I’ve said it… I’ve heard it said…

“I’m doing my inner work.” 

There’s something about these words that excites me. 

They are also rather obscure. 

Like, what does inner work actually mean? And what’s the point of investing our precious time and energy into doing such a thing? 

The obscurity comes from the fact that inner work is vast and limitless, because our inner self is a whole universe in and of itself. Each universe has its own unique essence, and so there are unlimited ways and contexts to talk about inner work and how to go about doing it. 

But for the sake of this post, I’m going to talk about it like this:

It’s about getting to know, owning, and acting from your authentic self.

For example, let’s pretend that at the core of you, you’re an artist. When you are creating something, you feel alive and energized and optimistic. When you aren’t creating, you feel anywhere from meh to deeply depressed. Let’s also say that creativity wasn’t valued in your family. Nobody else had this wiring, and so nobody else knew how to properly care for and encourage your artistic affinity and talents. Let’s say your family had an entirely different vision for you, and so you spent your childhood and young adulthood being funneled into someone else’s ideas of who you should be. By undergoing mal-nourishment in such a fundamental aspect of yourself, your creative expression slipped through the cracks and ended up in your shadow realm, hiding from both you and everyone else.

And then you grow up and have failure to thrive symptoms and can’t get empowered about the life that you’re living, and feel generally defeated and don’t understand why. You’re long disconnected from your original design of being a creator through all of those years of being conditioned elsewise. 

Often, so much of how we are living (both in major ways, and in small, subtle ways) are dictated by influences outside of ourselves, and have nothing to do with the nature of our true design. When we don’t go “inward” on a regular basis to check in with our hearts and spirits, to discover what’s true and what isn’t, we aren’t able to live authentically, and then are robbing ourselves of the joy and fulfillment that is our God given birthright. 

A personal example of this is that I didn’t know how much being in nature meant to me until a couple of years ago. Even though I grew up in a woodsy little town, my family were city folk and didn’t prioritize quality time with the trees, waters, rocks, and stars. And so I didn’t really either. All I knew was that I was pretty sure I didn’t like hiking. And I definitely didn’t think that hopping into the car and driving a couple of hours into some bomb ass wilderness from the urban area I live now, would do much for my overall wellbeing. I was conditioned by a program that wasn’t my own. And now that I’ve discovered and embraced my connection to the earth, it’s undeniable how much straight medicine it offers my soul. It’s become a basic tenant of my self care. And it turns out, I freaking love hiking. But there were layers of stories and identities that needed to be confronted and undone in order to arrive to this genuine part of me. 

Often times what we’re working through are many layers of shame. A super vital part of doing inner work is bringing gentleness and compassion directly to our shame spots. 

And it’s through doing this very thing, slowly but surely, that we are able to discover the truth of who we are and what our souls came here to do. 

Another example: When my friend, a total creator type, was in High School, she told one of her 10th grade teachers that she wanted to design toys for a living. Her teacher replied with, “You can do way better than that.” Because she was smart in ways that were more appealing to her teacher’s ideas of success.

Dream. Crushed.

She works in health policy now. And fortunately, has reclaimed her love for creating by prioritizing her artistry in her free time. 

Without going “in” and spending quality time with ourselves, we won’t be able to access the honest rhythms of our being. And we have to go in and do this work (which is mainly about undoing) for our OWN self because the original problem arose in the first place when others were deciding who we were for us. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. It’s just what happens… for each of us in different ways, and for some of us more severely than others. It is up to us though, to peel those layers back. 

This doesn’t mean that we have to go at it alone. Very much to the contrary in fact! I discovered my love for nature adventures by going into nature with people I trust, who have experience in different places, on different trails, and were going to pack the sunscreen and the snacks and could serve as reliable guides. Finding the right guides for self-discovery and exploration are, especially for those of us who thrive on accountability, is one of the most imperative components to doing the work.

And this is essentially what I do!  Serve as a trusty guide for inward journeying. 

If you are called to the work, I’d love to support you.

May you be true.