“Stop Working So Hard at Trying” Aging Like a Guru – Who Me? With Dr. Rosie Kuhn Podcast #118

Stop Working So Hard at Trying

This morning I had the delight to hang with my friend Joy for an hour. Joy is a joy-bunny. Her work on Earth is to play and create. She would be on the cover of my book Playing Like a Guru if I were to ever write that book. Joy is light, beauty, exuberance, and love, all wrapped up into one being.

However, all that Joy is – light, beauty, exuberant, and love, lives within the armor of should, shouldn’t, worries and constraints. She has the wings of a butterfly, yet is encased in a metal chrysalis.

At the magnificent age of 67, Joy is ready for what’s next. She has been working in the same job for 4 years, and she is ready for what’s next. She is planning, or attempting to plan, where she will go from here.

Joy did a timeline of all her jobs and careers. She shares that what was most fun was that which came without planning. When she just allowed herself to not try so hard, amazing adventures showed up. Not adventures like canoeing down the Amazon River, or doing some expedition in Africa. I mean the unfolding of the unexpected.


A client of mine, Garret, who is in his 50’s, shared a similar theme a few months back. Garret is this beautiful being that feels pressure from the world to be something he isn’t. He worries that if he isn’t doing what he is “supposed to do,” then he will end upon the streets. He has another 10 years before he retires from a job that drains his entire being. And, as much as he wants to leave this job and do something that nourish his soul, he is scared!


Another one of my very favorite people on the planet, Mandy, is slowly extricating herself from what she is afraid to lose: safety, security and stability. Like Joy and Garret, Mandy loves to be immersed in joy, beauty, and fun. And like Joy, and Garret, Mandy judges herself as foolish and frivolous to think she can have a life that isn’t constrained by the principle of “work hard and you will be rewarded.”

Several years back I wrote a book called The Unholy Path of a Reluctant Adventures. It’s autobiographical in nature. As I was writing this book I saw the specific times that I was called to specific actions, people, and places. Like moving to the Province of Nova Scotia and leaving my job as a therapist to sail around the world. Then, doing a Ph.D in Transpersonal Psychology, studying Spiritual Guidance, then coaching, then moving to Orcas Island.

I saw that the times that I followed the calling, where my intuition so strongly led me towards a road less traveled – that’s where my life filled with joy, love, beauty, exuberance and prosperity! I have no regrets in following these callings.

I also listed those specific times where I made the choice to take action, and didn’t listen to my intuition. When I didn’t listen to my intuition and made choices that didn’t necessarily include any sense of Divine Intervention, the outcome did not provide me with joy, love, beauty, exuberance nor prosperity. In essence, in those moments I followed the “shoulds” of our consensus reality. It was a choice made from a logical, mental orientation. And the bottom line of that story was: "WHAT WAS I THINKING?" Even though some very beautiful beings were created by following my logical thinking – my children, I had huge regrets!

At the end of the book, I made a list of all the times I followed my heart, my intuition, my calling. And, I made a list of all the times I followed my head, my logical, rational, side of me strategizing to get what I thought I wanted and needed. Guess which list I want to add to, till the day I die?

It’s Never Too Late to Dream Big

So this morning, Joy reports that she made a list of all the jobs and careers she’s had in her life, trying to figure out where to go next. I asked, "What if what you are to do has nothing to do with careers and jobs? What if what’s yours do to doesn’t fit into the normal reality of life?" You see, Joy is always trying to fit in, even though the truth is she isn’t meant to fit in! Truthfully, I believe we are never meant to fit in. We are meant to listen for that which will guide us into being the fullest expression of our essential nature. No one else has ever, ever, ever done what we have come here to do. So, truthfully, we are never meant to fit in. Not one of us!

In my most favorite book ever, Oneness by Rasha, Chapter 31, the notion of the innocence of the dreamer is hammered home to my being. I’d say to my brain, but that isn’t where my dreamer exists.

Chapter 31 talks about how we as children dream with full potentiality, until we begin to put limitations and parameters on what is “reasonable” to dream.

Then we live into the dreams of what we think is possible, putting all sorts of limitations on what is possible. "I’m too young, I’m too old, I’m a woman, I’m Gay, I’m uneducated, I have children, I’m lazy, I procrastinate, I haven’t any money….”

Over the years I’ve been training myself to let go of limiting my dreams by what I perceive as real. I’m training myself to return to the innocent dreamer who has not one single constraint in the way of realizing who I am in my fullest potential. This is the arena within which I’m working really hard. I put in a lot of discipline because I’m committed to learning how to live beyond the constraints of what I thought was reality.

Joy, Garret, and Mandy are on that path too. Even though they are living in different decades of life, each is training themselves to listen for their heart’s desire. They are training themselves to feel into the resonance of their intuition. They each have experienced Callings in their lives, and have followed those callings. But to make a career out of living that way feels daunting; yet it is where their truth lies. They know that. And, they are still unsure if they can choose this way of life, one day at a time.

Joy’s mom, age 91, when asked if she was done dreaming, exclaimed, "Hell No! There are so many things I dream of doing. I would love to go back to school – there’s so much more to learn."

Regardless of our age, each of us has the capacity to dream, to dream without limitations, and to perhaps incrementally take steps to bring those dreams into fruition. There is no age limit. We just have to be willing to stop working so hard at trying.

The trying comes from our attachment to being safe, secure, and stable every moment of our lives. Trying means that we are attached to knowing how things will turn out before we even begin. Trying is lying, as a very wise person once told me.

When I’m trying, I’m lying to myself regarding the degree to which I want to truly live into love, beauty, exuberance, play, and prosperity. And, so I continually attend to when I’m working hard at trying, and I then return to training myself to let go of what I’m afraid to lose. (By the way, Yoda said this in Star Wars.)

When we stop working so hard at trying, something else shows up. This doesn’t mean that what shows up isn’t going to challenge us. It means that the adventure that arises is met with a little more openness, a little more curiosity, and a little more courage to maybe think or dream differently.

I say take advantage of every moment we have on Earth. For me, there is so much to be curious about. This is a very fascinating place to be, if we just stop working so hard at trying!

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For more blogs, books and videos, or if you are interesting in coaching or training with Dr. Rosie, check out her website: www.theparadigmshifts.com

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