My new goal: Not striving

Here’s the thing: All of this striving, this effort, this working to develop an online presence, a brand identity, a platform, a coherent, relevant, marketable… sigh…

I’m so tired.

I have just returned from another workshop that was supposed to change my life – and of course it did. But they never change me in the way they are supposed to.

I am supposed to come away all empowered, I come away deeply troubled.
I am supposed to come away super-detoxed, I come away craving cheeseburgers.

We were supposed to come away from this event with a clarity, courage and cash flow… there was another “C” word in there but I can’t remember what it was.

Like I said, I’m tired. Just got home – off the plane, off the airport shuttle, out of the car with my luggage all heavy and full of laundry.

Bone tired.

I spent the entire weekend with a raging head cold – which was actually, as it turns out, an allergic reaction to something in the hotel room. But I didn’t know that.

So I blew my nose and sneezed and coughed and missed some sentences that might have been important cuz my ears were all stuffed up.

And even with all that, I got so much out of it.
Just not the thing I was supposed to get.

I wanted to leave with a set of actionable projects from which I could 1) make money fast 2) build my brand 3) create an irresistible online presence so that I might become a workshop leader, guru, queen, fairy princess.

Like Doreen Virtue, my colleague and muse. Like Caroline Myss, my teacher. Like the leader of this weekend’s workshop, who was stepping for the first time onto that stage.

But as the program ended, and everyone around the room offered up their next steps:
– Get a web designer in three days
– Call twenty 20-year-olds by Thursday
– Sign up for 7 more months of coaching in the next level of Sarah’s program

I started to cry.

I don’t want to do any of this.

On the day before the workshop i drove my 22-year-old son to Kennedy Airport. He was going to England for the fall semester – a trip he’d worked all summer to pay for.

It all happened so fast. The unloading of luggage, the hugging, the goodbyes. And suddenly, I was watching my son walk away, dragging the enormous black suitcase that I’d bought with him – bought for him – four years ago when he was starting college.

I had no idea I was going to cry.

I was driving Max’s car – the car my dad had given him when he’d finally let go and decided to enter the nursing home, the car that, when I got it home, was going to be passed down to his sister, 19, who has finally passed her road test.

And as I rounded the curve of the airport exit ramp, my chest burst open and this huge sob crashed out of me.

It surprised me so much that I almost stopped crying. But another one came. And another.

And then this memory…

When Max was four, he invented a game. I’d be standing at the kitchen counter, stirring something – some macaroni meatball soup, perhaps; or the cheesy rice he used to love – when he’d come in dragging his little red suitcase behind him.

“Okay, bye Mommy,”

You know that sweet chirpy voice little boys have. And that face: bright open eyes, plumpy pink cheeks.

“Where are you going?”

“To Grandma’s house,” he’d say. “It’s pretty far away.”

And then he’d walk past me – through the kitchen to the living room dragging that red vinyl suitcase, packed with all of his favorite books. It was almost as big as he was.

And then, a moment later, he’d reappear at the opposite end of the kitchen. “I’m back!”

Each time, I’d greet him like a long lost love, which he always was. Somewhere, deep in the nether reaches of my mother’s heart, I knew that his little tour around the other side of the kitchen wall was a practice run for a separation that would, one day, arrive.

We repeated the game so many times. I’m sure I grew tired of it – easily exhausted then. I had another child now, too, and I was trying so hard to fit her into my heart, already so full with this little traveler.

Back then, I spent a lot of time standing at that kitchen counter wishing for things I did not have.
-that bigger heart
-more patience
– a better house
-a babysitter

Most often, though, I wished for time…. time…. time

If I just had the time, I would think, sighing, aching. The time to sit down, to regroup, to lay out my thoughts, one after the other in a straight line, maybe I could write something: A book. A poem. A short story. An essay.

Today, I have that time.

