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Resolution for Evolution: How to Crack Out of Self-Limiting Beliefs

baby chick standing by a cracked open eggshell

The great philosopher Aristotle once said that our problem is not that we aim too high and miss, but that we aim too low and hit it. In the Tantra, we have unlimited capacity to grow. We can always do more than we think we can. But we often stop short of our potential. We play small, shrink away from what’s possible, and never take enough of a risk. Why? My theory is because we fear failing. Most of us have an intense allergy to failing. It hurts. It’s painful. It’s embarrassing, humiliating and frustrating.


History is wall-papered with great beings who failed horribly in the beginning of their careers.

For example, Henry Ford's first two automobile companies failed. Oprah Winfrey was fired from an early job as a television news anchor. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off stage in his first stand-up comedy appearance. Sir James Dyson suffered through 5,126 failed prototypes before he landed on the first working Dyson vacuum. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Albert Einstein had severe speech problems as a child and could not speak fluently until the age of nine. He was later awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.


We need to realize that failing is not a defeat. It’s only a delay.

There’s never any failing, only learning.

“Learn to fail or fail to learn,” is one of the slogans from Positive Psychology. How do we learn to fail? I think it takes courage to face our fears, acceptance to not be so hard on ourselves, and the willingness to step into the unknown. A willingness to grow ourselves and learn something new. But for this to happen, we first must deal with resistance.


We are like a seed in a shell. The shell conceals the seed. It protects it, keeps it safe during the winter months. Then in the spring, the warmth of the sun expands the seed. Once a protected harbor, the seed expands so much that the shell becomes a limiting prison. The seed pushes against the shell which causes resistance and makes the seed stronger. At a certain point the seed becomes stronger than the shell, it cracks the shell pushing through into a universe of freedom.

sprouting seedlings

 In order for the seed to survive, it has to break out of its shell and go beyond its previously held limits. Resistance breeds the longing for something new, something greater. In a similar way, we create protective spaces of safety until we outgrow them.

When I first moved into the ashram back in 1983, it served as a kind of spiritual incubator. It was a safe space for me to nourish my spiritual growth. But after 13 years, it became a limiting prison.

I felt so much resistance to the schedule, the rules, celibacy, the diet, even the yoga practices. I began resenting everything about the ashram. Although the guru scandal was the tipping point for me, the resistance had been building for a few years prior. When I finally moved out in 1996 and started exploring the world through traveling and teaching, it was pure freedom! It became clear to me that moving out was the best decision for my growth I could have made at that time.


We need to shift our perspective on resistance. Resistance is not a curse. It's a blessing in disguise. It’s what makes us long for something greater, makes us change our self-limiting belief patterns and grow. The limitation becomes an invitation to the unlimited. Limitations are there to help us get free, not to limit us but to free us.


The yogi takes the view that everything in life is for our awakening. Life has our back at the deepest level. We need to trust that for real change to happen.


I was recently introduced to IFS (Internal Family Systems) as a healing modality, and it’s been eye-opening for me. My lesser evolved inner child, little Toddy, on many occasions growing up, was left unintentionally in an uncomfortable situation feeling unsupported. Sometimes I felt afraid, bullied by older kids on the playground, or sometimes I felt abandoned by the simple act of my parents going out to dinner and leaving me at home with a babysitter. On several occasions, I remember crying for hours as my parents lovingly said goodbye and that they would be home soon. But in my little kid emotions, I wasn’t able to understand why they were leaving me behind. I struggled to let go. Maybe this is a normal experience of growing up that we all have to go through. But somewhere deep inside I felt alone and abandoned.


toddler with scared expression sitting on a couch
Todd Norian, age 1

As an adult, my inner child still reappears when I’m in a situation where I feel scared, abandoned, unsupported, or alone.


My work is to bring the adult me into the room and be there for my younger self. The sheer presence of my adult self allows little Toddy to feel safe enough to feel his feelings. What a relief that is! Whenever I can remember, I consciously try to bring the presence of my adult self into the picture. Whenever I feel afraid or alone, there’s my highest self just beaming light, love, and appreciation into me. I consciously and lovingly send little Toddy affirmations like – “I’m here for you.” “I’m with you now.” “You’ve got this.” “You can do it.” “I believe in you.” “I love you.” “You’re not alone.” “You’re okay.” “You’re safe.” “I’m not going anywhere.” “I’m staying right here!”


What does your inner child need to hear from your adult self? I invite you to do a reflection and tap into the sensation of the feelings and words your younger less-evolved self needs to hear right now.


I believe that spiritual growth requires personal growth.

In fact, they are one and the same. There’s no spiritual growth without healing our childhood wounds. The childhood wound is often the limiting belief we subconsciously place on our adult self. You can’t just leave your lesser evolved self in the dust as you ascend to the heavens. You have to bring him/her/them along. In fact, hidden deep in the wound is the gift, the magic, the healing creative spark, the motivation to become the person you were meant to be. This is how you rise above your self-limitation, by embracing it and carrying it along with you.

cracked china bowl with gold filling the cracks
Kintsugi- Japanese art made from broken china by filling the cracks (wounds) with gold

Each experience you have on the journey of the heart prepares you for the next experience. As your spirit grows, expands, and matures, what was once a safe haven can become too small, like a limiting prison. You need the inner resolve to evolve, to ignite the spark of desire that makes you crack “your shell” from the inside. Only then can you truly grow into the amazing, talented, complex and wonderful being you were meant to be.


You were born with seeds of greatness in your heart. But not all seeds sprout. The environment and conditions need to be just right. It’s up to you to provide the right environment for the highest growth. Consistent reminders for why you’re doing the inner work, why you’re meditating and practicing yoga, reminders about why you’re here, what your purpose is, and why you’re valuable are so needed to keep you on the path of the heart.


That’s why Ashaya is here. That’s why I’m here doing what I’m doing. It brings me the greatest joy to share my heart with you and dwell in the practical wisdom and highest teachings of the Tantra together.


May we use our practices and this community of heart followers to strengthen our roots and continuously crack out of self-limiting beliefs, to expand into the magnificent, one-of-a-kind divine beings that we are.


If no one has told you this yet today, let me be the first. I love you. I adore you. I believe in you. I believe in your ability to crack out of the shell of smallness and fear to reach higher. I’ve got you! Continue the journey!




Todd and the Ashaya Yoga Team

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