Listening to the Voice Within

by Karen Castle

Are you open to receiving inner guidance when the time comes to take action and change your life? Does this process excite you or does it result in trepidation because you are taking a risk?

Our trajectory and sense of fulfillment in life depends on how well we can hear and respond to that inner voice, so it’s important to take steps to build trust in the process, which ultimately will align us with a path toward wholeness. There always will be challenges to face and obstacles to overcome, but the upside is that these tests provide the clues necessary to steer us in the right direction.

Trusting our inner compass and letting go of fears can facilitate the most powerful life transformations imaginable.

A simple analogy is a ship at sea that has a predetermined destination but changes its course in response to weather conditions, such as storms, as they arise. Similarly, we can reach our destination and full potential in life by allowing inner guidance to help us grow and become stronger by adapting to circumstances along the way.

On this journey, I have found two basic tools that have the power to lessen fear of transformation and help us tap into the inner wisdom that, in turn, will motivate us to achieve our soul’s purpose. They are myth and metaphor, and together they help us to process and make sense of the information from everyday life.

The Power of Myth and Metaphor

Metaphor is beneficial because it uses symbols to help us relate. When we identify with symbols that have outer meaning, we are more likely to raise our awareness and gain insight that can open our mind and change our thoughts. Myth is equally powerful for our overall growth and development because it assists with the realization that life is not about reaching a destination; rather, it is about the journey. Myth teaches us to learn and grow from challenges. Both Joseph Campbell, the well-known mythologist, and Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist, used myth and symbolism to help explain and conceptualize human thought processes.

Indeed, my journey would not be as expansive without knowledge of myth and metaphor. Ten years ago, in a deep meditation called Holotropic Breathwwork, I connected with an ancient feminine archetype named Inanna. This symbolic dream left me with a longing to know more. Through listening to my inner guidance, I discovered the ancient myth of a goddess from the Sumerian culture and have since written two books that serve as an everyday reminder to recognize and remember the paradoxical aspects of life.

All myth, no matter what the cultural background, is fundamental. It dominates our human experience and provides us with good examples of our deepest instinctual experience. Myth is an articulated structure of symbolism that assists humanity in overcoming adversity. Since the beginning of ancient times, myth and folklore have outlived many actual cultures because their timeless tales teach us about survival and withstanding human suffering.

Overcoming Adversity in Life

Life is an ongoing transformative experience. Ideally we want to be happy, and to experience triumph and joy. We want to sail through life avoiding obstacles and stormy weather, yet the reality is we all experience challenges. Yet overcoming adversity can deepen our sense of fulfillment, especially when we have myth and metaphor to reference along the way. I know this firsthand from my own rollercoaster ride through life.

We all have life stories to share.

For example, I had multiple auto accidents that occurred in my twenties and resulted in a permanent disability. Granted, I had plenty of days wallowing in self-pity, but I made a choice not to view this as a hindrance. Instead, I was motivated to seek natural options and find an “alternative” treatment solution. I changed my career from accounting to Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and now 14 years later I continue to be rewarded by assisting other people to heal and feel better.

I experienced another personal tragedy when my stepson died of suicide. Losing this special young man was devastating, especially because I have a son. I struggled to stay strong and support my husband—we were only married a few months—but I found myself deeply depressed. With the simple slogan “This too shall pass,” I was able to trust an inner knowing that this was my dark night of the soul and to embrace the process of transformation. Again, this was easier said than done. My only recourse was my determination and willingness to continue forward and trust inner guidance.

Today, my personal story continues beyond physical and mental injuries. I’ve struggled financially along with many others in the recent chaotic economy, but my inner knowing has helped me withstand rough seas to reach calmer water. I identified with shedding layers of unnecessary attachments and focused on a practice of courage and fortitude, which has resulted in a deeper understanding of my whole Self. As I write these words, I am working at sea on board a ship to help educate and treat people from all over the world with acupuncture. Every day I am riddled with tests and trials, but I have grown exponentially by leaving my comfort zone, relying on my inner guidance, and looking to my favorite myths and metaphors for support along the way, such as Inanna.

Myths and metaphors are like mirrors for our soul to look upon to deepen, expand, and embrace life with all that happens.

We can use them to let go of preconceived belief systems and connect with inner guidance to influence the overall outcome and trajectory of our life course.

When we sharpen our awareness and tap into inner wisdom, it serves as a guide that clears the path for our growth and transformation. When we cannot see what is ahead it can be scary, but with a deep trust and inner knowing—that voice telling us to embrace the mysteries of life—we will find fulfillment within.

Life is like a ship at sea, and the opportunity to be guided is a choice we make.

The lighthouse is there awaiting and welcoming our return, and to achieve wholeness and inner peace we must follow the light home by listening to the voice within.


Karen Castle is an acupuncturist, a transformational coach and a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. Her Master’s degree in both Transpersonal Psychology and Oriental Medicine is the basis behind her expertise in the mind, body, spirit approach to health and wholeness. Karen hosts monthly workshops offering a style of Breathwork that opens one to his/her inner wisdom. She is author of Unveiling the Modern Goddess and The Sacred Union. Currently, Karen is a Ph.D. candidate at Wisdom Graduate School and is working on the high seas integrating her knowledge to help others heal and awaken to self-knowledge. For more info, visit

This article is a chapter from the book Transform Your Life! written by 60 real-life heroes and experts and available at,, and all ebook formats.


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