acorn on leaf
I recently attended an event with a coach who challenged us to stop dreaming so much and start DOING something about our dreams.  He likened our big dreams to an acorn that had the potential to become an oak tree, and in scenario after scenario, he gave us examples about how “law of attraction” based inaction could thwart the acorn’s potential to become the oak tree. Sure, we could visualize the acorn as an oak tree. We could affirm the oak tree’s potential. We could even adopt a gluten-free diet and drink more green juice, in hopes that our efforts will help the oak tree grow. But unless we plant the acorn in fertile soil, nurture it with water, sunlight, and patience, that acorn is never going to realize its potential.

To demonstrate his point, he challenged us to an unusual form of “meditation.” Instead of sitting still and trying to calm our thoughts, we were invited to lift our arms over our head and bring the mind into present time while scissoring our arms together until our arms and shoulders got so tired and sore that we were ready to scream. Then, when we were all in pain and yearning to quit, he pumped the music up louder and dared us to keep going. Giving us permission to modify our movement if needed, he pushed us to keep up the pace if at all possible, to grunt and growl and cheer each other on.  By the end of the exercise, I’m sure many people felt a sense of accomplishment and patted themselves on the backs as an acknowledgment of their determination, commitment, and self-sacrifice in the face of pain. As I looked around the room, most people were grinning with the kind of relieved, endorphin-laden “We did it!” looks you see when people finish running marathons.

But that’s not how I felt. I may have been the only person in the room of pumped up people who felt…PISSED- not with the coach, but with myself.

No Pain, No Gain

Maybe it’s because I endured the pain of twenty years of self-sacrifice during medical school, residency, and my medical practice that I find myself resistant to anything that forces me to hurt myself, especially if it’s fueled by the kind of peer pressure you feel when a group is pushing each other to keep going, even when it hurts. After years of living by the “No pain, no gain” philosophy, these days, I’m much more inclined to feel attracted to Martha Beck’s mantra- “Play until it’s time to rest, then rest until it’s time to play.”

After years of learning from Martha, I’ve realized that I was once saddled with a limiting belief that all good things required hard work, suffering, sacrifice, and pain. Yet I now know that when I move in the direction of EASE instead, things mysteriously begin to flow.

Be Less Sperm, More Egg

It may just be a matter of gender difference. In asking us to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones in order to maximize our potential, this very Divinely Masculine coach is making a valid point. As long as we fail to even plant the acorn, no amount of play or rest is going to make that seed grow into an oak. The masculine principle of ACTION is a necessary part of the realization of any dream. Sometimes you have to do what I call the “ass in chair” work. Sometimes the required next step is to DO something.

But I no longer think the “ass in chair” work needs to be painful or require sacrificing your self care. I’ve had to learn to adopt the feminine principle I was taught first by Christiane Northrup, who taught me to “Be less sperm, more egg.”  This feminine principle has since been reinforced by my spiritual mentors Martha Beck and Tosha Silver. Martha taught me what she calls the “Four Technologies of Magic” (you can read my blog series about the Four Technologies of Magic here). Tosha instructed me on how to make an “offering” by turning over our desires and problems to the Divine and letting the Divine take the lead. (You can read about what I learned from Tosha here.)

These three very feminine but very successful women have all convinced me that we can thrive, fulfill our life purpose, be vessels for Divine work in the world, and manifest many dreams when we commit to surrendering our desires over to Divine Will, releasing attachment to outcomes, and letting the Universe work its magic.

It’s not that the masculine principle isn’t necessary and there’s not a place for the Divine Masculine, but in a culture dominated by the message that we have to push, strive, and make things happen, even to our own detriment, I tend to lean towards less pain, more flow.

What Are We Proving?

Perhaps this is why I bristle a little when I agreed to do something that left my shoulders so sore that I could barely lift my arms the next morning. Why did I not back off when I knew I should have? The very loving and concerned coach had even given us an out by suggesting that we could modify in order to avoid hurting ourselves. Why did I let myself get swept up in the pressure of it all? What do I have to prove? Where is the fine line between pushing beyond the limits of our comfort zones and hurting ourselves for the sake of achievement?

Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for working out, proving to ourselves that we can do hard things, increasing our endurance, and being brave. Discipline is an essential virtue necessary when we’re dreaming big. If we always quit the minute something got challenging, we’d never accomplish many of the big things we dream of creating in the world. The masculine principle of pushing ourselves when we must do hard things has its advantages. But when do we draw the line? When is too much of a good thing too much?

Embrace Inspired Action

I think the answer lies in what Tosha Silver calls “inspired action,” which is generated from the excitement and enthusiasm that bubbles up through your body and makes you DO something. Martha calls it “playing” when you take action that arises not from what you “should” do but from what feels so yummy you can barely keep yourself from doing it.

You can feel the difference in your body. The very idea of some actions makes you feel exhausted before you ever start. Other actions make you so excited you wiggle with delight and can’t wait to get started.

It may sound idealistic to suggest that you might only do that which feels yummy in your body, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest just that.

Don’t do it if you’re only doing it because you “should.”

Don’t do it because someone else is pressuring you to do it.

Don’t do it because you need to prove to yourself that you can survive pain.

Don’t do it because you think all good things arise from hard work.


Do it because you can’t NOT do it.

Do it because you’re being Divinely guided to do it, and Divine guidance tends to show up in the form of EASE.

And if you don’t feel that way, give yourself permission to stop doing it, not because you’re lazy, not because you’re a quitter, not because you can’t do it, but because you love yourself enough to grant yourself ease, happiness, joy, self care, inner peace, and shoulders that aren’t killing you.

The Fine Line

It’s a fine line. Being “eggy” is not about being passive. You can definitely take the feminine principle too far. I know people who are so “eggy” that they’re sitting back waiting for the Universe to deliver their dreams on a silver platter. These people have acorns they haven’t bothered to plant in fertile soil and nurture with water and sunlight. It’s important to have discipline even if you’re trying to live an eggy life.

Being “eggy” is not about doing nothing, but it is about choosing your actions carefully and saving your energy for those actions that are inspired, aligned, and moving you in the direction of play or rest, not pain.

If you find yourself resisting this message, check in with yourself. Is there an underlying limiting belief that makes you believe you don’t deserve ease? Do you think you’re not worthy of playing and resting? Why might you prefer pain and hard work to effortlessness and flow?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Committed to ease,

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  1. Janice Salomon

    Inspiration vs. motivation. The former, acting out of pure desire, the latter, acting from external pressure. For myself, when I’m inspired, “doing” becomes easy and “flow” just happens. As a believer in the journey, not the destination, I feel that inspiration is a form of happiness or self-love, and the actions associated with it are its expression. Tapping into one’s true desire is hard work and very elusive a lot of the time, but oh so worth the effort. Much better that getting sore arms and shoulders!!!!

  2. Andrea Huth Young

    So I have a question. How do I know if I’m giving it up (whatever the ‘it’ may be)? Is it because I’m lazy or because I genuinely do not feel it in my soul. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I do not follow through on things and haven’t from a young age. I don’t know if it’s because that’s what I witnessed growing up or because I just get bored, want something faster. Now I seem to be at a point where I really don’t seem to know the difference.

    • SUSAN from

      Hi Andrea, Ask yourself what the pay off is for not accomplishing whatever you sent out to accomplish. (and stop affirming that you’re lazy :)) There is always a benefit to NOT following through or you’d just follow through. You may have to dig. Then once you find it you can determine whether or not it’s worth working through or if you have good reason for not finishing the project. Inspired action is definitely the way to go, but even when I’m feeling inspired I am sometimes stopped by resistance at a certain point. (the point just before the good stuff happens) If the outcome of what I’m trying to achieve is something that I really want, I look at what’s behind the resistance. Remember there is always a pay off even if it seems ridiculous. For instance after leaving an exhausting career and starting my own biz, I would often procrastinate on anything that brought money my way because I had the belief that you had to work HARD for money and success and after many years of hard work for lots of money and success my health and life suffered. So I would deliberately sabotage myself because, subconsciously, money & success = poor health and exhaustion to me. Once I was able to find the payoff of procrstinating and not following through (more rest and freedom) I was then armed with the awareness needed to overcome the resistance and I could start reframing that belief. Make sense?

