I look at the crocuses blooming right now. They sure do have this “right effort” thing down!
I’m thinking back to several years ago when my children were younger and I wanted more control. More control OVER. That’s a really patriarchal way of living that many of us reach for when things feel overwhelming, when we are stressed, and when we are under resourced.
I am a do-er, a go-getter. I make things happen. That could easily turn into me working really hard, striving, going out to make it happen, and trying to figure it out (whatever it is).
That’s how I was approaching motherhood. And it was not working for me!
For many years now, I have heard the call from the Divine Within Me to take a more balanced approach – to motherhood and to life.
One day lying in bed in the early morning before anyone woke up (that’s usually my quiet time!), I couldn’t help but notice that whatever I was trying to make happen and push along just wasn’t going anywhere. And it didn’t feel right. It felt off. Yet I kept at it. I wanted to FIGURE IT OUT. I was forcing it and it was not working. And I KNEW that this wasn’t a way to live aligned with Spirit.
But it’s like an addiction! Maybe you have felt this way, too! Maybe you’ve said this to yourself:
“But I can’t slow down.”
“I have to keep going.”
“It’s all up to me.”
The forcing, the energy excursion, the restlessness, and, to be honest, the loneliness, didn’t feel right.
“There’s another way, Love,” I heard Spirit say to me. “It’s ‘right effort.”
I knew what “right effort” felt like.
It feels smooth, it has energy to it, nothing feels forced, my breath is slow and steady, my body is awake but not right or tight, and I feel a “yes” within me. When I am putting forth “right effort,” I am honoring my body, my heart, and the season of my life.
“Right effort” feels like the place where Grace and I meet and we flow.
But it had been a long time. I had to admit, I was tired. Worn out. Under resourced. And the holy call to “right effort” felt like a long, slow, nourishing exhale.
I knew in my heart back then that I had to embrace “right effort” again.
I had to drop the belief that it was all up to me, that I couldn’t stop, that I had to be the one to manage everything.
Ten years ago, “right effort’ meant learning to let go of striving, to make room for rest, to let my focus be on connecting with my family, and to focus less on work. I began to go about motherhood in a more balanced way. I began to bring “right effort” into my daily vocabulary and prayers!
And now, looking back over these last ten years, I can say that “right effort” has served me. There is a deeper sense of ease within me. I trust. I recognize more quickly when I am trying to be the god to make it all happen…and surrender.
Dear Readers, no, it is not easy – at first. We are really tied to this idea of hyper-unhealthy masculine power, control, and effort. Going harder and faster. Going stronger and having “control over.”
It doesn’t work.
Individually, it tires us out. Collectively, well, look around us.
We need a balance of a HEALTHY expression of masculine AND feminine. THIS is right effort. This is the place where Spirit and YOU meet…and you flow.
How to do you start to bring “right effort” into your day?
- Start with a prayer.
Yep. Start with a prayer of surrender (or a DESIRE to surrender!). Use the language that resonates with you – whether that is Spirit, Beloved, God, Universe, Divine. This simple prayer is taken from my book, Gems of Delight:
Prayer: God, you want to create a sense of ease in my life. Such ease arises from “right effort” on my part and trusting you. It’s time that I let you lead this dance between you and me.
- Then live it.
Throughout your day, keep the idea of “right effort” close to you. Bring it into your everyday vocabulary. Keep your prayer on your heart and in your mind.
Right before you start to do something, ask yourself, “Is this ‘right effort’? Is this what ‘right effort’ feels like?”
You’ll know! Your body will tell you.
- Start to notice what “right effort” feels like IN YOUR BODY.
Once you get a bodily felt sense experience of “right effort,” you’ll know it and this bodily awareness will be your guide, your sacred antennae! When you are putting forth way too much effort (which is usually the case for myself and my clients), your body will say, “Wait a second, Love. This doesn’t feel right.” And you’ll have a choice: do I keep at it or do I honor the Divine within me?
*If you are looking for little doses of spiritual inspiration that transcend the boxes we have the Divine in…if you are looking for a guide for your five minute Sacred Pause…if you are looking to align yourself with the rhythms of the seasons…check out my forthcoming book, Gems of Delight: seasonal inspirations for moms to heal the hurry and embrace what is sacred.
I’m self-publishing it with the help of an Indie publisher! Sign up to get notices about Gems of Delight: