Forever Tries.

My first experience with personal development came when I was 18 years old. My parents came home with a pack of tapes, handed them to me, and said they’d help me build my self esteem. I felt judged and criticized. Exposed and angry. I don’t even know if I listened to a single one of those tapes but it was the first time I realized I wasn’t hiding my dissatisfaction anymore.

The jig was up.

My parents did the best they knew how to do; they wanted me to be happy and they believed these tapes might be–or lead to–the answer. 

When I was 20, I read The Celestine Prophecy. It was the first time I started to realize that there was a whole world I didn’t fully understand that felt more true and beautiful to me than the actual world I was living in. I dipped my toe in the water of spirituality and began…noticing. That’s what the book did for me. It helped me develop the habit of paying attention to my life and the so-called coincidences that arose in it.

I remember not long after reading it, laying on my couch, full ashtrays and empty wine bottles littering my apartment, staring out the window, asking myself, “What are you DOING with your life?” but being too afraid to listen for the answer. I’d drink and smoke that nagging voice away for several more years until my addiction brought me to my knees and life-as-I-knew-it fell apart right before my very eyes.

After I got sober, I continued my personal growth/spiritual journey in earnest. I wanted a bigger life, not just a sober one. I wanted to stop compartmentalizing my relationships, my work life, my social life and my home life. I wanted to be a fully integrated human who felt and immense sense of freedom in my life. Deepening my connection with myself and with the greater energy that I call God (and also universe, source, “all”) is what’s helped me overcome some of the most painful experiences of my life.

It’s what’s helping me now, too.

I’ve been looking to teachers and healers and books and modalities that can help me accept this moment–and all that it entails–with a more open and compassionate heart. I am a work in progress. If I’m not careful, I can find myself falling into old patterns of anger and blaming and finger-pointing, even when I know the truth: that when I see something in another that I don’t like, then it must be visible in me, too.

But I forget sometimes.

Thank God I get forever tries.

People who are new to this kind of work sometimes ask me, “What does is mean to ‘work on myself’. Like, what IS that?”. To me, “working on myself” is about going inward and being aware of my energy and how I show up. It’s noticing the sensations in my body that are driven by my thoughts and emotions, and it’s watching the way I behave in my life–the actions I take in any given situation.

Working on myself means taking a “bird’s eye view”, watching myself from a “higher” place, seeking to understand why I do the things I do. It’s about having a genuine curiosity about what makes me me. It’s seeing every single experience in my life–including global events that seem outside my control–as a lesson (even when it’s really, really hard to find).

But I don’t stop looking until I do.

It means I create meaning out of the million little things I do, say and feel, along with the million little things I don’t do or don’t say or don’t allow myself to feel, that shows me where I still have work to do.

I am never “done”. This work isn’t about getting to another place, but rather appreciating what each one is here to teach me and then integrating it.

If you are wanting to “work on yourself”, then a great place to start is within your relationships. How are you showing up for the people in your life? How are they showing up for you? Do you feel fulfilled by them or drained by them? Do you feel you are taken for granted or do you feel you lean too much on others for support? Do you wish you could remove some of the pressure to perform? Do you always feel like you’re the one others lean on and you struggle under the weight of that pressure?

Exploring our relationships reveals so much about who we are and what’s going on inside of us. What we see in another–both “good” and “bad”, we see in ourselves. Allow your relationships to reveal to you how things are really going in your life and from that place of raised awareness, you can begin to make changes.

And while I believe we get forever tries to get it all “right”, I realize it’s all perfect, anyway.

Spirituality has helped me to understand that everything that comes in is meant to be here. It’s arrived on purpose and if we treat each experience as a noble guest–as if we’ve invited it in–then so much of our stress and worry and anxiety and struggle washes away.

Because it’s always, always an inside job.

If you’re looking for me, I’m going within. Maybe you, too?

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.


P.S. If you’d like to deepen and strengthen your relationships while having fun, I’ve put together 36 conversation-starters called “Moving Conversations” that are sure to help you strengthen your bonds while also boosting your fitness! You can download the entire set for free by entering your name and email address, above.

 

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