      • Andrea Huth Young

        Yes, actually, it reSlly does make sense. Thank you

    • Dana Barron

      Martha Beck has a fabulous exercise in Steering by Starlight called “shackles on, shackles off.” Close your eyes & get quiet. Picture doing the thing in question. Feel the reaction in your body. Try not to talk to yourself or THINK – just feel yourself doing the thing. Do you feel shackled, or free, heavy or light, dread or excitement? There’s your answer.

      • Andrea Huth Young

        Excellent. Thank you Dana, I will try this!

  3. Mark Hashizume

    I LOVE this post! Forcing myself because I SHOULD (for whatever good or spiritual reason) sucks. I grew up doing that as my family value system (Japanese American from parents who grew up in the Depression). I appreciate your egg perspective Lissa.

    To this day and at my age (60), I still have to work at playing which I hate. Not being able to spontaneously play sucks.


    • Sactowoman

      Mark, you can try affirming your desires, without words like ‘sucks’ and ‘hate’. It’s all about energy. 🙂 words have power. blessings.

      • Mark Hashizume

        Thank you for that suggestion. I do practice watching my words and affirming my joy and desires. I also practice not stuffing what is going on in the moment and being authentic which came out in my posting.

        • Sactowoman

          Oh good, I can do that too. I hesitated to sound like a ‘should’!

          • Mark Hashizume

            Yes and right now I am “shoulding” having fun. Doh!

    • Teresa

      Being age 60 & growing up in a Japanese American family I can relate… Sacrifice–even at the expense of one’s health, hard work–even to the point of exhaustion, & worry were what I thought was valued? Rest & play, not so much. Discovering who I am underneath all the shape shifting I’d done most of my life has been & continues to be both daunting & liberating.

  4. Cari Girk

    SO glad you shared this point of view. I could not have expressed my own feelings any better. I can work as long and as hard as any person as long as I’m doing it out of love. There is nothing harder for me to do, than to do something just for the sake of doing something. Or worse yet…because everyone else is doing it. It sounds like you were in a situation where you weren’t sold on his theory and he was asking you to try something to prove his point (or feed his own ego). No love there. Was he asking the group to do this exercise to better the world? A group meditation or visualization would have felt much better. Was he suggesting a new technique to feed your soul? Doesn’t sound like it. I love the part where you share your observation at the end of the exercise…I would have been right next to you feeling just as pissed. It’s all about love, love, love. Speaking of which…I LOVE you Lissa!! You are such a beacon of light right now as many of us are waking up. Thank you!!!

  5. MeganHaleLPC

    Thank you, Lissa. There’s so much pressure to keep up with the others, to go toe to toe, and it’s exhausting. It’s living from a fear- based perspective that if we don’t keep going at this feverish pace, we will be left behind. I operated at that speed for nearly all my life, but just recently started to notice just how much noise was in my head of all the things I “should” be doing or need to be doing. I, myself, can’t successfully execute and prioritize an overwhelming amount of tasks. So I decided one day that I wasn’t going to do that anymore. I know what I need to do and the order in which I need to do them. I’m not going to get swept up in this fast pace/keep up with the Joneses philosophy. I listen to what’s good for me, where I find my flow. This is where the best work happens and in fact, I feel more accomplished being able to slow down than being able to speed up. Thank you for your perspective, as always!!

  6. doglover1918 .

    My dad taught Creativity in Business after a 28 year career as an Army artillery officer. He embraced something he called “the 3 E’s” – easy, effortless and enjoyable. I think of this periodically since he died 21 years ago, but have trouble integrating it with common societal attitudes of hard work and total dedication.

  7. Denise

    This is a great article. I was raised as a Tomboy. I learned to push thru a lot in life. The driven behavior is exhausting and kind of addicting. I have a hard time finding the balance and being ok with being more eggy! I am learning though!

  8. disqus_J5moxZmdBE

    Thank you so much, Lissa. I am being inundated with internal “shoulds” today. I needed the reminder of “no pleasure, no treasure”. Now to paint 🙂

  9. Angie

    I love every single post you’ve written (and that’s the truth), but this one was SO GOOD for me. Thank you. I’ve attended coaching seminars with this exact exercise, and I too felt PISSED. I thought I was the only one, but I realize that I have also always pushed myself beyond what was healthy for me because I thought I should. I have worked grueling hours to the point of exhaustion most of my life – I’ve had great “success” from the outside world’s point of view, but I see now from reading your books and blog, and the books you’ve suggested by Martha Beck and Tosha Silver, that I can accomplish so much more from a place of love and allowing and only “doing” what I love. That is where the real success is felt…and shared! I am so grateful for you, Lissa!

