For What Are You Built?

Escape from the round pen by jdj150, used under Creative Commons license, via
Escape from the round pen by jdj150, used under Creative Commons license, via

One reason a champion racehorse is such a beautiful sight, when running at its full speed, is that her power is completely unfurled - nothing held back, nothing pent up.   The same horse, back in the starting gate, was stomping and snorting, raring to go and emitting the acrid scent of impatience, even frustration at being held back.  She's BUILT to RUN.

When she runs, she's free.  She's natural.  She's automatically good at it, and there's nothing extraneous or off-base about how she does it.

Same goes for us:

there's something you're designed to do

... A way of being with your power that's natural and free and simple for you, and that you're really damn good at, already.  Yeah, the more you do it, the better you'll get.  Yeah, there's lots to learn and refine.  But anyone who sees you running - that's a metaphor, but you knew that, right? - knows you were born to do it.

Problem is, many of us are waiting to open the gate and go do the thing we're naturally happy doing, brilliant at, and effortless within.  We're still standing in the pen, holding ourselves back, even as we stomp (ever grumpy with your favorite guy for no discernible reason?) and snort (Yeah... When you're wolfing down the Java Chip, sugar:  you do kinda snort.  In a cute way.  But, yeah.) and strain to be set free.

We won't open the gate 'cause we have yet to Earn It.

 To Prove Ourselves by some other feat (less natural, less fun, less "us" - but somehow more "legitimate" - perhaps precisely BECAUSE it's not natural or fun or authentic.  MUST be righteous, then, huh?).

For me, writing and speaking - expressing my experiences and insights in words and word-pictures - is as natural as breathing.  Nearly every time I have a meaningful conversation with anyone, they exclaim at some point, "Wow.  You have amazing metaphors."  It's not difficult.  It's not even effortful.  It. Just. Happens.  Like when a horse looks up and sees the other side of the field, and next thing ya know, she's literally 


 across the intervening yards of soil.  Because it's her nature.

But instead of opening the gate every day and setting myself free - free to feel fully expressed, free to clear out all the words and ideas and feelings and pictures inside me, free to be more helpful, free to be more prosperous, free to be seen and connected with, on the basis of the best of who I am - I keep that gate latched.  I hitch myself up to the plow.  I go out the other gate and, heaving and sweating, dig long furrows in the earth until my bones ache and I can scarcely remember I'm capable of running.

In my life, this looks like managing projects and handling details, when I need to be writing and coaching, writing and coaching and speaking, and writing some more, and delegating everything else.  It means telling myself writing is a luxury I'll be able to afford "later" - after I've made more than enough money, after the work (AND the laundry AND the flossing AND the toilets) are done.  And (since I seldom do any of those last 3)

that day of affordability seldom arrives.

 And like the would-be novelist who becomes an editor or journalist, or the aspiring physician who settles for a nursing degree, I placate myself with voluminous reading and tell myself, "you're a great writer... when you get around to it, you will be, anyway."

And THEN, having run myself ragged trying to do the things I've legitimized as good and right and appropriate first priorities, and having read and read but not written much at all, I beat myself up for not being more prolific.  I castigate myself for my poor time management. I soothe myself with more books.  Or cheese.  Or new throw pillows.  And my writer seethes.

What about in your life?  

What do you do to "earn it?"  How do you put yourself to the plow, undertaking 'hard labor' instead of your real genius, the things that come easily to you and bring you joy?

What is it that you do as easily and beautifully as an Arabian runs?  What are you built for?

What stories do you tell yourself about the relative value or desirability of spending more of your time doing that?

When (if ever) do you tell yourself you'll make that 'running' more central to your life?

What's it costing you to put "plowing" so far ahead of "running?"  Inside yourself?  In relationships?  In your health?  Elsewhere in your life?

What inner tensions do you suspect might begin to unravel if you let yourself loose to run, a little more often?

What would become possible if you gave that unbridled being-yourself-ness its rightful place in your life?

What would that rightful place be?

I adore you.  Especially when you're running.  Please, for all our sake's, make some time to do it.  And yeah, in return, I'll write more often.