Whew, it's been an amazing wintery weekend in Washington, DC. I spent the Snowzilla with a group of my friends from the Peace Corps who were in town visiting for a friend's baby shower. It felt like a true miracle when all of them arrived in DC before the last flights closed.
The snow began on Friday night. After an imprompteau evening shower, we hunkered down at a friends house + nearby hotel for the next nights. We spent our snow-blanked days cooking, reading tarot and really really catching up with each other.
How lucky were we? How often in life do we get to slow down that much and be present for each other? Does it ever feel like we need nature to give us that hard stop?
It's making me imagine a life where I build in more unstructured time to play and connect with people I love. I want to paint more, hike more often, and spend more time simply petting Poncho's sweet head (he's laying at my feet now and agrees completely).
I want to do these things more often because I feel happiest when I do them. Doing them helps me to remember that I am not here to endlessly push a boulder up a hill. It actually helps me to see that there isn't even a boulder, just me straining under the weight of my own self-judgement.
Slowing down reminds me that oh-so-simply, I am here to enjoy my life.
Yet slowing down scares me. It really does. When I am in full-fledged rushing, crazy-nervous system mode the idea of slowing down brings up a lot of fear.
It tells me that I don't have enough time to slow down. I don't have enough money to stop working so hard. It also tells me that I am 100% not good enough but if I work harder then some day I might be.
When you are reading this, you can tell how untrue it is, right?
Yet it's the way of our world. We have been operating out of a root affliction that tells us we are bad and that if we work harder we may someday be good.
The problem is that there is no someday. There is only right now. And if we keep living for tomorrow, we will miss our lives.
The extremely good news is that there is an sweet alternative to all this hard, unforgiving work.
We can let go.
Let me explain more. We don't need to let go of work. I know a few of you have a little fantasy of moving to Bali and leaving your responsibilities behind. Yet I don't think escaping realities is what most of us want.
I think most of us really want to feel less stress around the lives we already have. We want to enjoy our relationships more--including the one with ourselves--and spend more time doing what we love. We want to know we are worthy of slowing down and living in our bodies.
We want to know we are worthy of a joyful life.
So how do we really, truly learn that we are worthy of joy?
We can let go of the idea that our worth is tied up in what we do. We can focus instead on the quality of our being. When we don't push so much pressure on everything, we begin to enjoy it more.
What has helped me the most to live joyfully are these two things:
1) Creating daily, weekly and seasonal routines around my own self care. I use a mixture of eastern and western modalities and have found practices that truly nourish me. My practices remind me daily that I am worthy of my own care and love, even when the sh*tty voice in my head tells me differently.
2) Consciously practicing vulnerability with people that I trust. The more I tell the truth around where I feel stuck/flawed/broken, the more I realize that we all feel that way, at least sometimes. Once I normalize my experience and feel the warmth of others spirits, I experience a healing that border on miraculous.
Yup, it's those two things: self care practices + connection. When I practice them I thrive. When I don't, I flounder. It's really that simple.
Yet it isn't easy. I spent most of my life confused around how to actually take care of myself. I had to figure out that it wasn't the beer or the boyfriend or the brownie that was going to save me.
I had to learn how much perfectionism was getting in my way and to find safe spaces to reach out and talk about these tough, inner feelings that I so badly wanted to hide.
Today my life is so far from perfect but it's really great. I enjoy my days and have great relationships and truly love myself from a very real place. It works.
I want this for all of us. I want it to take less time for you than it took me.
This is why I created my ladies coaching circle called Self Care 101. It's an amazing 10 week experience that teaches real self care practices and provides an amazing community of support for you to begin living them.
I've taken almost 90 women through this process and it works. For real it works.
You may be reading this and thinking that this sounds great but that you don't have to time to focus on your own self care.
But what if focusing on self care really opened up more time?
What if you could finally slow down and see that that there is no boulder? What if you saw that nothing you did could make you any more beautiful and loved?
Could you then make a cup of tea, massage your own feet and relax with a novel?
Could you begin enjoying your life?
If you are saying yes but still unsure of how to make this happen. Let's talk. Schedule a free self care strategy session with me and I can help you figure out where you may be stuck. Once we figure out the stuckness, the clarity is right around the corner.
I can say this with so much conviction because I see it happen all the time. What inspires me the most is how close our beautiful lives are to us--even when we can't see them. Ten weeks is more than enough time to step into them.
So that's it. Slow down, focus on yourself and begin to unsee the stress response which has been ruling your life. Ask for help when you need it and know that you are worthy of receiving that help.
Know that doing this opens up all the energy you'll need to do the things you want to do in your life.
Slow down because you want to or because I am telling you to. It doesn't really matter as long as you begin to make that shift to trusting yourself and trusting your joy.
The world we want to see is created from that place. It's not far away but it does take some effort to see it. We can help each other along.
So let's go! Let's walk through the snow. I'll hold your hand. We'll watch the flakes fall from the sky and listen to the world around us pitter-patter through the quiet streets and realize that this is it--this is our beautiful life we are living.