  10. Coree Howard

    Thank you for this article, Lissa. I know what meditation you are speaking of and wondered something similar. I’ve actually done it a few times and my body forced me to learn this exact lesson. I re-injured an upper back muscle the first time I did it and couldn’t move for a few days. The next time I did it in a group, I still felt some sense of wanting to push myself and some peer pressure but I was more cognizant of feeling what was truer to myself. When I felt like I was going to hurt myself, I stopped because proving anything to anyone (including myself) was not worth hurting myself. I had your posts about spermy vs. eggy in the back of my mind. I used to get caught up in the “shoulda” actions quite a bit instead of doing what felt yummy and inspiring. Now, I’m still learning but I’m enjoying leaning into egginess.

  11. Chara Armon

    Thanks, Lissa. It’s such an important topic. My own thinking on this goes in the direction of how we hurt the natural world more, I believe, when we are in ‘push’ mode too much of the time. I think that not only does our self-care require ‘being less sperm, more egg,’ but so does our care of the planet. I’ve been writing about this lately, actually:

  12. musicupliftsmysoul .

    Thanks Lissa. I’ve just been out and was pondering your phrase ‘Owning Pink’, wanting to draw it into my life. Ponding, after all I’ve read and heard, how to do things in the way of the Divine Feminine – and literally ‘calling’ it to me. You summarize a few pointers in this post. I understand more easily Tosha’s way of describing it.
    I was feeling so weary of the way the world functions in general, in such a masculine show of ordered male domination or patriarchy- from architecture, to business, to normal shopping transactions and experiences. I yearn to bring in the Divine Feminine way of doing things into my life, and I know that it is my way only forward.
    This past weekend, I had a so called healing experience inflicted onto me by someone who did not have my permission. I had met her, chatted, and then experienced her to be ‘ravaging’ in retrospect. Later in the day, some distance ‘healing’ or whatever, started – no request from myself, or agreement, and no warning given by the other person. It caused hours of excruciating pain, at times I had to consciously black out from it. There was no improvement afterwards either. In fact, I felt worse off. I was mad at the person and have been upset until today when I shook it off.
    Very interesting and synchronistic timing of this post, thank you. – I WANT PINK.
    Together with new femine ways of ‘doing’ things.
    The problem I experience, is finding that thing that is so ME, that I can’t NOT do it… with ease and enjoyment and fulfillment. On the odd occasion that I have done a small thing like this, I find ‘postcards’ on the pavements, stickers on car windows etc sending messages of love and encouragement, per Tosha and her teaching. The universe supports me. <3
    Ps. It's not letting me post via a facebook log in. Disqus uses my youtube channel name, which I like and didn't want to change.

  13. Freda Thompson

    Great discussion essentially about having balance in everything. For sure, nothing gets done without action and we must rest and pay attention to our minds, hearts and bodies to know how much effort to exert at any given time.

  14. Natalia

    I absolutely love this post and the discussion it created! Thank you Lissa.

  15. Lisbeth

    Also I am dealing with this kind of question right now. I´m receiving a treatment these days for my health, which means injections twice a week for two hours with vitamin c. But I have an old fear inside of me of pain and getting hurt. So this treatment is very difficult for me to go through and makes me wonder, if this is right for me. Should I listen to the voice that says “I don´t like anybody to hurt my body” or should I go on….what´s the right thing to do in this case I wonder?

  16. susan b

    “But unless we plant the acorn in fertile soil, nurture it with water, sunlight, and patience, that acorn is never going to realize its potential.”

    Out of tiny acorns oak trees grow….True. However, I believe the analogy he used comparing acorns and dreams is way off the mark. Acorns do not grow because we plant them in fertile soil, etc. It’s more eggy. Acorns get stepped on by animals/humans, buried by squirrels, covered with leaves with which the wind has blanketed them. In a sense, they are “releasing attachment to outcomes, and letting the Universe work its magic.” Acorns never push…..

  17. Naomi Bellina

    Perfect advice, as always. I spoke with a woman this weekend who told me she works seven days a week. Why? To prove she’s busy and important? It seems that’s the mark of a successful woman now, one who works all the time. I agree with you, sometimes it’s hard to find that balance, but we must try.