For the last year, every single day, I have risen at six a.m. and rushed, compelled and driven by this urge to write, through the rituals of morning so fast that sometimes, I arrive at the local cafe where I write wearing my shirt inside out.

I order the same breakfast – one egg with ham and a little organic cheddar on whole grain toast, an iced tea with no ice – and I sit at the same table, the booth in the corner where the outlet is but where, I have learned, the sun does not blast in through the window at 11 o’clock.

And I write.
For 6 straight hours.
Every day.
Seven days a week.

In this time, I have written two books, built this blog and fed countless posts into the other one.
I have also maintained (freelance) a weekly column in the largest selling women’s magazine in the world.

I have found my sweet spot. That precious precious time.

And yet, here I was in Atlanta, in another workshop, driven there by the same empty longing for more that had found me standing at that kitchen counter all those years ago.

What in the world did I want? What was this more that I craved?

And today, on the last day of Sarah’s lovely workshop, I understood

I don’t wanna.

I have it in me. I could stand on the stage… i love the stage.

I could teach.
Make workshops.
That kind of thing.

But not now.
Right now I am writing.

I remember that fourth ‘C’ word now: Confidence.

I am in a powerful transition from mothering two precious children to turning the huge beam of my mother love toward the world.

Widening that lens is widening me.

I am opening and opening and light is pouring into my life, cleansing me body and soul at the deep-tissue, cell level.

Some of that light is landing on the page. And if that helps other women and some of the men that we love, to turn and to open their own hearts, all the better.

But this is not the time for striving. This is the time for inner work, contemplation and writing. And for now, that is more than enough.

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Showing 44 comments
  • Mia
    Reply

    Well, I don’t know when, or how long ago this post of yours was written, but I have just read it. I googled, ” so tired of striving”… and your post popped up. Me too. Me too. I have spent my life striving. School, university degrees ( paid for by me working nights bar tending while going to university full time. My family was a working class family, and university, let alone having the money to pay for it was unheard of ), a career that was so demanding and soul sucking, money, houses, stuff, and through all of it, never feeling as if I had any time. Time to breathe, to feel like myself, to live a little bit. I’d imagine that people somewhere, ( usually in my imagination they are Europeans), are living life: eating good food under a big old tree, in a beautiful yard, with wine on the table, and they are not striving for anything, ever. I hate feeling that life is hard. I hate that I grew up believing that I had to work my ass off to make a reasonably comfortable life, and that if I didn’t do it for myself, no one would do it for me. I hate that I have always been afraid. Afraid in the way that people who never have enough are afraid ( I think I absorbed my mother’s anxieties about this from a very early age). Afraid that life can be very hard indeed for those who have no cushions of plenty ( and knowing what that is like by observing my own family). I wish I had had the luxury of going to university without having to work while attending, and then work two jobs in the summers so I could continue ( nights bar tending, and then my day job). I wish I had not spent my life’s blood working at a career that I really didn’t want, ( but I made it work anyway). And now I am retired ( my first year), and I find life is still too hard. I have enough, I think, but I sometimes daydream about escaping. In my mind I pretend that I escape to one of those impossibly remote monestaries somewhere, and far below me are all the trappings and nonsense of the toils and passions of daily existence. I too, am tired of striving.

  • Candy
    Reply

    Amen!

  • MonicaWB
    Reply

    Amy,
    It was so great to meet you at Sarah’s event. Something about you made me feel so comfortable, as if I’d known you for a very long time.

    I thought I was just there to help out, but I was deeply affected by watching everyone else transform. I wish I had the time to adequately reflect. I just want to crawl into a cocoon for a while and get all goopy. More time would be divine…

    • Amy
      Reply

      Monica – Thank you for that. I felt, looking into your eyes, that I’d known you for quite some time, too. PS I think you can build a cocoon right in the middle of the life you are living now – a kind of sacred, inner space for contemplative work and for getting goopy. You can also ask Spirit to help you find the time you need, without disrupting your world too much. We can have what we need and want. We can ask for help.

