Embodied Transformation & Evolution

Less Goal, More Soul

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Featured Writing, Lifeletters & Articles | 2 comments

Less Goal, More Soul

We’ve all heard the voices, with their seductive promises. Everywhere you turn these days you’ll find someone ready to help you achieve your goals: experience a breakthrough, move forward, cut through your obstacles, claim your power, align with the energy of success. I have also offered similar possibilities to some of my clients. They are seductive in several ways. I might be chasing these goals because I am fleeing from an inner emptiness and insufficiency. I’m hooked on the crack pipe of approval, of outer admiration and approbation. I’ve been very addicted to this particular drug myself–I have intimate knowledge of this particular dilemma.

But we cannot so easily dismiss these voices, with their very insistent appeals, because they are also speaking to a necessary part of our human development. Becoming an adult requires that I learn to hold specific goals and follow through with consistent efforts to achieve them. If I get stuck along the way, I need to learn how to find resources in my environment to support me. My basic life maintenance depends on these capacities. If I try to avoid this area of my human journey, I will end up in a mess.

And yet, this very linear, masculine approach to life only takes us so far. If you try and use this approach in your inner world, you’ll get tangled up in a knot. There is no soul in this way of operating, no depth, no surrender to an intelligence greater than your own. The soul does not move in a linear line. It waves, meanders and wanders. It takes its own sweet time. It doesn’t respond to all of our goals. And it doesn’t take orders. The deep healing and reorganization that is possible as we evolve and expand into a deeper identity can never happen when we are living with a static map of where we want to go inside our minds.

art credit: 'Eve' Susan Cornelis

Your mind, my mind too, wants to land in a narrow place, where things are clear, black and white, and the way forward is certain. This kind of clarity does not touch the soul. It’s vast enough to embrace the beautiful complexity of life. Whatever edge you are on right now, or whatever issue is troubling you, could be calling for both dimensions of your being. You might need to embody more determination, follow through, and perseverance—the energy of the masculine, the integrity of the warrior.

But that will never be enough. It’s like trying to walk on one leg. Even if you feel a very strong energy within you, nudging you forward, calling you to the very edge of your development, you still have to understand this one simple principle: You cannot evolve as long as you want to be somewhere other than where you are.

It took me so long to let the truth of this penetrate my heart. I always wanted to leap ahead, chasing the marvellous possibilities that were emerging from deep within me. I wasn’t ready to stop and face the radical simplicity of how life actually moves. The deepest healing and transformation, the freedom and brilliance of the soul, can only emerge in our lives when we are finally able to drop into the body, make contact with the living energy of our core, and say yes to where we are. Acceptance, deep acceptance, is the medicine that allows us to finally be here, and make real contact with ourselves. In this deep contact, we meet ourselves for the first time. And our relationship to life begins to change, by itself.

It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

~David Whyte


with love,


art credit: ‘Eve’ Susan Cornelis



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  1. Jonathan Taylor

    Thank you, Shayla. You describe so clearly my dilemma — seeing ahead and then getting ahead of where I am in my development. Help is needed to move through this and acceptance, hard as it is, may be the only way through. Wishing things were different while you desperately await rescue on the roof of your house during Hurricane Harvy in Houston won’t get you into off the roof and into the awaiting neighbor’s boat (the neighbour with whom you have had a long-standing conflict). At some point I accept the fact of where I am and start from the reality of what is.

  2. Natasha

    Thank you for this, Shayla. I read it the exact moment I needed it:

    I have been feeling stuck in life and feeling sorry for myself because I am not yet where I wish to be, not yet living the beautiful new life my hearts yearns for and knows is possible. Instead of struggling, and working so hard, and expecting life to magically rescue me from my current circumstances, what I really need to do is stop struggling, stop trying to escape–and instead accept and embrace my life as it is.

    It’s a beautiful life, really. But lately I have been in too much pain to see that.

    Thank you for the wisdom and depth of your teachings, as always. And thank you for your beautiful writing.

    Love, Natasha

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