You Don’t Have To Try So Hard

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So, what would it be like to know that you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone or live up to the standards or expectations of others? What would it be like to relax and give yourself complete permission to be exactly who you are, exactly as you are?

Join me this week as we consider ways of putting that into action.

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Years ago, when someone first said to me, “Scott, you don’t have to try so hard all the time,” I had no idea what that meant. At the time, I certainly didn’t know what it was like to be still inside and align with my authentic self. For as long as I could remember, I’d never known anything but pushing or pulling, trying to conform to what I thought other people wanted or needed. Changing like a chameleon, I was always shifting, but wasn’t being my most natural self.

Afraid that I’d get hurt in some way or that I would never get where I wanted to go, I never let my guard down. Come to think of it, I hadn’t stopped to define where it was that I was headed or what I genuinely wanted.

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I suppose each of us needs our own wake-up call, and I certainly had mine. What it consisted of is not as relevant for our consideration today as what came afterward. When it happened, I thought of things from my past that beautifully foreshadowed what would eventually become my natural state.


photo : Scott Lennox


Playing beside the drainage ditch that skirted our South Houston neighborhood, my younger brother and I knelt in the wet grass and fashioned little sailboats from scraps of wood and bits of paper. There’d been a driving rain the night before and the water in the ditch was moving nicely. I remember laughing as we released our boats and watched them sail away on the current.

I also remembered what it was like years after to be carried along by the current of the Brazos River when I canoed on it. Here and there, I rested my paddle across my lap and let the river take me where it was going while I quietly leaned back and took in the scenery. Occasionally, I put just the tip of the paddle’s blade into the water. Making only the slightest movements, I found it easy to guide the canoe around things that were sticking out of the water. As though I’d always known how, it was all so natural and effortless.

It would be years before I grasped that we can do the same thing in life when we choose to. I’m not saying that there’s nothing to do. But, without pushing or pulling or straining, and sometimes with no more than the slightest shift in our awareness, we can allow ourselves the freedom to respond in our own natural ways as the events around us unfold.

How good it is to know that it takes no special effort or force or act of will to be who and what we are. We simply allow it. But that’s not what most of us were taught. From an early age, most of us were taught to exert or push toward what we want and to pull back from what we don’t. We were taught to fit in and go with the herd. We were taught not to listen to our innermost self or follow what it’s telling us or showing us.

But it doesn’t need to be that way.

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As the world is quickly changing around us and much of what we considered to be normal (if we considered it at all) is no longer part of our everyday experience, we’re now in the ideal place to look inside ourselves and re-center—developing the natural and dynamic balance we need as we grow and adapt and move forward.

So, what might that look like and what might it be based on?

What would happen if instead of bracing against what’s taking place, you began to flow with it without trying so hard? As you take a moment and ponder that, what arises in your awareness?

What would happen if instead of constantly and rigidly “being in control,” you allowed yourself to “row, row, row, your boat, gently down the stream,” without pushing against the current?

What would happen if instead of reading from a script that someone else handed you, you faced whatever you are dealing with from a relaxed place and thought and spoke in your own voice?

Each of this week’s two-part Beautiful Questions are designed to consider just that.

One: In what ways are you aware that you regularly brace or hold physical tension in your body? What might naturally change for the better as you release that tension?

Two: What old or “borrowed” rules have you been following that are not serving your best and highest self? What will shift when you replace them with what you know to be true and right for you?

Three: What habits or behaviors are in the way of your living fully and successfully? Once again, what will change when you replace those habits with healthier and more authentic ones?

As always, I’d love to hear from you as your answers arise to these questions. Write and tell me about it.

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As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light.

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