  • Shelly Gibbens (randomshelly)
    Reply

    I can cry reading this because I am sitting alone in my office and nobody can see me… and I did… and I got the chills… and I laughed hard at the fairy princess and then diva princess (and I love the transition you made whether on purpose or not there…)

    I can tell you that I absolutely LOVED meeting you in person and talking with you that first night AND I can NOW admit that I was a little scared to be in a ‘focused on me’ situation with you again after that… Between you and Kat, I kept running away so I wouldn’t have to be exposed and deal with things in front of everyone – a scary place for me.

    You are brilliant. You are insightful. You are beautiful… and I am honored to have gotten to witness that.

    • Amy
      Reply

      I’m smiling, and a little bit teary-eyed myself, reading this comment. Shelly, it was MY privilege to meet and talk with you. But I know just how you feel. Been there, felt that frozen feeling – and I have hidden, too, protecting my precious heart (and underbelly) best I could. Just so you know, though, both Kat and I would love to talk with you, any time, about anything. Nothing to fear.

      One of the things we learned at CIP was that the message we are destined to bring to the world is also a message for us. My “I help you feel safe,” was not just the gift I hope to offer to others. It was also a mirror of how I don’t feel safe myself. Just as your last words are also true about you: You are brilliant, You are insightful, You are beautiful. And I was honored to witness that in you.

  • Raven
    Reply

    Ah, the sweet nectar of life. Rest. Write. Stillness. Not write. I feel like there’s a workshop in that….er, maybe not.
    😉

  • Elissa
    Reply

    Oh Amy. You got it at the end. The truest of true and the hardest to accept and celebrate. You. Are Being. You. For you. You are learning, growing, stretching, experiencing, delving, celebrating you for no other reason than it’s your time.

    I stand in awe of your dedication and acceptance. And here’s the part of this journey I share and I’m finally getting. It’s not the doing that’s so important. It’s the being.

    xoxo

  • Marjory
    Reply

    Amy,
    bless you for listening to your gut, your intuition..
    “Widening that lens is widening me.” Such expansion of the heart broadens our vision.
    The world needs your beautiful beam of love, organically reaching out more and more,
    Marjory

  • Susan Donegan
    Reply

    Amy, your writing is beautiful and once again, you were able to bring me right into that moment of remembering with you. Tears in my eyes and tingles on my face. You truly have a gift, I thank you for sharing it. I am honored to have met you and shared with you.

    • Amy
      Reply

      And I, dear Susan (Why are all my friends named Susan?), am so grateful that we met. This is only the beginning. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Michelle Mangen
    Reply

    Amy:
    Beautiful post. :-)
    Not much else to say but I wanted you to know I stop by and read it!
    @mmangen

  • Julie
    Reply

    yay, Amy. I breathe a sigh of relief with/for you. xo

  • kelly
    Reply

    “I am in a powerful transition from mothering two precious children to turning the huge beam of my mother love toward the world.”
    I loved that line.
    I am in much the same place in my life just now, son finally done with college and onto his first job, and coincidentally, if there is such a thing, this year I found my way back to writing.
    I feel like I have come home, I feel like I AM home, inside of my heart, maybe for the first time ever.
    So here’s to mothers, and to writing, and to being reborn.

    • Amy
      Reply

      Indeed, Mrs. M. Indeed. So glad you are writing again – and that I am reading you.

  • Jennifer Louden
    Reply

    Amy, I’m sitting writing this between my daughter (16) doing her homework and a copy of Peter Block’s book The Answer to How is Yes (which directly speaks to your post if you haven’t read it – brilliant) and my own continuous rising realizing that being alive and here is it – it’s all I want. I’m at a very different place in my life than a lot of the on line peeps – it’s a quieter time, more inward, and along side the understanding that I want to help save the world, is also the knowing I want to be here in this world. Savor/save, write/teach, it’s all happening, it’s all good, and it’s at the pace I want and can live. Lots of writing love!

