Be More Madonna

When change is sticky and tricky and we’re not ‘being like Madonna’ there’s one fundamental thing going on. Let me guide you to explore that.

“You can die more than once in your life” Coco Chanel

Often when clients come to me— and when I’ve gone to a coach — it’s been at a time of transition or change. These times can begin with stuckness, or they can begin with confusion, but in both cases there’s a sense that ‘something needs to change and I don’t know what — or how’.

So I invite you into this exploration with a consideration that we can all ‘be more Madonna’ when it comes to life transitions. And, irrespective of what you think of Madonna as a person, or her music —  read this piece with a curiosity about her ability to change and to redesign herself over the years. And consider that this is you too.

It’s said in the world of awakening and enlightenment that you ‘die before you die’

“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die” — and find that there is no death.” Eckhart Tolle

And this is essentially what happens every time you transition in life — the old ‘you’ dies, for a new one to come into creation.

It sounds terrifying to the mind — what do you mean the old me dies?! It can’t bear to be faced with its own transiency.

And yet it is this which leads to the realisation Eckhart says about ‘finding there is no death’. That when you look at what you really are and what you’re not, it’s seen there’s nowhere you could go. And the transiency of the surface expressions are then seen to be perfect. Nothing to be clung to, nothing to be resisted. Coming and going as they’re designed to.

Freedom to change — freedom to be more Madonna!

But how is this done?

Consider where it’s already happened.

Think about you as you were 10, 15, 20 years ago, or as far back as you want to go. Even better if you have something like a diary or work communications you can look back on.

Consider what that ‘you’ was like. Its attitudes, its dreams, its language and the types of conversations being had, the worries and problems on its mind, the kind of people it hung out with.

What resemblance does that ‘you’ have to today’s ‘you’?

And if you’re honest and can see the stark difference, where did that ‘you’ go?

If that ‘you’ has changed entirely, what is it that’s given a sense of continuity through all those years? What is it that’s seemed to be the ‘you-ness’ of that experience the whole time?

You don’t need to find an articulate-able word-based answer to these questions by the way, but ask them with an honest heart and you will be shown an answer, guided to an exploration, or you’ll notice a different feeling arise.

Now look more micro

What was the last simple change that happened?

For example, have you noticed a new habit forming or an old one naturally falling away? Have you noticed you’ve adopted a new phrase you’re using at work? Have you been responding differently to a familiar situation? Have you found you’re choosing different foods with the change in seasons?

It can be anything.

Just become aware of what has changed without effort recently.

Consider that this small change has happened because an old pattern of thought has died away and made space for a new one. A fresh one that’s perfect for this moment now.

And see how there’s still something which is continuous through this whole experience. Something ineffable.

At whatever level of experience you look, you come to see that creation-maintenance-destruction is the natural way of ‘things’. Things come into being, hang around a while, and then go. Born-existing-dying. And ‘things’ includes thoughts and feelings, it includes personality traits and preferences, it includes relationships and jobs it includes every cell in your body. Really it includes every ‘thing’ you could point at or label.

And so it looks — from the outside at least— like Madonna has a talent for recognising the point at which some ‘thing’ has been maintained for long enough, and it’s time for destruction of that and a fresh creation.

So what happens when we’re not being like Madonna

All that’s happening when change or transition looks sticky or tricky is that there’s identification with the ‘thing’ rather than recognition of your Self as the continuous.

Think of a time when you’ve struggled and kicked against a change.

Can you remember the frustrations, the effort required, the pushing water up hill, or the tangle of thoughts that went round and round? Can you remember uncertainty and fear about what would come next? Can you remember thinking ‘I don’t know how to do this’? Can you remember worrying about who would stay with you through this change, and the fear of who you might lose? Was there worry about what would happen financially?

In all of these examples, you’d identified yourself as the ever-changing-surface-level ‘me’ and ever-changing-surface-level world. You were believing that your OK-ness relied on knowing the answers, being right, being connected to certain people, having a certain amount of money, ensuring life went a certain way.

The discomfort you felt was not only coming from the confusion of all the beliefs, worries and fears — it was also the tension between what your heart was calling you to — guiding you forward into a new phase — and the resistance of your head saying ‘Oh golly no! This looks terrifying! Who will I be then?’

In this place, the pathway forward looked narrow and restricted. It looked like there was no way through. It seemed you couldn’t do it.

And then, do you remember what happened when it went from a kicking-and-screaming, clinging-to-the-old and resistance-to-the-new experience, and shifted into an ‘obvious, moving forward with clarity’ experience?

See if you can pinpoint when that shift happened.

Maybe you started thinking about the longer term, or the bigger picture. Maybe the push factor became undeniable. Maybe you saw there was someone or something else you were doing this for. Maybe you just woke up one morning and you started.

Notice that the common factor to all of these examples is that the ‘thing’ which dropped away was an ‘idea of me that needs things to be a certain way’. It must have been an ‘idea’ because the ‘continuous something-ness’ that’s been here throughout your life was there throughout this period of change too.

Focus shifted from ‘me and how will I do it’ and was redirected to something or someone else, or simply fell away for no apparent reason. The idea was created, maintained and then disappeared like all other ‘things’.

The attachment to needing things to be a certain way in order for ‘me’ to be OK, had gone.

And this is ALWAYS the common factor that leads to ‘being more Madonna’.

It looked like it was that person who helped me shift perspective, it looked like it was that change in circumstances that increased motivation, it looked like it was that book I read.

But fundamentally, it was always that ‘the idea of you’ died in that moment. And the fresh and new that had been knocking on the door was created. Nothing now in its way.

You are change.

Always. Already.

Surely we’re crazy if we think otherwise?

And yes, sometimes we do go crazy and forget it.

But look to what you really are, and what you’re not. Look at what’s constant and what’s coming-and-going. And you return to the natural flow of Madonna-like change that you’re here to be.

With love, Helen

P.S. Clare Dimond also wrote a ‘Be more…’ post recently about change. I swear a coincidence! Have a read of her’s too. Be More Amoeba.

P.P.S. If you’re interested in this topic of natural change, last month’s members call was on Easy, Love-Infused Change. Join as a member to access the recording.

I coach and guide smart, passionate, curious people who care about improving the lives of those around them. Often coaches and leaders, they’ve worked hard all their lives to be the ‘best’ them and it doesn’t seem to have delivered the happiness, security or freedom they expected. Now they’re wondering what else is available. I guide you back, prior to stories, to remember the real you because that’s what you, me and the whole world really wants! Find out more here.

Image credits: Getty Images and

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