Deep Stretch: Cease Striving

November is coming to an end and if you're familiar with the podcast, you know we're back with our monthly Deep Stretch episode. 

As Taylor reflects and prepares to celebrate her 30th birthday (happy birthday Taylor!), she looks back and shares the mantra she chose to live this past year by. 

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Inner Warmup where your inner work begins. I'm Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator of Inner Workout. And you as always are our expert guest. Thanks for being here today.

Today is a Deep Stretch episode. If this is your first time with a Deep Stretch, it's a little bit different, because instead of having the time for reflection, it's really as if I was sitting with you with a cup of tea, or it's getting a little chillier here in Chicago, so maybe a cup of hot chocolate, and I'm just sharing what is on my mind as it relates to self care, and Inner Work. And I also could be speaking directly to you, if you join the Inner Circle for $5 a month. The Inner Circle is our monthly subscription and membership for $5 a month. You get access to this live recording of Inner Warmup where we can have a little discussion session afterwards and hang out that that part doesn't get aired, you get discounts and first dibs on our offerings. 40% off of our monthly workshops, you get access to a secret newsletter where we have like all kinds of content and product recommendations and you just know that you are supporting the work of Inner Workout. This is a really tiny team that works hard and intentionally to bring content that we think will be useful and meaningful to you. So if Inner Workout has made a positive impact in your life through our free content, and you're interested in getting a discount on our paid content, consider joining the Inner Circle for $5 a month.

Let's get into this week's episode. By the time you are listening to this, it will be the day before my 30th birthday. I am not the person who is like afraid of turning 30, I'm actually quite looking forward to my 30s. In some ways, I feel like I've been living as if I was in my 30s for years. I could list off a ton of reasons. I go out maybe like once or twice a quarter, I prefer to stay in, I like to go to bed relatively early. And I just I feel like I have 30s taste and 30 styles. So I for one am really excited to get to know and love myself more deeply in this new decade, which is what I've heard women in their 30s and 40s and 50s share about the process of aging, at least women that I look up to and feel aligned to their ideas around aging. And as I begin to look ahead to year 30, I can't help but start by reflecting, that's a me thing, that's also a thing that's important to us at Inner Workout. This idea of reflecting before resolving, reflecting before you set your goals, your intentions or resolutions. It's actually the basis of an upcoming workshop that we have called "The Look Back" where we're gonna spend some time together, looking back at 2022 in some unconventional ways, and using that to lay a foundation for your resolution setting of 2023. So that's kind of an aside. If that interests you, we'll put it in the show notes. But that's literally what I've been doing as I think about what I want for year 30 is like, okay, but what was true in year 29 and looking back, and because I am a person who likes to have a word of the year or a mantra or something to work with. It seems like that might be a good way to look back at the year. Especially for the purpose of this podcast episode. I'm a fan of retrospectives. If anyone is listening to this and works in tech, the idea of retrospectives retros might be familiar to you. For everyone else, a retrospective is just a way of looking back normally. In tech they're using this if they're building in an agile or an agile adjacent way. They'll normally have a project that they're working on for like two weeks to try and make progress to build out a certain feature or something. And then at the end of those two weeks, they'll do a retrospective and they'll look at what worked and what didn't work and how they'd like to change things. There's all kinds of frameworks for retrospectives. And I think that doing retrospectives shouldn't just be a practice if you work in a tech company. I think it's useful for everyone. And so I'm going to do a small version of retrospectives using my mantra of the year. Like I said, every year I have a mantra. And I wrote down, originally I was like, every year I come up with a mantra, but that's not really true. The mantras kind of come to me, they fall in my lap. I'll hear like a word, or a phrase or something. And it'll be like, Oh, that's it. That's what I'm supposed to be focusing on this year. And the phrase that chose me this year, surprised me, because I grew up in the church, and I don't practice faith the way that I grew up. But my mantra for the year is actually a piece of the Bible verse that says, Cease striving, cease striving. And at the time, when that phrase popped into my head, it was this invitation to slow down. To not need to be in such a hurry, to not have to try so hard. Like even as I'm just saying these things to you, I just feel this energy of like ceasing, striving, and slowing down and laying down and resting to let things be easy. And I wish I could tell you, and maybe like a different version of me, or if I was a better person who worked in self care and personal development, I could sit down. And I could say, and here are the five ways that I perfectly embodied the idea of ceasing striving. And that would be the episode. But you know what, that's not the episode. That's not what happened to me this year, I actually really wrestled with this, I struggled with this mantra, more than more than I expected to. So I told you, I was going to use a retrospective to talk about my relationship to this mantra, the framework that I'm going to use, is "did well do differently." And then I'm adding an extra piece on, which is what I'm taking with me into next year. So one way that I thought I did really well at ceasing striving and was encouraging to me of what could be possible, if I didn't feel like I had to strive and I had to prove and I had to just work so hard to get things done, was Gateway Coaching. I did not go into this year thinking that I was going to start another company, I felt like all my eggs were in like, business-wise, were in the Inner Workout basket. And I was just going to focus on that. And I had all of these plans. And what happened with Gateway Coaching, it felt like this masterclass in what was possible if I let go of striving. The idea just came to me, because I was talking to my coach friends, and they were struggling with finding clients. And for those who are doing ICF, finding paid clients, I was talking to potential clients and doing pay what you can coaching for a little bit. And just seeing this range in what people were able to pay and like man, I wish there was something that could connect the dots between people who have a more limited budget, and coaches who were willing to work at a discount, because they were earning their hours for their credential. And so I just ended up building it. And it didn't feel like striving. It really didn't feel like striving, which was beautiful. Like, did I have to work and learn how to do tech stuff that I have not had to do before? And did it stretch me? Yeah. But I didn't feel like I was having to prove on anything like potential clients were coming relatively easily, coaches were coming to me easily. I posted in a few places, and then all of a sudden, like, it was just happening. And it felt so easy. And it felt really fun. And even the hard parts were growing me in neccesary ways. And it was like, Oh, this beautiful thing can happen without me having to force it, without me having to go look for it. Wow. I feel like this is something regardless of what happens with Gateway Coaching, because it's still very early in its journey. Regardless of what happens, it just taught me that like a different way of moving through the world was possible. What could be possible when I ceased striving. So that was the did well side of things. I'm starting you on a high note, because there is plenty that I would do differently. Working with this mantra really forced me to sit with this fact that I have this internalized, like pull yourself up by your bootstraps syndrome. And I honestly like feel gross saying that, because that is so antithetical to what I would tell you I believe. I don't want to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I don't think that that is a realistic thing. When we're talking about that, we're ignoring privilege and all of like, I could just go on this whole rant about it. And what I realized is I could say that for everyone else, and I could be all about creating opportunities for everyone else and creating equity and possibility for everyone else, but it's like I thought I was my own exception.