    • Amy
      Reply

      Thanks, Jennifer (again and again and again) for continuing to support me, and so many others. Having you a few steps ahead on this blessed path of writing, teaching, retreating, writing, teaching, retreating is a great blessing. (And thank you for recommending Peter Block’s book. Looking at Amazon right now.)

  • MrsWhich
    Reply

    Amy, how can I respond to this in the space of a comment? Our paths are so different and yet the vein is the same. When I wrote “a punch in the gut” (http://bit.ly/coz8wS) which seems to be about body image, I was coming around the same issues that I address in most of my practice. Impatience. I often feel like a horse being held back at the gate, or like I’m being asked to run through knee-deep water when I could fly on the sand “if only.”

    But as I examine myself closer, I know I am not ready yet. This slow pace that drives me nuts is what I need. A different pace will not yield the same outcomes. My body, my family, even the signs in my environment, tell me to settle into this rhythm before trying to change it. Thanks for resonating and expressing so beautifully. You’ve saved me weeks of work, if not months. I love you.

    • Amy
      Reply

      Mrs. Which – I love you too. And I don’t even know your real name! LOL

  • Erin Margolin
    Reply

    I am also inspired, but like Kat, I have no idea how you got this own so quickly. I have a bit of time this afternoon and want to write about it. But I love your writing. I love your thoughts. I love the way I felt so connected with you. ANd you hit the nail on the head here.

    Giving you a virtual bear hug. Missing you TONS.

    • Amy
      Reply

      Erin – hugs back.

  • Amanda
    Reply

    I am shattered by this, your writing and your story so far from what I came expecting. Sitting over a sandwich, that I was desperate to eat after finally getting my three little ones down for a nap, that’s now wet from the tears that fell unbidden as I read through your awakening.
    So, so beautiful.

    Wishing you a beautiful journey peppered with appearances of that beautiful black suitcase and the little red one it still represents.

    • Amy
      Reply

      Amanda – Words cannot express how grateful I feel for this comment. It gives me the chance to say something that I wish someone had said to me. I am saying it in the kind of voice I’d have wanted them to use – straightforward without being bossy, open, warm, interested without being sappy or overbearingly ‘helpful’.

      I am speaking to the part of me that is still that overwhelmed mommy with little kids at home, and to you:

      Eat that sandwich slowly. Let yourself taste it and enjoy it. And this afternoon, when those little ones wake up, hug and love them as I know you always do – and if you need to sit down for a moment and have an apple, or a square of dark chocolate or a simple, eyes-closed moment to yourself, take it. They will understand, they will be okay, and so will you.

  • Amy Miyamoto (@LotusAmy)
    Reply

    I always love it when I come across other inspiring “Amys”! I saw Alexis’s mention of your post and was moved to click on it and am filled with gratitude for listening to my inner voice. I was supposed to read your words today. I can relate to so much of what you share in terms of the transformation you are experiencing right now – the key difference is that my 5 year old twin girls are dragging their versions of the red suitcase through my kitchen right now. It has taken much inner courage to grant myself permission to create the time for not only myself but for the memory-making time with my children that I know I will not get back again. It really shocks me how fast the time flies by and I cherish all the small sweet moments that we share when I am not in the process of striving. You also inspire me to be even more devoted to sharing my own collection of stories in a new way. I have been navigating the demands of my many roles with the vision of the larger work I know I am hear to do. I have a new appreciation for the power of patience in some things as well as the beauty that comes from really choosing to practice remaining in the present moment. Bravo to you and I look forward to staying connected as our aligned journeys unfold. 😉

  • Danielle Smith
    Reply

    Amy, this is so beautiful on so many levels….but it especially touches me as I am going through a similar metamorphosis. I love to be witness to your journey of self-awareness…..thank you so much for sharing. You inspire me.

    • Amy
      Reply

      Danielle, Amy, Kat, Therese – YOU inspire me. Thank you so much for reading my blog today. I have got to get more tissues.

