Sometimes we have to say goodbye to beloved treasures to make space for the new. And sometimes we need also to say goodbye to ways which we may have been “self-cherishing” aka nursing a particular ego-based version of our identity.
Today’s reflection balances out all the self love conversation from last week.
Yes we need to show ourselves some kindness. But we also need to hold our definition of ourselves lightly; to give our identity a chance to grow and shift.
This past week I cleaned my bookshelf and sold about half my books from grad school at Harvard for $60 at Half Price Books (I know?! You would think they would command a bigger price but I guess that tome on ritual studies or the collection of Gallup polls on the shifting political trends of the United States is not a hot commodity in the resale market).
Now I kept the good stuff, don’t you worry. But I did go through my books with an eye towards losing what felt stale.
Essentially if the only reason I had it on my shelf was to prove to myself (or worse, someone else) that I am smart, seriously that is a sad way to live.
The truth is that like many of you I love learning. It was this love of learning which led me to pursue higher education and fueled a desire to test my mettle in a competitive educational environment. But the funny thing is now 6 years post Harvard, I still love reading and honestly, I had to lose the old stuff to make space for new passions. (Currently simple living, archetypes, authentic leadership, oh and how to raise bilingual kids).
The question I used book by book as I held them in my hand was this: does it spark joy?
This inquiry felt like a corrective on the habitual energy of my personality type. Rather than orienting toward the exterior –what the book looks like or stands for on the shelf– this question challenged me to consider how I feel reading it, or even just holding it.
Joy is a tall bar. But seriously, what better question to ask ourselves about everything?
You don’t have to share my enneagram type to have a habit of valuing the exterior over the interior, it is how our culture operates. (It turns out we are a type 3 or “achiever” country. Yes it is weird to think of countries as having personality traits, but people who study the Enneagram can’t stop applying it everywhere. I know, I share this problem.)
Today I link the Enneagram, a powerful personality map, with our Challenge to offer a brand new meditation, something I have never before shared. It is a variation on the loving kindness practice but incorporates 9 vital Enneagram messages.
Depending on your personality type you especially need to hear one.
Try it out. And if you want to learn more about the Enneagram I offer two self-study ecourses which help you identify + work with your personality type: Uplevel, which is for people who want to consciously move through a time of transition, and Parenting with the Enneagram.
And now over to you…. what do you need to let go of to make space for the new? How would you like to use meditation to support you in this process? Leave a comment below. (This is kind of a big topic but you will have two weeks for this part of the challenge as we will take a breather + have an integration week next week for the 4th of July holiday in the U.S. Have fun!)
If You Would Like a Little Bit More…
I promised distilled this Summer. However, these are some of my deeper reflections if you are into that. Xo
QuickStart Mindfulness Question
I hope over the past few weeks you have had a chance to experiment with different options for your meditation practice: morning, lunch, early evening or the “happy hour” meditation. It is good to be creative and try various options to begin to discern a time that works for you. I also want to share that it does help meditating to become a habit to identify one place where you practice. I can’t explain it but it is almost like wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket to sit down in the spot where you consistently meditate. For me it is in my home office on a yoga mat with cushions or couch. Now that my office is under construction I’m meditating most mornings in the tree house. Which is awesome. But this shift in location has reminded me how helpful it is to settle on one place.
Where feels best for you? Could you try to stick with one spot this week + see how that feels?
It has been a full week and I have no insight about leadership other than to observe that sometimes to be a leader is to tell the truth about needing to recharge. We can’t expect ourselves to generate content, ideas, creativity all the time. Well we can expect that of ourselves but it doesn’t feel good. And whatever we offer can then start to feel forced as we override our authentic needs. Being human requires both the stretch and the rest.
I will be meditating each Friday at noon as the invitation goes out. Join me then or schedule meditation in your calendar at a regular time.
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can schedule a complementary conversation to talk more.
Join the Summer of Meditation Challenge Here!