The Wednesday 1-2-3

Here's Why Having an Inner Work Practice is So Vital

Published about 2 months ago • 3 min read

Hey there,

In somatic work, we often talk about “conditioned tendencies."

These are the unique ways we’ve learned to react under pressure: the narratives we’ve crafted to protect ourselves, the physical movements we engage to keep our distance from others (or closeness to others), the actions we take to maintain our sense of control, and so on.

They are part of us and have been built to protect our access to safety, belonging, and dignity – but they can also cause unwelcome harm when left unnoticed and untended.

Here are some examples of what this might look like:

  • We enter into a romantic partnership and find ourselves repeatedly shutting down in the midst of hard conversations.
  • We notice that we consistently clench our jaw or scrunch up our shoulders when someone with "authority” comes into the room.
  • We catastrophize or future-freak, even when we cognitively know we don't need to, and get stuck in patterns of inaction.

For me, this is one of the main reasons having a set of inner work practices is so vital.

Building a daily practice that truly fits us helps us to:

  1. become aware of our conditioned tendencies so we have more capacity for choice-making,
  2. experiment with new ways of being that aren’t dependent on our conditioned tendencies or status quo, and
  3. embody the future we want to experience now, so we might move in our communities with more healing and aliveness.

In our roundtable last week, James A. Pearson (who will be leading a workshop with our cohort on Internal Family Systems) shared with us his poem titled "The First Promise:"

video preview

If you can’t see the video, you can also watch it here.

Having a set of inner work practices helps us open to what James is talking about here – to remember and to re-embody the promise "you and the soft world sang to each other."

If this resonates with your story and your longing, I really invite you to consider joining us for our upcoming May Inner Work Cohort 🙂


P.S. If you're hesitant based on the time commitment, cost, or concerns about "having enough discipline," I've included some additional thoughts on these below!

"Why is this pay-what-you-want?"

Accessibility – it's really that simple.

I believe dignity and connection are our birthrights. My hope is this cohort supports us in claiming both of them with every essence of our being.

In order to cover my expenses and ensure its sustainability, the cost of this cohort is entirely up to you with a minimum price of $65. If you're financially able, the suggested price is $90-140, but feel absolutely no pressure to pay that.

And if you find it’s just not for you, or life happens and you can't participate in a meaningful way, just reach out and I'll send you a 100% refund, no questions asked.

"What's the time commitment – like, actually?"

The short, non-answer answer: whatever you have to offer into it.

The more tangible answer:

Each week, there are two live sessions (60-90 minutes each) and they are always recorded for folks who can't attend live.

Each day, you're invited to do three things:

  1. Engage in the practice you choose to give yourself to. This could be a 5 minute breath practice; it could be a 30-minute journaling session. Whatever you decide to move with!
  2. Notice what's emerging in you over the course of the day and what your attention is being drawn to.
  3. Share a quick reflection in our online cohort community. On some days, this could be a couple sentences – or perhaps on some days it's just an emoji. Bring what you got.

The hope is not to add more to your day – instead, it's to infuse your day with a broader capacity for awareness, curiosity, and aliveness.

"What if I don't have the discipline to stick with this?"

The biggest concern I've heard from folks has to do with this one word: discipline.

Here's my quick take: we've been sold an image of "inner work practices" that was shaped in a context very much not our own. Most practices we think of – meditation, yoga, mindfulness, breathwork – have their foundations in highly structured spaces (like monasteries) and were formed by highly-specialized monks and priests.

They had all the time and all the built-in structure needed to work with discipline-based practices – but most of us aren't in that context.

So in this cohort, I'll be inviting you to trade your concerns about discipline for an openness to playfulness and flexibility. Here's a big learning Justin had in our last cohort about this:

We don't need to battle ourselves and shape ourselves in a specific way to have a life-honoring and life-emboldening daily practice – we get to experiment and find a practice that fits who we are and who we want to be.

The Wednesday 1-2-3

Become more intentional and present to your life.

Inner work frameworks, practices, and questions – all in a five-minute read. Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning before you even wake up. Written and curated by Andrew Lang.

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