WITHOUT ALL THE STRIVING?
I was practicing yoga today and in the first child’s pose of the session the instructor gave this note, “don’t try so hard to match your breath with your movement today. So often we force our breath to go with each position when all you need to do, is notice it.”
As I moved into my downward dog, my mind rested on that very thought. It was so true. Our breath goes in and goes out. It’s only when we try to force it to match up with a movement that we end up restricting it; the balance, the flow, the beauty of just breathing. How often, in other areas of our lives do we lock up something that can come out of us naturally?
For me, it reminded me of my recent struggles with writing. Last year in the midst of the Pandemic I wrote a children’s book. The inspiration came from watching all four of my children attempt school remotely. And as amazing as their teachers were and as lucky as we are to be able to have and borrow devices so they could do this, it just wasn’t the same. I felt a loss for what my little ones were missing through interaction, hands on learning and play.
Out of that gap came a story that I wrote that would allow a child to go on an adventure through their imagination. I was so excited about the words that had tumbled out of me that it became my biggest passion to somehow get it into the hands of children and parents alike. So, I dove into learning about the beast that I would like to call, publishing.
The beauty about this deep dive is that I have found my love for writing again. Yay! I’ve been therapeutically enjoying written word in various formats. The downside is the more I research this industry, the more I get discouraged. Apparently, I need a lot of technical skills, lot of connections and a large platform to publish. I have neither.
So- I started trying all of these tips google and podcasts gave me, and I began to work harder. Putting pressure on myself to learn like crazy, all the while feeling overwhelmed because there is so much to learn. When all I really want, is for this beautiful book to be printed and in my hands. And maybe, in a few tiny hands of some bedtime tuck ins.
It has been a year since I wrote that book and I’m still swimming about, lost at sea.
It begged me to wonder if I had been trying too hard to force something that would happen on it’s own, naturally. Like breath when my body is headed into warrior one, would it just flow out of me if I let it? The words of this children’s book did; and I love the inspiration it was born from, so why couldn’t this next step be the same way.
Lesson two came from a commercial for Lipton Tea, where the voice over says “in order to get anywhere you have say YES to everything.” In the shot you can see this girl say YES to working out early, YES to staying late at her job, and YES to breaking the balloon at a baby revealing party. Then the voice over says; do you really want to do this? And she says, NO! The next scene is her saying no to everything and ending up snuggling on the couch with her little girl.
I love this commercial! It’s completely counter to everything I’ve been researching. It’s counter to what the world tells us. Of course, I’m not saying don’t try or work hard or work out…etc. What I am questioning is, do we tend to force the issue a bit? Are we striving to reach at an unbearable length when really, all we needed to do was to take the next step? Is it just me?
And what are the gifts that are given when the striving ceases? Snuggling on the couch looked nice. This little idea gives me an exhale I didn’t realize I needed. I haven’t been sharing my writing lately, because I’ve felt so stuck. Well, if swimming in the technical world of becoming an author is keeping me from writing…then that seems to defeat the purpose.
The last lesson of the day came from my bible reading time and a verse caught my eye “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” John 7:18 It gave me pause for multiple reasons.
Highlighting the importance of authenticity and the intention of where our words comes from, is just as important as what is said. This struck me. I realized I don’t desire to build up something that is centered around myself. Rather, I desire to create. I long to write words that inspire connection, encouragement and reflection.
So, between my Yoga Instructor, Lipton Tea and Jesus… I think I’ll put down the trying so hard hat for awhile and take a cue from today’s teachers. Yes, I’ll still do the work of learning…but I don’t want to strive so much that I get stuck, steering away from the original work of offering something real, raw, helpful and beautiful.
Does anyone one else track in this direction? Maybe there is something in your life that is already happening, and it doesn’t need your strenuous push. Are you swimming in a sea of striving? Are you sprinting in a race when it’s actually a marathon you are in?
I wonder if we can continue on the journey of goals, while still allowing our souls to breathe. Perhaps, going back to the space of the beginning will be helpful for you too. I think there are more reasons sitting there than we realize. More gifts to uncover in the originality of your goal. And, more thankfulness for the natural flow of why we started something to in the first place.
So here’s to goals; by saying no to all the things, staying authentic to who you are and why you are doing it, and remembering to let it happen…naturally.
Inhale. Exhale. We got this.