Lately, I’ve become intrigued by the idea or process of “alchemy.”  The definition of alchemy is all about transformation, “a change in nature, form or quality.” So how to take charge of your own personal alchemy? For me, it’s about self-acceptance, change and transformation of mind, body and spirit.

Sometimes, in the course of our lives, we find ourselves saying yes to things, which create tension in us. As we think of them, or about them, we wonder why we keep allowing ourselves to make the same bad decisions. Dwelling on the decisions we make can create a cycle of negative thinking and resisting the urge to say no can just keep adding to the tension we are experiencing.

The desire to be successful is important to most of us. We want to be the best husband, or provider for our family, or the best at our job. We want to make the best cakes or be the best mother or wife. Our self-esteem is often dependent on how we think others think about us. Our struggle to achieve great things in our life is often the result of a desire to feel accepted by others as a means of feeling self-accepted.

Even the most self-confident of people have their insecurities about themselves. People with famous faces often resort to face lifts and heavy use of make-up to protect their public image. Being insecure is not a failing, but part of our humanity. When those insecurities begin to drive our decisions and our choices, then we risk making poor decisions and creating inner tension and negative self-talk.

To help develop a strong sense of self-acceptance, it is important to ask ourselves about the intentions we have in making our decisions and what our motivations are in accepting it. Sometimes the good decisions we make, aren’t the best decisions. Instead, they reinforce the cycle of trying to find self-acceptance by first experiencing the acceptance of others.

Taking an inventory of our own dreams and strengths is essential to breaking this cycle. Our value and worth isn’t dependent on who others think we are, but in what we think of ourselves. . As we get in touch with, and enjoy the person we are, we are able to make life decisions that contribute to and enhance our self-image and in the process, we find others accept us.

The cycle is reversed when this happens. When we accept ourselves, we begin to learn how to be self-confident and generous in our acceptance of others. We find ourselves being naturally accepted by others for who we are and not for what we do.

I’ve outlined three of my favorite ways to approach personal alchemy on the path to wholeness and health.

Step One: Dissect A Past Transformation:

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when thinking about the process of making a personal overhaul. Therefore, it’s important to break this idea down to its least common denominator. To begin, recall if you can a positive transformation you’ve made in your life. It could be as simple as beginning and staying with an exercise program. In your mind locate and focus on one specific personal transformation.

Next, break down your transformation into its components: mind, body and spirit. I tend to look at everything in this tri-fold sense. I believe it is important to see the way a particular event contributes to the growth of each component. Right now, take a moment to observe the ways each of these components have contributed to your transformation:

Mind: Was your mind committed to making this positive change?

Body: What daily actions did it take to make this personal transformation effective and permanent?

Spirit: Was there a spiritual component at hand guiding you toward your positive goal?

Step Two: Begin The Uncovering Process:

Now that you’ve dissected a previous transformation, the uncovering process is simple. This process asks you to take some time with your journal and uncover a new personal transformation you would like to experience. With pen in hand, take time to make notes to yourself. Start small. What transformations would you like to make this year? Do some dreaming.  When you’ve finished, scan your list for one worthwhile goal that is achievable.

According to Louise Hay in her book “You Can Heal Your Life” these components will help you live a holistic, healthy life. Perhaps one may inspire you toward a worthwhile goal.

Nurture the Body: Practice sound nutrition. Aim to make the best choices for your body and choose food and beverages that make you feel well. When appropriate supplement with herbs, vitamins and homeopathy.

Practice a sound exercise program. Find a form of exercise that is appealing to you and is one that you will do. Choose from: aerobic exercise, resistance training, tai chi, yoga or Pilates. When appropriate use body work such as massage or reiki.

Nurture the Mind: Add to your daily practice, visualization, guided imagery, affirmations or dream work. Spiritual meditation is also a great way to quiet the mind and allow time to tune in to the divine.

Nurture the Spirit: Find time to practice prayer work, meditation, forgiveness and unconditional love.

Step Three: Find Answers In The Silence: Then Take Your Goals One By One

We can’t possibly do everything. For as someone once told me “you have only, all the time there is.” With this in mind, I am brought back to my earliest ideas about personal alchemy. This involves one of the most difficult, yet necessary practices: finding time for silence. Finding time is the challenge I most often face when looking at my own personal growth and aiming to find ways to simplify and speed up the process.

Silence. Why does it work? From a physics or scientific standpoint, the electrons within the molecules of the body actually speed up when the body slows down. It seems difficult to understand at first, but the key is its reciprocal process. When the body slows down, the energy surrounding the body and passing through the body speeds up, literally directing the body: instructing it.

Grace, balance and growth are often natural extensions of this process. When you take some time to be still and offer your goal up to the universe, you can then become aware of the divine direction. To do this, try to first become aware of your surroundings. Then aim to find time each day to move toward your worthwhile goal. Keep it close to your heart. Know that there are many distractions in life, but if you take time to rest and stop for one moment, it could be the moment you will receive your greatest inspiration.