  18. Christina Haas

    I worked with a male coach recently and the very next day on a different issue, a female coach. The differences in their styles were amazing. I left the female coach knowing that was what I needed fro myself. Slow down, be more mindful and stop trying to “push through” everything. I beleive there is a lot that we as women have to bring to the table with this energy. We just need to listen more to our intuition about it. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story. It helps to know we are all walking the path. xoxo Christina

  19. ExhaustedMD

    Thank you for sharing your story, Lissa. I can totally relate to the above. My self-sacrifice and belief that nothing can be gained without pain and hard work was with me during med school (I had our two children during this time), residency and in my medical practice. I gave all of my energy to my patients and became extremely burned out in the process. Last year I had to walk away from my successful medical practice in order to recover. While there is much uncertainty and discomfort in my life right now, I am grateful each and every day to the Universe that I woke up!! I know I am headed into an incredible (and easy and fun) journey.

  20. Steph

    I felt such joy and expansiveness reading this post. EASE has been my guiding light for the past several years. And it’s not easy, which is why I know it is exactly the direction to lean into.

    I agree that we often get to this place because of our history. For me, it’s been a lifetime of depression, anxiety and people-pleasing. I am now allergic to anything that gives me a sense of pressure, urgency or obligation. I have plenty of masculine fire energy. But I am still learning to cultivate and appreciate the feminine.

    I tend to gravitate towards, and teach, whatever I see is lacking. “Just Do It!” is the pervasive cultural message. It may largely be because I live in NY, but I can’t even find a truly relaxing yoga teacher. It’s all yang energy everywhere.

    I am so glad to begin to see the feminine message being spread farther and wider. Thank you, Lissa, for adding your voice to the mix. I am officially a fan. 🙂

  21. mjparent

    I am now in a very extreme self care episode. And I discipline my self to it. All the discipline goes to : do more of what you love to do, always.

    I really enjoyed your saying : “And if you don’t feel that way, give yourself permission to stop doing it, not because you’re lazy, not because you’re a quitter, not because you can’t do it, but because you love yourself enough to grant yourself ease, happiness, joy, self care, inner peace, and shoulders that aren’t killing you.”

    I was going to protest on this at first because I was calling my self lazy. laid back, but not in a negative way, more in a freeing way. I can not do something and it’s ok. I can stop something anytime and it’s ok. It is the quest for freedom in my own mind.

    Quest-ionning the mind always, as our friend Byron Katie shows us.

    Thank you for your great work, you are truly an inspiration.

  22. Rachel

    yes! i spent so many years in the should and in the masculine and now i’m exploring the feminine and feel liberated and open. society today celebrates shoulds and doing, but it’s not making people happier or satisfied and it’s time to change the message! thanks for continuing to share these ideas and your light.

  23. Claire O'leary

    I’m totally with you on this Lissa. Inspired Action indeed!

  24. Mark Hashizume

    I wonder if you can reach the same point of “success” in your life/career if you started out with inspired action versus focusing on “should.” Would you get to that place of success if you were eggy coming out of the gate? Or do you first need to self sacrifice and be driven in order to succeed and THEN find that eggy place? I wonder …

  25. Silver

    Wonderful! Just what I needed to explain the beautiful things that have finally started happening in my life.

  26. Kerry

    Yes! I’m so happy to read this post. I noticed in the last few exercise classes that I’ve taken the instructor has pushed us. I’m very driven but could see disappointment on their faces when I backed off. Hearing, “how you do this is how you do everything,” made me feel ashamed. But doing what feels right for me because I listened to my body is more important. It translates to everything in my life. So yes, “how I do this is how I do everything.” I take inspired action!

  27. Amina Aliyu

    Absolutely true, whether eggy or spermy, we need to let go and surrender to the Will of Allah. Nothing happens except with His permission, so we may as well align ourselves and our actions with Him.

    He Knows All and He Sees All. So why not put our trust in Him?

    We are all a work in progress, and so am I. I daily have to catch myself when I say, “Just this last bit of work, then I will take a break to rest my aching back/ shoulders,” but then I remind myself, “Take it easy, Amina, what will be will be, you’ve done enough, now rest and take care of yourself.”
    It’s a constant dialogue 🙂 Thank you for sharing Lissa, I know exactly where you are coming from.

