Once, I was a falcon, or at least I tried to be. Fast and focused, I was quick to act, quick to think, never a moment wasted. I wanted to fly the farthest and be the most ruthless. I carried with me always a sense of urgency, as if to say, “Look how much I care.”
I thought the hard and hurried in me was my strength. I didn’t want anyone to know how soft I really was. Or how scared.
But it’s exhausting to be a falcon when you’re not.
Years into this performance, I longed for something more tender, to live like no one’s keeping score. I wished to experience more of the moment and take truly inspired action, even though it scared me.
Sometimes I tried to be the tortoise, resting in the light and waiting with patient gladness at the world’s altar. And sometimes the butterfly. Gentle and courageous, living in devotion to evolution and expansion.
I pictured myself feasting on fruit and the sweetness of time, drinking in air like honey. I imagined I’d offer my song to the steely dawn, sharing generous blessings of joy and compassion to all who crossed my path.
My offerings always seemed more of the forceful kind, though, equal parts pleading and commanding. When I tried to slow down, I found unrest. You know, that moment of edginess that carries over from a breakneck life.
In tiny, restless sips, I’d catch myself in my own thoughts. It took only a second to feel the worries and stories pulling at my sleeve. “Listen to me. Listen,” they seemed to say in their breathless way. They’d remind me then, “You’re no falcon, nor butterfly, nor tortoise. You’re just you, and you’re not fooling anyone.”
I thought something was wrong with me. My hands were too heavy to let go of my burdens, my eyes too dark to see the light.
Caught between fighting and running, I wished I could just find a way out.
“Listen to your heart,” they all say. But, if my heart knew where to go (which I wasn’t sure it did), I doubted it would want to tell me after all I’d put it through.
No matter how many ways I tried to outsmart the restlessness, to bypass it or push through it faster, it always remained. But it always settled, too. Even when I was certain that this time it wouldn’t.
It was in this practice of being present with the human in me that I remembered what the heart was made to do.
I know. It’s always a love story, isn’t it?
Love is the temple, the altar, and the blessing. It’s the mother ingredient in every remedy I can name.
Cooled by love, we can step into the real real world, the one beyond this place we’ve crafted from hurry and hardness. And we can let it all drop. All the pretense and posturing, the expectations and urgencies, and we can find our clear mind and good heart once again.
Even when I don’t know what to do, I believe this now. We can always show up and keep trying, always dedicate ourselves to something we believe in, and always have our backs.
Be focused when the moment calls for it. Or so, so gentle. Channel the butterfly’s delicate grit, the tortoise’s elegant groundedness, and the falcon’s burning tenacity.
And no matter what, be heartfelt in your actions and loving toward yourself.
For years, I’ve dedicated my time to learning how to feel more at peace with myself and the world. This is what I study on Saturday afternoons. It’s what I talk to 99.9% of my psychotherapy clients about. It’s what I ponder at the grocery store.
Over the years and thousands of conversations and confessions, I’ve gradually built my own strategy for living with more love and less unrest.
I believe in it so much that I can’t not share it. So, here it is, put together and polished in a book: How to Have Your Back: Simple Instructions for Loving Yourself Through the Ups and Downs of Life.
Inside How to Have Your Back are lessons in loyalty, loving interest, caring communication, heartfelt action, and dedication-with yourself. Each lesson contains simple, step-by-step instructions, self-assessments, pledges and mantras, and tips on what to do when loving yourself is hard.
How to Have Your Back is available for preorder on Kindle now and will be available soon in paperback and audiobook. Starting now through the launch, I’ll send you the first full lesson on loyalty in audio and pdf format when you order. I’ll also send the Self-Love Set (the book bonus that excites me even more than the book, if that’s possible!) along with it, no extra sign-up required.
Much love to the falcon, the butterfly, the tortoise, and the hare in you,
It’s absolutely possible to see yourself as someone worth caring about. I share five lessons, tons of personal stories, and everyday actionable steps to help you learn how. Find out more in How to Have Your Back. Pre-order now and get the full lesson in loyalty plus the Self-Love Set sent to you in audio and pdf format.