  • Amy Miyamoto (@LotusAmy)
    Reply

    I always love it when I come across other inspiring “Amys”! I saw Alexis’s mention of your post and was moved to click on it and am filled with gratitude for listening to my inner voice. I was supposed to read your words today. I can relate to so much of what you share in terms of the transformation you are experiencing right now – the key difference is that my 5 year old twin girls are dragging their versions of the red suitcase through my kitchen right now. It has taken much inner courage to grant myself permission to create the time for not only myself but for the memory-making time with my children that I know I will not get back again. It really shocks me how fast the time flies by and I cherish all the small sweet moments that we share when I am not in the process of striving. You also inspire me to be even more devoted to sharing my own collection of stories in a new way. I have been navigating the demands of my many roles with the vision of the larger work I know I am here to do. I have a new appreciation for the power of patience in some things as well as the beauty that comes from really choosing to practice remaining in the present moment. Bravo to you and I look forward to staying connected as our aligned journeys unfold. 😉

  • Kat Jaibur
    Reply

    Oh. my. friend. Please do not make me sob in Starbucks. I love your heart. And your profound insights. And your big spirit. And I stand (okay, sit) in awe that you could –and would– get all this down immediately. I have much more to say, but not from my iPhone. I’ll be back later. Catching my breath. Adore you.

  • Therese Skelly
    Reply

    Wow Amy, it feels like you are telling my story….except for that writing 6 hrs a day part! But its the story of going deep inside and getting off the merry-go-round of the internet marketing game and really having the courage not only to carve out your little slice in the world, but to do it with courage, authenticity, and LOVE.

    I just wrote a ezine and in it expressed that going forward I’m working to open my heart more and more in the world. To myself, my kids, my community, and my clients.
    And guess what…there were a few people who unsubscribed!

    But it’s all good. Just making space for the tribe who is waiting for more love in their lives and desiring the kind of success where it doesn’t cost you your soul.

    So thanks Amy….and thanks Alexis for the RT so I could find this awesome article.
    Blessings,
    Therese

  • Erica
    Reply

    Any, this was a truly inspirational post! I too am among those constantly striving for recognition and doing that one more thing to just, maybe, get the break I need to be…what? Thank you for letting me just kick back on this Sunday and relax and write and talk to folks and have…fun.

    Cheers,

    Erica

  • Amy
    Reply

    Sharie – What a heartfelt response – what a beautiful comment. Hardly a ‘ramble’, that was a revelation. Thank you for so openly sharing your story, and yourself, with me.

  • Amy
    Reply

    Francis – Thank you! I am signing you up in advance for that live future event!

    Sue – turning point indeed! I feel very free today.

    Lisa – this Renaissance feels very different than other transformations I’ve experienced. It’s in my nature to experience huge breakthroughs very fast. This was a quiet breakthrough, almost an uprising, from the still, small voice within saying… wait.

    Megan – Next I will dance.

  • Sally G.
    Reply

    What a powerful experience. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to fully feel the weight of all that would not work for me before finding the Confidence or the Clarity to accept that what I’d been pursuing was never going to work – for me.

    The magic in this, for me, has been a buoyant beginning towards a sharper vision of what might work for me better.

    I feel a little encumbered at first, because there’s the whole business of assessing what needs to be released because it didn’t really fit in the first place and what should still remain because it represents a potential I hadn’t previously noticed … and then there’s the sometimes laborious journey of starting all over again ~ making new connections, maintaining previous relationships that still work for all involved, checking in regularly to ensure that the path I’m travelling is, in fact, leading me to what might work better and isn’t, as is sometimes the case, a side route to what I feel might be better accepted.

    I’ve learned that knowing my skill set and what I’ve excelled at in the past is almost a red herring that diverts my vision from who I can actually be now. Accepting and honouring the past is not the same as being pushed by it ~ and I’m feeling very happy for you inside that your push of the herculean boulder up the steep slope may now be over.

