(Don’t) Try Harder

“Try harder.”

“Be better.”

“Do better.”

Do you recognize these mantras? Can you hear the menace that rumbles just beneath them? You are not enough. You are sinful-shameful-broken.

Listening to these try.harder.darn.it. specters, we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps (again!) and determine to dive into 3 Steps to a Better Me, or Seven Easy How-to’s for Curing ThatUnforgiveableFlaw, or The 60 Day QuickFix for ThatProblemYouHave.

Too tired to click, cure, or fix

Can you feel the tension in your shoulders as you read those words? My jaw is tight just jotting this all down. Are you feeling worn out at the very thought of those easy steps and tricks and fixes? A little curious about how to get out of your (beautiful, creative, intelligent) head and onto a path of authentic growth?

“Curious” may not be the word you’d use.

Try Harder

You may be feeling desperate. There may be a longing in you to understand your Self truly, deeply, honestly. It can sometimes feel like we’ve tried everything in an effort to be the person that our significant other might love. We work so hard at being an exceptional parent and a good child and a beloved friend and a skilled employee(er). We’re not lazy. And we do try harder.

Until our Try Harder konks out on us. Weariness and desolation might kick in. We might feel something that feels like burn-out. Compassion fatigue. Simple exhaustion.

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The New You

So when you met the new you
Were you scared?
Were you cold?
Were you kind?

Yeah when you met the new you
Did someone die inside? (OK Go – Upside Down & Inside Out)

The New You

Today I went to Google in search of the new me. Happy news! A new new diet, new hairstyle, and a day at the spa and I’ll be on my way. ‘Turns out, my self-esteem just needs a little boost by way of a little positive thinkin’!

Maybe this version of The New You rings false? Hollow? Tiresomely trite in the face of your recent loss, loneliness, or overwhelm?

Lalah Delia says…

Transmutation:

• Grapes must be
crushed to make wine

• Diamonds form
under pressure

• Olives are pressed to
release oil

• Seeds grow in
darkness

Whenever you feel crushed, under pressure, pressed, or in darkness, you’re in a powerful place of transformation/transmutation. ~Lalah Delia~

More than just a spa day

Is Lala on to something here? The “new you” may be less about polishing the surface and reworking the masks we hide behind. Could it be that transformation is a work of time, pressure, complexity, and healing?

And what if the “new” in this process is less about becoming something you are not, and more about returning to the Way of Being that you originally embodied? What if you are not flawed and in need of fixing? Could it be that the transformation we’re invited to participate in is a coming home to the one we were before life started telling us we needed a new personality, hairstyle, body…soul?

A day at the spa may be exactly what you need. Exactly. And there may be an awakening growing in you — a longing for a wholeness and restoration and rest that comes from deep within. Wholeness and restoration and rest that reach deep within.

Curious about the not-so-new new you? This may be a scary, cold, kind, and dying part of the journey. And you’re ready for it. If you’re here and noticing and wondering? You’re ready.

Do I Send My Child Back to School?

Did you ever imagine you’d find yourself contemplating home schooling your kiddos? With only 1 – 2% of North American children home schooled in the BeforeTimes, this option may not have been high on your priority list.

And here we are. 2020 and in the midst of a pandemic. “Do I send my child back to school?” has become the most pressing decision of the summer.

Confusion, overwhelm, outright fear

What arises in you when you face into this question with your family?

And do you have a process for discerning a way forward when emotions are high, information is confusing and even conflicting, and all you really wish for is a set routine? Something that feels normal. Familiar. Do you find that your thoughts run away with the what-if-s and how-to-s and I-can’t-even-s of the thing?

Making this decision may run along a gentler path than you’ve imagined.

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The Guest House

Rumi’s poem, The Guest House, is an invitation to mental health and self-care via a deeply spiritual path. The first time I heard it, I reacted strongly. I fussed and bothered and stormed about it for a long, long time. It feels so contrary to logic. And it felt altogether too out of control.

Some years have passed since that first reading. I’ve made friends with the out-of-control-ness of Rumi’s jarring invitation.

How does it settle in you?

The Guest House (~Rumi~)

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

What happens in you when you read Rumi through? Can you picture your own interior “guest house,” and what it might be like to laughingly invite all who knock at the door?

Looking for someone to talk to?

We’re here to settle into conversation about some of life’s more confusing and complicated questions. What does it mean to welcome a “crowd of sorrows” into the guest house of our lives? And gratitude? For the “dark thought, the shame, the malice…”? How is that possible?

In spiritual therapy/direction we’ll be co-learners in wrestling with ideas like Rumi’s.

Sacred Inner Space

Do you recall the last time you turned your attention toward your Self? Does the idea of “inner space” have meaning for you? ‘The word “sacred”?

I’m sitting down to these wonderings on a day when my own inner space feels like Bilbo’s hobbit hole. It’s the night before a life-altering quest is set to commence, and I’ve been overrun with noisy, messy, bossy, hungry dwarves. They all seem to know something I don’t. They’re unbothered by the beauty and dangers and transformation that lie just outside my tidy hobbit hole door. They’ve charged the entryway, hunkered down at the kitchen table, and they’re eating every scrap of food I have in the house.

This inner space does not feel sacred. It just feels…feel-y. Disrupted. So, so messy.

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