The future of this thing called transformation
As I finished this book and cracked open this one, my journal and head started to swell with thoughts about this work called "transformation." And, yes, why sales pages make me want to vomit.
But here's why I am so irked - because we seem to be suffering more. And with all the brilliant solutions available as pointed out in perfectly poised sales letters and sales funnels, we should all be buying our way to happiness with ease. So then, what gives? Because transformation cannot be sold on a website or alluded to in a clever and colorful sales page.
Transformation is gritty and doesn't come dressed up in flowery photos of people frolicking through fields with beautifully scripted quotes that say something like, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."
We're totally missing the point.
This work is gritty. I am all for dressing it up just a tad so you feel slightly better about cracking some of your most vulnerable stories wide open, but don't be fooled - once they are cracked open, anything goes. No cute quote or meme can ease the reality (good and bad) of seeking your truth from the inside out.
As we move from the "Age of Information" to the "Age of Authenticity" we need to update our approach to this thing called self-development before I lose my lunch. As Rich Roll so brilliantly shared on his podcast when he interviewed Danielle LaPorte recently:
"Efforts to divine truth from bullshit render imperfect results. Anxiety ensues. To cope, we double down on improving upon our self-improvement until we wake up one day and realize what began as a laudable quest for growth has suddenly become an obsessive malignancy — a sort of spiritual eating disorder gnawing away on our very soul."
Thank you Rich for capturing what I am trying to say.
An obsessive malignancy...yuck. And yet, he's right. Transformation is the new organic. But instead of overdoing the kale smoothies, paleo-anything, and pretending like raw cacao tastes like your favorite chocolate bar, we're macro-dosing on all things self-improvement.
It's no longer about going to see the "head doctor." Now it's about every variety of coaching, energy healing, astrology, back-up astrology, oracle cards, past-life regression, retreats from retreats, burning sage, stuffing stones in your pocket, and, if you're like me, consuming books like they will be taken away.
I have done and do everything I've listed above, to be fair. I applaud the intention here and support it. The intent to improve, to grow, and be more. We've shifted from trying to function to wanting to thrive. But are we?
Self-development being trendy is great for business, but is it great for humanity? And what is the balance? I am afraid that we've sucked all the purpose out of these practices and we're drowning in shallow waters. There's nothing shallow about deep work but how do you know you're diving in and not skimming the surface?
I know the direction of this article it sounds like I will land on some awesome singular truth and give you a few "steps" for truly doing the work. But that would be no different. Because there are no steps.
I think we've defaulted to step-making, program creation, and yes, the perfectly scripted sales page because the truth is if we didn't bedazzle the hard stuff, would any of us consume it?
Would we really take the raw action required to practice things like compassion, self-love, forgiveness, and joy? Would we willingly trek through our roots and untangle habits, generational wounds, stories, and strategies that are actually harming us? I don't know if we would.
Once you get on your path to radical self-discovery, that pretty meme and flowery quote on your Pinterest page no longer holds any function or meaning. You will see how diluted it is and how it disregards the ache of healing. It means well. All of my fellow change-leaders mean well. We want you to do the work and we want to invite you in with ease because know it won't all be easeful.
But would it be okay to use the truth as the invitation? To say, "Your shadow has much to teach you and when you're in the thick of it, it won't feel that way. It will feel like you're failing and it's winning, like you're broken and can't beat this shadow. And then with a little grace, you'll invite in some light. Although the light can't take away the pain, it can make it conscious revealing to you its purpose. In that moment you will find compassion for yourself and for all humanity."
Wait...was that sales page?! ;)