    Hop onto the bannister and slide down into your Destiny, Amy. It’s been waiting for you ~ and I suspect you’ll know the place immediately when you lay your eyes upon it, even though you may be landing there for the first time.

    PS: I’m writing a Guest Post for someone today that I think you might find very interesting. I’ll send you the link once it’s published.

    • Amy
      Reply

      Sally – Thank you, dear friend. Your posts about your own similar realization have certainly informed and inspired this revelation in me. Each time I’d read one, a little ping of recognition went off inside of me. Thanks for blazing the ‘not striving’ trail!
      (PS Do tweet me the link to your post later)

  • Alexis Neely
    Reply

    Thank you for the cry, I needed that. My kids are 7 and 10 and I’ve spent so much of their lives wishing for more time to write. Your post has brought me to the present and the appreciation of the time I have and for them in my lives now. Appreciating your time to write very much.

    • Amy
      Reply

      Alexis – Thank YOU for reading my blog – and for commenting (and even for crying.) It stuns me the way that social media helps me to connect with other women, other mothers. I’m deeply touched by your note.

  • Francis A.
    Reply

    Wow!! What a powerful and personal post! I cried just thinking of my Sons leaving!! I look forward to seeing you on stage and attending one of your conferences!! Keep us posted 😉

  • Sue
    Reply

    Amy, so heart felt. I can tell you are really at a turning point. I just think it is so powerful for women to listen to that inner voice. Sometimes we are just so busy that we don’t. When we do, we can really get pointed in the direction that is right for us. Thanks so much for sharing with an open heart. I know this will lead you where you want/need to go.
    Sue Bates

  • Megan Matthieson
    Reply

    Or……WHAT IS. so perfect Amy. Really. Or as the Rolling Stones said, ‘You might not get what you want, but if you ….you get what you need.’ I think you did. xoxo

  • Reply

    Welcome to Renaissance, my friend. It was amazing to connect with you in Atlanta. You have a gift, and when you are ready, I would love to host a guest post from you on the blog. You may not be ready for a stage, but as Sarah reminded us at the very beginning: “A stage is a stage is a stage.”

    Hope you had a safe trip home.

  • Sharie Orr
    Reply

    Amy~
    How beautiful. And an extraordinary revelation about yourself. Honesty is, indeed, the best policy, and that applies when we’re dealing with ourselves as well.
    Your story about your little boy, and the struggle to make more room in your heart for a new little extension of your love, my how it touched me. Seems like yesterday…it was twenty years ago and some.
    You sound so much like me. I am 42, but my children are all but grown, two daughters married in less than one year. Phew! It’s been some very reflective time for me too.
    I didn’t attend Sarah’s workshop, but I’ve read a lot of the posts, etc.
    And I believe I would have been right where you are. You “get” it; you just don’t “want” it-
    right now. Getting on a stage and teaching, you bet I could do it. I’ve taught my four children
    all their lives, with lots of stories and little adventures, and, oh, those math lessons.
    We homeschooled for well over a decade. I can teach. Been doing it all my life. Taught other
    kids in school when they didn’t get it the way the teacher taught it.
    BUT…I am also not ready to do that in such a big way. It’s amazing how we can spend 20+ years being the leader in our own home, and know we have the capacity to lead others, yet we choose to share our knowledge and abilities in a quieter, gentler way.
    I’m sure there are others who would love to have such nurturing instincts; we’ve developed them naturally.
    Rambling a bit on this Sunday morning. But just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your thoughts here. And how much I identified with them.

    Sharie

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  • […] would have replied with “Yeah. Okay. Whatever.” If I had been warned that I would need recovery time after that workshop, my facial expression alone would have challenged their very sanity (eyes wide, […]

  • […] I would have replied with “Yeah. Okay. Whatever.” If I had been warned that I would recovery time after that workshop, my facial expression alone would have challenged their very sanity (eyes wide, […]

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