Doing the Inner Work
Do you become frustrated when you are doing your inner work?
Perhaps you’ve been reading the latest books on self-growth or listening to podcasts on healing your life, or practicing mindfulness with the goal of improving your life.
We all want to be happy and live fulfilling lives.
So why do most people give up?
Let me illustrate from an experience in my own life.
I’ve been going to my Pilates exercise classes for about a month now. I started off as a beginner having no experience with this type of Pilates (using a reformer machine). There’s a lot to learn; the right form, techniques, breathing, timing, and how to use the equipment.
I’ve really enjoyed it, even making it to the 5:30 am classes. I’m using muscles I didn’t know existed (I know because they are screaming at me!) and others I haven’t worked on strengthening in some time.
I’m already getting impatient.
I want to see big time results. Hey I’m doing the work…I’m coming 5-6 times a week. I should be getting leaner, dropping inches right? Now the doubt creeps in. Maybe this just isn’t working for me. Maybe I should try something else.
After one of the classes, my instructor asked me how I felt. I told her I was hoping to see more results. “Aren’t some things getting a little easier? Haven’t you been able to add more tension with the springs, increasing the amount of strength it takes to do the exercises?” she asked. “Just because you’re not seeing results from the outside yet doesn’t mean you are not strengthening and building your muscles from the inside. The outside changes are coming.”
Of course she’s so right!
It’s the same when we are doing the sacred inner work. We want results quicker. We want less stress, worry and frustration. The expectations we put on ourselves are pretty weighty. We want to feel different right away. We think we can hop onto Facebook or YouTube and voila, life will change in one video. And so what happens the minute something comes up to distract us from our goal? We lose focus and quit. It’s easier and safer to stay in our comfort zones. That’s what’s familiar to us.
It was the same with my classes. My fitness results are a perfect reminder that I have to show up, do the work consistently, and remain committed even if I don’t see a difference right away. It's trusting the process.
Doing the inner work leads to transformation.
It takes time to create new habits and beliefs while letting go of the old ones that don’t serve you. It may come in the shift of attitude to try something new, in a difficult conversation you’re willing to have instead of avoiding, or believing in yourself to take your life in a new direction. All this takes courage, openness, dedication, and a supportive environment.
I feel stronger. I’m sticking with this. I may leave class feeling sore but I know that even though I can’t see inside – I am building strength from the inside out.
What will you do to commit to your inner work?