All the greats wrestled with their demons. Christ spent forty days in the desert and was tempted by the devil. The Buddha overcame the prison of privilege, saw through religious zealotry and battled the forces of darkness. Luke fought Vader (twice!) and found a way to make peace with his father.
However, we want to think deep personal work is like the flyer for a yoga retreat. We think that we’ll go to a beach somewhere hang out with svelte, attractive people, move our bodies, lie in the sun, and be transformed. Sometimes, this is how it looks true, but more often, deep personal work isn’t what you can put on a flyer or post to Facebook because it’s ugly.
Instead, it looks more like:
- Weeping on your bed clutching your sheets
- Having the most awkward conversation of your life without running away
- Eating kale even when you’re so fucking sick of it that you want to eliminate all the kale in the world
- Looking in the mirror, hating what you see, and then yelling at the top of your lungs
Deep personal work uncovers everything you’re hiding from yourself, the world, and those closest to you. And the things we hide are often raw, gritty, unprocessed, and messy. They are old fears, secret resentments, hidden agendas, and deep shame.
They are things we’ve invested much time into hiding and so when they hit the open air, they grow in size and magnitude, tearing into the night air with all of the terrific gore of a big budget horror movie.
In the rest of our lives, we judge success by smoothness, ease of use, and the small smiles it brings to others’ faces. With deep personal work, it’s better to judge success by bumpiness, by the raw depths we dig into, by the crap that comes up as a result, and by the dead and exhausted feeling that’s left when we’re done.
Deep personal work isn’t pretty because it’s not supposed to be. That’s what Facebook is for. Deep personal work is the container where our demons can play, our fears have room to breathe, and where everything we’ve been trying to keep down gets a seat at the table.
The hard part is accepting the messiness of it and being ok with seeing your guts spread out on a table in front of you. Accept that you won’t look coifed and lovely all the time, and that you will have mascara running down your face, back shaking, and pitiful expression of human emotion.
The reason I do this work and why I invite others to do it is because it’s the only thing that changes everything. It’s the only thing that can stand on the tracks and stare down the screaming train of your karmic patterns and have any hope of surviving. It’s the only thing that has made my heart grow bigger, my voice softer, and my life more real and amazing.
If you’re trying to sanitize it or look good while doing it, you’re missing the point.
Help Doing Deep Work
Doing deep work is hard. Which is one of the reasons I’ve engaged many teachers, mentors, and coaches to guide me into the depths of myself with skill and patience. One question I often get from people is how do I find the right group, mentor, teacher, or coach to guide me through this process. Many people aren’t sure if what they need is a therapist, a coach, or just some form of daily practice in order to deal with the things they’ve been avoiding.
Because of this I felt moved to offer a simple way to get started on this path. If you feel like you want to dive into this deep work, but aren’t sure where to get started, I’d love to invite you to have a short ten-minute conversation where I can give you some personalized support on how you can get started on this path. If this is a hell yes for you simply grab a time on my scheduling page and please keep in mind that while I’d love to help everyone I only have enough space for a few slots and then I’ll remove the link.