    To more being Divinely Aligned,

  28. Gailen Anna DeJong Dougherty

    I love what you have to say on most accounts and sometimes I agree and other times just a little.I have two sons and I don’t particularly love putting my needs second, but the laundry does have to get done. The devine, doesn’t grocery shop, the devine has not made private school an optoion or health care. My point, You went to medical, you worked hard, and then you were able to leave. I don’t imply that it was easy. But, you had the money to leave , to get a coach, to work with spiritual leaders. ” Most men live lives of quiet desperation”Seems fitting.I do 1,000 things a day not because I want too. Laundry , breakfast for kids and grocery shopping and all the other taks that I mostly despise , because I’d rather be having fun. But, thus far, god, the devine or anyone else, has not magically appeared to do any of it..I do it because it has to get done. My 9 and 11 year old are not able to raise themselves. One could argue that I could simply leave.And true that would be a decision to have fun.
    The poor aren’t poor because they don’t believe I god. The punishment for choices made bad and good is not always of our on making.I want to believe with all of my heart that jut sitting in a room praying to jesus, Rachael, abrham etc, will change my life .. But evidence suggests otherwise.
    Money would change my life, leaving my husband would change my life, but mostly money .Sure, I might not like a lot of what I had to do..but, with money and I do mean a substantial amount, I could leave husband, I could actually afford a diivorce , I could pay for a nutrionist to help my chronically ill child, and have a reliable person take him to baseball , instead of me. a great private school,instead of homeschooling, because my sons were bullied and the schools are a mess. Not because of me or lack of faith, but because they are.uld aff

    • mac1272

      I was wondering about this kind of stuff, too. How do you not do ANY of the “shoulds”?

      • Wyn

        Gailen & Mac, the key here is knowing that you chose to do those things out of LOVE & a desire for the best for your family.

        • Gailen Anna DeJong Dougherty

          Semantics… That is really the same as perspectiv .

          • sel

            I do not think that the phrase “to be more eggy” means just to do nothing;
            for me being spermy is struggling, being ready, being perfect, being on the post always,
            sometimes the goal is not worth it (it is either egoistic or imagined),
            but for you it is worth it, and as I see it, the playful moments are when you hear your children laughter probably;
            if you think of them your work/grocery shopping etc are inspired with the spark of joy, love etc which can be called spirit, but it just describes the quality of life;
            I see Lissa’s words as the invitation for play to appear in our life, and at first its presence probably does not change the outer circumstances, but can change inner ones, it brings ease;
            and it does not change what we have to do, but our imagined “shoulds”;
            and it does not refer to the conditions of our life but to the quality of it,
            that’s more or less how I see it – and how I am trying to apply it to my life

    • Gailen Anna DeJong Dougherty

      I have only my own truth and no spiritual leader but my own beliefs. I am a painter, if I don’t paint and sit and imagine painting. Well I am not painting. In reality I certainly could stop doing all of the shoulds who could stop me. Maybe, my kids would figure out how to make something, and their dad might come home sober and clean up. Unlikely and I personally feel better doing those things that will make a change in my life and they are often very hard and sucky. I often have to push myself. I am not in love with laundry or folding clothes etc, but I like the results. Sometimes doing less is more but I know forccertain god has never done my wash. I have faith and gratitude and am filled with love but not always in equal doses. I am both egg and sperm and I can tell that I have worked hard to make it as a painter. Love is not always the answer and doesn’t pay the bills. I do. Sometimes, things flow effortlessly and then life is easier. Money would change many circumstances and I could give you a dollar amount, God has not paid for private school or doctors bills. Sometimes we are victoms and hope sells reality not so much. All of that said I do feel blessed and hopefully but I am not sitting around waiting for life to manifest what I desire and it is true money can’t make you happy, but the stress it eliminates and what it provides can. I like Lissa, I loved her book. But, I am not connected to a group of profiting and connected self help authors or publishers.

  29. Boots

    This resonated with me – I fully appreciate the action approach, it certainly does get things don, but like Lissa I lived that approach (sometimes to the extreme) for many, many years. I pushed through undergrad, veterinary school, internship, residency and then ‘proving myself’ in clinical practice until I was in very bad shape physically and mentally (and spiritually I’d say). I got lots done to be sure, but now that I’ve spent years working back to what feels like a more natural and balanced life for me I find myself extremely resistant to following anyone who uses the ‘no pain no gain’ methodology.

