Skip links

What is an outer and inner world – Form and Formlessness

I have spent much of my professional life following money.

Having been recruited into sales positions for top companies that offered big salaries and lavish perks, how could I refuse?

According to external measures of success, I was building the life of my dreams, one made possible by my financial security.

After leaving China, I traveled. I drank. I bought beautiful dresses, new shoes, and expensive makeup. I had a particular fascination with shoes. The moment I purchased a pair of 500 Euro shoes, I would feel excitement, a thrilling vitality rushing through my body. Buying shoes always gave me a high. It temporarily filled me up. But the feeling would invariably fade–more quickly than I would have liked. And it was always replaced by a flood of unwanted feelings: sadness, lack, scarcity, insecurity and fear. The truth is, I was using material items to try to fill a void, to feel worthy, and to perpetuate the illusion that money can buy happiness.

Like a hamster on a wheel, I continued this pattern of using things from the OUTSIDE in a desperate attempt to fill myself on the INSIDE. This principle is a key tenet in conscious coaching. The things in the material world–money, job titles, personal possessions, etc.–the things you can typically see, hear, touch, taste and smell, are what we call the FORM. The intangible things that are more difficult to measure according to 3D standards–a sense of purpose, feelings of well-being, curiosity, connection and flow–are what we call the FORMLESS.

In other words, I was attempting to use material items to try to make me happy, which is a bit like trying to feed a baby sand when it is thirsty. Or, as I discovered, like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

Over the past 10 years, I have had multiple opportunities to face this pattern in myself. But it wasn’t until the Pandemic hit that I was inspired to make real, lasting change. When the world as we knew it shut down, my previous lifestyle–which included traveling, socializing, drinking and staying busy most of the time–evaporated before my eyes. I went back to Malta, a small, peaceful island with fewer distractions than other parts of Europe and Asia where I had previously lived and worked.

There, I took on the daunting task of facing myself. Without my previous FORM-based world to cover my unwanted feelings, I saw an opening to investigate fully what was underneath them. During this time I discovered Dr. Shefali Tsabary, a wisdom teacher, author and speaker who has used her own journey toward conscious living to inspire millions around the world. She also developed a coaching framework I now use in my own practice. Through exploration of this relationship between our inner and outer worlds (form and formless), each of us can discover
our own unique portal to transformation.

To this day, I continue my daily search to strike a harmonious balance between form and
formlessness in every aspect of my life.

Can you relate to my experiences? Perhaps you have climbed the ladder of success, only to discover it is lonely at the top. Or maybe you have finally achieved the lofty goals you spent decades pursuing, and yet know something important is still missing.

In my coaching practice, I focus on working with clients at an important crossroads. I like to think of it as the moment when the deepest, wisest part of you, your essence–that may have been asleep at the wheel for many years, or even decades–finally starts to wake up. In doing so, your essence realizes that your ego (the natural drive toward material success, aka compulsive shoe shopping, etc.!) has been driving the car. “Oh no!” You gasp, bracing yourself for the worst. In your moment of clarity, you see that allowing your ego to navigate the journey until now has taken you in a direction that no longer feels right. And you know it’s time to course correct? But you have no idea how.

The good news? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And while I’m at it, let me add that you’re also not crazy. You just might need some support finding your way back home. Just like I did.

In future posts, I’ll be sharing more about my own journey back home, as well as tools, resources and inspirational stories to assist you on your journey.

What crossroads are you at in your life?

Please, don’t hesitate to reach out.

I’d love to hear from you anytime:

Leave a comment