Live From the Inside Out

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. -Steve Jobs

Live From the Inside Out

Live from the inside out. That’s my motto for the year. I have put the kibosh on following social convention and fulfilling other’s expectations. Living in a box of someone else’s making leaves little room for sharing your gifts with the world.

Over the years, I’ve learned to actually feel when my heart is speaking to me. It takes quieting the mind to discern the embedded whisper. Granted, many times I’ve ignored that guidance and gone into my brain. There is nothing like trying to reason your way to safety for a sense of false security. Being safe and being an artist do not go hand in hand.

I’m a firm believer that we are born to share our gifts with the world. The older I get the clearer it becomes that I’m just passing through this realm. That knowledge is what has brought me to the decision to take directions from within. Living from the inside feels risky until I consider the ticking clock. American author Erma Bombeck said,  “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.”

Allegra was the perfect model for my illustration. Living from the inside out is something she was born doing.

Allegra was the perfect model for my illustration. Living from the inside out is something she was born doing.

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.


12 thoughts on “Live From the Inside Out

  1. It often takes courage to share the gifts/talents that God has given us, but as you said we need to put the kibosh on other people’s expectations of us. By the way, I love the Erma Bombeck quote! She’s always been a favorite of mine.


  2. Dearest Sue,
    What a beautifully empowering post! Oh, how those words found their mark in me! Being the product of narcissistic parents, I had lived other people’s lives for far, far too long. I yearned to break free, but for a long time, I chose the wrong way.
    I tried to create a life path by merging both my way of living and the way my parents wanted me to live my life. It was a recipe for disaster and endless heartbreak that took me to the edge of tragedy.
    Then, my child died, and my parents could not even respect my grief and my need to grieve for the child I loved with all my soul. They claimed they grieved more than I did because I refused to burden them with my tears. Yet, they recovered very quickly and got on with their socializing and fun plans, and berated and bulldozed me into joining them. Stuck in the decades-old holding pattern of having their leash round my neck, I tried to go along with them, but it became apparent to me that something had changed – I could no longer live 2 lives – theirs and mine.
    Paradoxically, grief became the impetus to finally build a wall against my family so as find the space I needed to grieve and find God in my loss. It took the death of my child to give me the courage to finally live my life my way.
    It’s close to 10 years now, and attempts at discussions, pleas for space failed, and having no choice, I’ve long since cut myself off from my birth family.
    And the pay back?
    I am finally able to laugh and enjoy my children.
    Finally able to pray.
    Finally able to be a mother and a wife.
    Finally able to reach out and care for others in the community.
    I can finally discern the whispers embedded deep within, as you so eloquently put it.


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