    I think that part of it is fear though… there is a piece of myself that I know would latch on to those ideas, not unlike Lissa in the exercise. I have seen it rear its head, and I know it would dive into the pain-for-gain game if I let it (and give strength to the inner critic against all of my hard-won balance). I’ve played that game before and, for me, even ‘winning’ it is a hollow victory. I think my sometimes exaggerated resistance to that attitude stems from this fear – like an addict who fears touching a particular substance, I have to be very careful around ideologies that promote ‘harder, faster, better’. (Though I fully respect that other people work well in those environments).

  30. mac1272

    I was wondering how do you not do any of the “shoulds”? (i.e. – cleaning the bathroom, etc.)

  31. KimberlyD77

    Wowzers!! Exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve definitely been feeling like I don’t deserve ease. I’ve been listening & feeling the need to take inspired action, go all in, and then at times the only option is to rest. Thank you for so eloquently validating this concept for me. It was truly divine timing!

  32. Suemac

    I’m in the midst of major life changes that I have chosen to make: I’m selling my house, letting go of most of my belongings, moving across the country, and planning to semi-retire. This is a big undertaking and I have many things to accomplish and arrange. I decided at the outset to handle the situation in the most “eggy” way I knew how – to do the tasks that I need to do to make it all happen, while I vowed to let the Universe take care of the timing and the details and not fret about or force any of it. I’ve been making plans for about 5 months now, and I’m amazed at how centered and sure I feel, how light and inspired! I’ve sorted out most of my possessions, keeping only my favorite things, I have a buyer for my house, plans are in place for moving in about 6 weeks. I may have been able to make things happen more quickly if I’d been more “spermy”, but what would the emotional, mental and physical cost have been? I believe that letting go of the outcome, letting go of worry and how and why and when has made all the difference!

    • ExhaustedMD

      Congratulations!! 🙂

      • Suemac

        It sounds like you have accomplished some of the same things that I’m working on! Congratulations to you! Doesn’t it feel so freeing to give up the complicated, harried life? I’m not even there yet and already I feel light as a feather. 🙂
        I hope that you are able to give up being “exhausted” and embrace that uncertainty that you are feeling – allow the possibilities to come to you!

  33. avila629

    Boy howdy, did you ever nail it. I just **knew** when I embarked on my current profession that I was going to HATE it. But what did I do? Talked myself into it as it was the responsible thing to do. And the results? Endless years of doors being slammed in my face, people taking advantage of my work ethic, and none of the promised financial results. Not. One.

    I would read article in magazines about women my age who left the corporate world to pursue their dream, while having the cushion of a huge retirement or gigantic stock portfolio. Super fabulous for them and sucky for me as I did not have the financial luxury to chuck it all and “buy a goat farm in Vermont.”

    However, I used the burning envy as a guide to tell me what I really DID want to do, and although it took me a couple of years to let myself believe in my dream, I finally got beaten down SO thoroughly, that the only thing that kept me from hitting the reset button and starting over was 1. my kids, and 2. the thing I learned I really really love to do.

    While I would like to be able to say I have successfully transitioned into the thing that makes my heart sing, I am actively working on it in bursts of inspired joy! The difference between my day job (yawn) and my dream is the JOY that permeates the action! Even if I am never able to live off what I love, just being able to do it in bits and pieces is enough for me to know I am still alive inside. God willing, I will be able to share it with the world. If not, I will be sad, but I won’t stop as it’s the ONE THING that reliably brings me joy.

    Thank you, Lissa. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

  34. Janis Whitehead

    I am a Nurse Practitioner with a zillion years of experience. You speak to my soul and are such a relief in the world of medicine. I got pissed at my job and decided I would go back to school for my Doctorate and teach as I get close to retirement. The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a clinical doctorate and I was looking to top off my career with it. OMG! Academe is crazy. It’s all about writing a scholarly paper. I’ve met wonderfully creative people in my profession but there is no joy for me in this process. I have a lot to offer and to say but am feeling stifled.
    I would love to participate in your bringing together of nurse practitioners, PAs , etc.
    We are under siege .


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