Letting go. Making room. Feeling more. Being my imperfect Best Self.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been realizing that the more I learn…the less I know. Ha. Maybe you can relate.
I’m finding that the old ways of life-ing are no longer serving me — the hustling, bustling, get-the-job-done mojo — essentially muscling my way through To-Do lists. But To-Do lists never go away. Just as I make my way through one checking things off, another magically appears. In fact, I’m becoming convinced that the more we pay attention to them, the more they demand of us. They’re tricky that way. My To-Do list is an energy vampire. Just sayin’!
Even during this unprecedented time in the world — a time that I am referring to as the ‘upside down world’— I have a voracious appetite for life and all that I want to experience, achieve, taste, touch, feel. I’ve also been joking that I need 50+ hours in a day to get the things done that I want to accomplish. The good news is that I hope I always feel that joie de vivre pulsing in my veins; the bad news is that something has to give…at least temporarily.
And I’m attempting to practice that…to force less and feel more — and to give myself permission to not be all things to everyone or every to-do list. To say yes to the things that feel good in my body and spirit.
Don’t worry…I’m not going to tell you to create balance.
The busier we get in our businesses and in our personal lives as mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, caretakers and spouses, we women in particular, have a hard time saying NO. I’m so sorry, I’d love to help you with this, but I can’t.
I’ve been beating myself up lately about the things I’m not getting done, the emails I haven’t responded to, the newsletters I haven’t written, the projects I haven’t gotten off the ground, the meditation practice that is fledgling, the dinners with friends I haven’t had, the basement that needs to be cleaned, the wine detox I said I was going to go on, etc. I bet you could likely add a few of your own to the list. What if we ditched the lists?!
So, how do we get it all done? How do we have a perfect practice and show up for everything and everyone? We don’t.
Something’s got to give (which I know seems like an over-simplification)…and that something doesn’t always need to be your self-care, though that is usually the first thing to fall by the wayside. Here’s another important thing to note: you don’t have to have it all mapped out each day. I’m learning to trust the cadence of life (learning is the operative word). There was a time in my younger life when I reacted to everything and judged it. It never crossed my mind to sit back and observe it. Hmmm. I wonder why this is happening? What it has to teach me…what it is trying to tell me?
I know there are certain practicalities and aspects of our lives that we must show up for, but trust me, there are others that we don’t. The wisdom comes in allowing yourself to make the distinction and to trust it.
That which is done out of guilt or obligation when it goes against your gut instinct, will not be good for anyone in the end — least of all your sweet spirit.
I tend to resist the transition of seasons…well, at least when they are moving in this direction — letting go of summer and moving into fall…because then you know what is right around the corner. But let’s face it, my complaining isn’t going to stop Mother Nature from moving on with her plans. She’s trying to whisper to me, trust me. Yet, as I’m watching the leaves outside my window change color and cascade from the tree limbs in the wind, I’d rather run out, gather them up and paste them back on the branches. Not yet, I’m not ready.
But I always note that when the leaves fall, I gain a view of the mountains in the distance yet again. And each early morning when I first sit at my desk to write, we say hello and I marvel at the way the sunlight rises on her. It’s not a bad consolation prize I must admit.
Things change. Leaves fall. I can easily get thrown off track if anything in my routine shifts. Sometimes it rocks me and I fall off my game. Let’s use meditation for example. I know how good this is for me — this time set aside in the early morning to sit in stillness or pray and be quiet. Sometimes I light a candle, listen to the birds chirping outside and appreciate the beauty around me. And sometimes for whatever reason my day doesn’t start that way — I wake up later than I had wanted, I have a deadline to meet, my puppy needs to go to the vet for an unexpected reason — and I relinquish my meditation. I’ll get back to it tomorrow, or later… I tell myself.
And then later or tomorrow, turns into days, weeks…and eventually it catches up to me. I’m crankier, more stressed and feeling pulled in too many directions. I start to feel off my game and detached from my joy. The distance grows between the last time I meditated and this moment. I’m ashamed and don’t want to tell anyone. The grass is growing over the pathway back.
I use meditation as the example here because it doesn’t cost anything, therefore eliminating the bulk of excuses we call on to assuage our guilt. One day when I was talking to a close friend, she asked, “are you meditating? I get the sense that this is important for you to get back to.” Those darn truth bombs. Truth is truth and you know it when it lands. Excuses needn’t apply.
What is that to you?
What are you ignoring?
What is your soul crying out to be fed?
You know the answer.
Start small. Take manageable steps. Listen. Pivot. Turn around whatever is draining you or walk away from it. Allow yourself to change your mind. Take that walk. Tussle with your puppy on the floor. Make the phone call. Write the letter. Take the bubble bath. Daydream. Make that soup. Take that nap. Give a hug. Ask for a hug. Meditate. Doodle. Lay in the grass. Indulge your senses and say yes to you.
It isn’t about finding the perfect practice, it’s actually about finding the imperfect one.
It’s about knowing yourself — recognizing what works for you, what feeds your body, mind and spirit. And it’s about showing up for it. If not this morning, later this afternoon. It’s about not setting yourself up to fail, but rather about having the flexibility to say, “today, this is my practice. Tomorrow it may look differently.” It’s about being flexible and allowing yourself to stumble and reroute — and know that you are only one different choice away from getting back on track or discovering a new track. It’s about having your own back and being kind to your vulnerable soul who is whispering to you, remember me?
This is my love letter to you and to me and to each of us trying to navigate this human experience, dear Best Selfers. Reconnecting with you here is medicine for me. I’m a work in imperfect progress and practice, figuring it all out — and it is precisely what makes me feel alive. Remember we’re all in this together navigating our own version of becoming. And what a perfectly imperfect, glorious ride it is.
How have you been feeling — have you been knocked off your spiritual game? If so, please share in the comments below, and also what your reset is.