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When people ask me, “Is there anything you would change about your life?” My general answer is usually no. Because I do believe everything happens in its own time and you are dishonoring yourself by unfairly judging your past self with the eyes, lessons and experience of the present.
BUT… There is one little thing I add. And it’s that I wonder if I could have been a little bit less hard on myself. I wish I would have trusted the process a little more, instead of being so obsessed with the final result.
Yes, I lived my life, as a lot of us do, feeling this intense pressure from things I had to ‘achieve’. And yes, wanting to achieve things is generally a positive thing. Having goals gives us a much needed sense of direction we all need.
Start with the end in mind is a strategic philosophy for almost anything you want to do in life and one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (a self-development classic).
The pursuit of a goal is one of the things that gives our life meaning. But let’s read at that again. I said the pursuit.
And so here is the dichotomy. Goals are important to fuel our actions. To wake us up in the morning. But it is the process that is meaningful. The motivation, the excitement, the flow, the clarity, and even the dopamine released in anticipation of the reward can often be even bigger than when you’ve actually gotten there.
I mean think about it, how long does the joy, the happiness, the excitement of an achievement last? Actually reaching a goal can cause a loss of meaning because we’re like, “Oh. Now what?”
I recall author Mark Manson mentioning in a podcast that he had a depression that lasted a few months after the success of one his books. Because it’s like “now what?” Combined with the pressure of having to achieve something bigger and better next.
So as I grew up, I slowly started to understand that life was all about the process. Not necessarily the result. But I had to keep reminding myself.
I have a company in Spain that brings people from all over the world to embark on a spiritual walk called The Camino de Santiago. I can’t count how many times I told eager pilgrims from all over the world the same story.
It was not about the destination, I would say. This walk is about the trees, the people, the reflections and the signs you see along each step of the way and how that changes you.
Santiago de Compostela, the final destination, is just the reason or the ‘excuse’ to embark on a journey. It indicates in which direction we should take the next step.
Yellow arrows all over the path keep you in the right direction. And arriving in Santiago is an incredibly exciting, magical moment. But it that, a fleeting moment. What you take home and what transforms you is not the arrival, it’s the journey itself.
There was once a client who joined our longest walk. She sped through it. Walked extra kilometers. Was faster than everyone else.
And then when she got to Santiago, she was expecting a lightning strike or something. Some divine reward to be bestowed upon her as recognition for reaching the finish line.
But guess what? Nothing happened and it took her a few seconds to realize she had actually missed the whole thing.She came back the next year and shared this same story with us and the new group of pilgrims. She had now come back hoping to fully experience the actual journey, not just rush to the end.
Can you relate to this? Are you ever so focused on the goal, on something external, something that doesn’t exist or is not here that you miss out on life? On the process? On the now? On the people around you? On yourself?
How did we get here?
What values and principles have we been taught that we are so results-focused? Why can’t we stop ‘doing’? Is it guilt-fueled? In fact, the busier we are, the more successful we are perceived.
Feminine vs. masculine
This is independent of gender. Rather they are frameworks, paradigms
The process is feminine, or yin- and the result is masculine or yang. Same with…
Being vs. Doing.
Rest vs. Work.
Internal vs. External.
Pull vs. Push.
Surrender vs. Force.
Emotions vs. Reason.
Heart vs. Head.
Soft vs. Hard (think skills).
Creation vs. Destruction.
Slow vs. Fast.
Empathy vs. Logic.
Creative vs. Structured.
Cyclical vs. Linear.
Flexible vs. Rigid.
Collective vs. Individual.
Now, looking at
In my life, I have certainly focused on achieving, on discipline, independence
In fact, my whole damn life I’ve been in a rush.
I have tried to hide and modify my emotions and my sensitivity because I thought it was wrong, I was ashamed. I felt constantly inadequate. My self-worth was tied to these external KPI’s and it was a road with no end. I was never enough.
In Western society, we have put the masculine or yang on an elevated pedestal and we have shamed the feminine, not only internally in our lifetime, but throughout history.
We tend to admire CEOs, billionaires, and doctors more than teachers, social workers
It doesn’t take much see that we have been living in a time of external doing, of pushing, forcing, of reason, of head over heart, of hard skills, of destruction and war. Being extra busy is a sign of success.
At the expense of what? At the expense of the feminine, the yin that balances us out. Our internal world has been utterly neglected. Emotions shunned and shamed. It seems there is not enough we can “do” to BE enough.
You can’t think your way out of feeling.
You can’t do your way into being.
You can’t rush your way into patience.
You can’t force your way into pleasure.
You can’t destroy, destroy, destroy
We have violated our natural laws. And with that, nature itself. We have been destroying the very Earth that gives us everything we need to live. We are destroying our own life force.
Do you see the irony? The imbalance?
It just doesn’t work. It’s simply unsustainable, which means it will come to an end eventually.
So, now what?
We can consciously choose to end this way of life before it ends us. The latter would be a very sad story.
I hope that we can harness the intelligence and intuition we have as human beings to choose better. To integrate the feminine AND the masculine harmoniously — because we need both. One cannot exist without the other.
On the edge between chaos and order is where we thrive. Too much of either is hell, but both are necessary.
Some might need to discover and connect with with the masculine, and others with the feminine, depending on their personal journey. As we integrate both of these in their most elevated expression in ourselves, it will reflect in the collective.
After all, humanity is just a reflection of the collection of inner states of each individual human being.
So how can we integrate? How can we choose better?
Welcome to a new way of navigating and embracing the feminine future. That is what The Self Club will be bringing you in the next few months.
We will be having discussions, events, and roundtables around what integrating the masculine and feminine looks like.
Awareness is always the first step. It begins with acknowledging and naming the aspects we have shamed or denied as a collective and individually.
Talk about this. Share it. Question it. Reflect on it. And start to ask yourself the following:
- What is your relationship to the feminine?
- Have you shamed the feminine within you or embraced it (regardless of your gender)?
- What does it look like to invite the feminine, or yin, back into your life or to live it out in a conscious, responsible, balanced way?
You can refer to the dichotomies above. Start small.
Allowing yourself to feel your emotions is a good place to start.
- I recommend you watch David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet on Netflix. It’s a beautiful tribute to the ultimate feminine -Mother Earth.
- This book The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection by Michael Alan Singer is a beautiful example of living embracing the feminine surrender fully- while getting A LOT done.