BY MANAL ON MAY 30, 2012
We view life as an accumulation of experiences in a body moving through life from a young growing stage to the eventual entropy. We measure our age by the time that passes from birth to this moment. Biology, however, tells a different story of the human body.
We’re not as old as we think we are. Life doesn’t move in one direction.
Your body is in a constant state of flux. It is estimated that 98% of the atoms in the human body are renewed each year. The body renews itself at varying rates—most of the cells in the body will regenerate over 10 years or so. Consider these examples:
- The cells lining the stomach last only five days.
- The red blood cells last about 120 days.
- The surface layer of the skin is recycled every two weeks.
- An adult human liver has a turnover time of about 300-500 days.
- An adult’s entire skeleton is thought to be replaced every 10 years or so.
In effect you get almost a new body every decade or so. How amazing is that!
The question is: If the body continues to renew and heal, why can’t we do the same with our thinking, and actions?
What would it mean to you to internally renew … to be reborn every single day?
How would it feel to let go of the past and its stories, to mend a broken heart, to restore a shattered spirit?
Why do we need an inner renewal?
To answer this question, we need to look at what accumulates over the years in our minds and how it impacts our lives.
The inner inventory
With every experience and interaction we internalize all sorts of views, opinions, attitudes and beliefs—I call it the inner inventory. The thing with our inner stock is that once it takes space in our mind, it barely moves. Consider these disadvantages:
Restrains and restricts
This inner build-up is what shapes our experiences. It creates filters that color our perception. It guides our actions towards ourselves and others. It narrows the frame from which we view the world, thus stunting our growth.
“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
To compound the impact, we tend to internalize more of the negative than the positive. We can have 10 supporters, but one naysayer can ruin it for us, especially if it’s someone we highly regard.
High mental occupancy at a low return
As you know physical inventory needs to be checked on a regular basis and the old or obsolete items written off. Storing old stuff that doesn’t have any use is costly—not a smart business practice.
The same applies to the stock in our minds. It’s not a good practice to give this inner inventory free storage without checking if it’s useful.
Whatever sits in our minds starts defining who we are—what we’re supposed to say or how to behave, what others expect from us and what we expect from others.
In summary, the inner mental state serves a crucial role in how we experience life and allow life to experience us.
We think we are who we are today because of all the things that happened to us up to this point. Says who?
Are we truly our name, age, citizenship, education, job and all of the things that happened to us? Are we less (or more) if we lose or change any of these things?
Our actions define us at the point when we take the action—not before and not after. Everything that happens enriches our journey but shouldn’t define us.
Experiences, achievements and challenges define us because we choose to be defined by them.
Who says we can’t do something completely different at this moment, and the one after? No one really. Collectively we choose those metrics to tell our story.
The story can change every single minute—wipe the slate clean and write a new one.
Instead of one long story, we can write short daily (or momentary) stories that are fresh and untarnished by a painful or triumphant past.
We can question the assertion that we are a product of our journey and experience. We can write off the inner inventory that doesn’t serve us. And we can replace the obsolete with the new if it serves us better.
Un-acquiring the acquired
We are born with a clean slate. All of the inner beliefs and thoughts are acquired over the years.
And anything acquired can be un-acquired at any given point.
The body renews itself to function at optimum level. We can renew our beliefs and internal inventory to live a more authentic and fulfilled life—without clinging to painful emotions and experiences.
All of what happened to us added meaning and depth to our experience. We can choose to let it go and move on. Even if we can’t forget, we can choose to forgive, remove the obsolete grudge and create space for a brand new now.
Just like your body regenerates itself over time, you can renew your mind and your heart. It’s up to you to be who you want to be at this moment—not yesterday and not tomorrow.
“To live fully is to let go and die with each passing moment, and to be reborn in each new one.” ~Jack Kornfield