a moment to connect with that inner child — the hopes, dreams, playfulness, silliness and innocence you once experience or hoped for, was compromised for the sake of external pressures and reality. As the inner child gave way to the values and mores of adulthood, the inner self came to lose its way. As dreams and wishful thinking gave way to these external forces, the child within lost its way. So too, our inner voice gave way to logic and concern for the practical.
So, how then does one reconnect with that inner core, the true essence of the self? To lead an authentic life, one must get in touch with the qualities of the inner child. To tune into the spirit of wonder, of playfulness, of dreams. This requires quieting the external voices for the voice within. Learning to trust the inner voice takes practice, because it is continually drowned out by thousands of thoughts, much of it externally driven. Listen to your voice within and you may come to know your truth, your essence, your soul. Meditation, yoga and other mindful based practices can help you quiet your brain so it can eventually get in touch with that which will nurture your soul, your spirit — the essence of who you’ve always been regardless of the pressures exerted upon you through contact with the physical world.
There are two worlds trying to coexist within you — the physical (external) and the internal (child-like, nurturing, playful). The person I have seen in the mirror may have changed in appearance, but internally it is the same person that has carried my body throughout my life. It is up to me to connect with that which is truly me. It is up to you to look inside for your own truth.