Even though I talk about self care, even though I talked about this different way of doing personal development, it still shows up for me. I still think that sometimes I am more worthy, or things are better or worth more respect, because they were more difficult. And I have just been fighting with this so much this year, I am working with a coach and a lot of what we're working through circles back to these ideas that are in total contrast to ceasing striving and like wait, no striving is the only way to go. Striving is what means that you are deserving of good things, which again, like really disgusts me that that is something that is embedded in my brain that I still have to work through.

One way that it showed up was, I've been circling around this idea for Inner Workout at this point coming up on a year. And I realized that I felt bad about it, because it seemed too easy. I built this whole narrative around the fact that it was too easy, and that it was bad that it was too easy and what that meant. And it was doing a disservice to myself, it also was doing a disservice to the Inner Workout community. And I just didn't realize how this weird ego and desire to prove myself was getting in the way of all of the gifts and blessings and opportunities that were around me. Because I was pushing them away and saying, No, I need to work harder. I haven't earned this. Even hearing myself say that. It's like, wow, wow, that these are things that I still have to battle. And I'm just being really, really honest here. I'm I'm always honest. But I hope that someone is listening and is heartened by the fact that, yeah, this is still stuff that that I go through, and I probably will continue to go through through the rest of my life. And that's why I'm so dedicated to the work of Inner Workout.

So that was my did well, and my do differently. And the last thing that I added was, what I'm taking with me. All of the battles and the tension with this mantra taught me that having a word of the year isn't a box that you have to check. It's not a to do list, where I'm supposed to get to the end of the year and say, Okay, I perfectly ceased striving. I've fully integrated that lesson, I've let it go, on to the next thing. I actually still have a lot of work to do around ceasing striving. And that doesn't mean that my mantra failed. It actually taught me a lot. Like there are things that it illuminated in me that I am examining in myself. And that distance, that gap between the mantra what I was trying to do what I was trying to embody for this year, in my daily life. That gap showed me where there's room for growth, and highlighted places where I want to learn and grow and explore. And so in that my mantra fully did its job. I was just talking about this with the Begin Within cohort that's happening right now. And I feel like this is a theme in this work. When there is the space between what you're stating and where you are right now. It's actually a gift because instead of trying to figure out where the work needs to happen, there's a spotlight that shone on it. And cease striving was a spotlight for me around a lot of places where I maybe thought that I was over things that I'm not. My year 30 mantra, at least at this time of recording, it hasn't come to me yet. I don't know what I'm supposed to focus on next year. But what I can tell you is I am so looking forward to what it's going to teach me. Whether it is easy, and it's this beautiful reminder, whether it's like this year where it feels more of a battle, and I'm pushing up against it. I trust that whatever I'm meant to learn next year, I will learn as long as I am open to it. And that's true for you. That could be in your solar return year. That could be in this new year that we're getting ready to enter into. The lessons are there as long as you're open. And while I'm in this reflective and grateful mood, I'd be remiss if I didn't take time to thank you, the Inner Workout community. This work is not possible without you, this work doesn't happen without you. So thank you so much for being with me and being with Inner Workout in this journey. For the past three years, it has been the highlight of my year, one of the highlights of my year every year. I am grateful that this is part of the work I get to do is to learn and to grow and to explore with you. So thank you, thank you so much for listening. Thank you for reading the newsletter, thank you for subscribing to the Inner Circle and rating and reviewing and sharing with your friends and for the kind words of encouragement that you sometimes send to newsletters and to Inner Workout's DMs. I'm just so immensely grateful that I get to share space, whether it is virtual or in person with you. So thank you, thank you, thank you for making this a great year and thank you in advance for making my 30s extra sweet and special.

That's it. That's the end of this Deep Stretch. Thank you for reflecting with me. I wonder how this will help you as you're relating to your own mantras. And if you'll maybe consider adding a retrospective practice into some of your own journaling and reflection. Thank you so much for your time. Take care.