I often dream of moving somewhere else. To the country. Out of the country. Around the country in an RV. The dream is all about getting away. Simplifying. Out of the noise and into peace. But there's always this looming question: Why can't I find the peace I seek right here?
Deep down, I know the sound of less car noise or the neighbor's kids playing isn't the peace I am after. The peace that I seek is internal.
I recently heard a story of a man who's condo burnt down in the massive downtown Raleigh fire in 2017. He was asked where he saw his life 5 years from now, to which answered, "I don't know. Had you asked me this question 19 months ago, my answer would've been entirely different." Through the 19 months of losing all of his possessions, wearing the same outfit for weeks in a row, sleeping on couches to rebuild, his soul went through a rebuild too. He went through the journey that he's taken and the blessings that he's found a long the way. His counterpart in the conversation reflected, "Won't it be cool if sometime in the future, you look back and think of this time as a blessing," to which he replied, "I am already there. If I knew then what I know now, I would have lit the match myself."
While we were making plans for our RV adventure, my soul made some new plans too. A certain level of peace began to take shape. When we back away from the plans, I found gratitude in all that I had learned in the process, grateful to take my newfound values with me in the future. But it didn't take very long for me to fall in the trap of the "normal American mindset," where I decorate my front porch in Fall festivities, less because I think it's cute and more because it follows the code by Pinterest and my planned community.
So here I am. The stirring in my soul to get away but realizing no matter how much I fight the keeping up with the Joneses syndrome, I am still subscribing it. No one is making me compare myself to the local moms group. No one is telling me that my daughter must be in private school. And no one is going to fine me if I have less than 7 pumpkins on my front porch. Yet it seems that if I am not "off the grid" I don't have the inner strength to be free in all the areas that I long to break the chains of normal society.
I think there is this piece in me that puts up these outer walls in hopes that you will like me. That maybe my inner love isn't good enough. Maybe if I can distract you with how good everything is on the outside, you will judge me less. My stuff becoming my shield.
But how well is this working for us? As a society we seem more dissatisfied and disconnected than ever before. We play our highlight reels on social media because who really wants to air all of their dirty laundry? That was never meant for the mainstream. And quite frankly, I don't like to pollute the world with negative energy. But because you watch me on social media, you think you know me. You know my story. And I know yours. So we just try to live up to that persona, never really letting anyone into the inner world.
I think right now I am in a season of learning. I am meant to stay in my planned community as the ultimate lesson on finding peace. Packing up and leaving is too controlled. I need to light my match to societal expectations, and rebuild brick by brick right in front of you.
Ok let me give you the cliff's notes of the past 6 months.
B: I'm not happy
C: Me neither
B: Ok let's make a change
C: Like What?
B: I don't know. Let's sell everything, move into an RV, and travel for the year.
C: .................................................. What??? ........................................... OK I'm in.
Put house up for sale. Review the checklist of selling everything and moving everyone one million times. On one million and one realize that the plan isn't coming together. Take the house off the market. Quit your company. Hubs gets a job. Find a kindergarten for your 4 year old. Join a new company. Take down all of your courses and toss your old email list. Strip down to the studs.
And here we are.
As I look back, it makes my head spin a bit. As I look forward, it makes my heart feel at peace.
I have declared August the month for me. For me to find my groove and my swag. To rebuild.
I once read an article about Richard Branson. You know the guy with the record label, airline, and his own island. Essentially, someone was trying to get Richard Branson to speak at an event. He turned them down so they continued to up the amount of money they would offer him to speak until the amount so so insanely absurd and he still said no. The group asked, What would it take for him to say yes?? In which his team replied, nothing. Your mission is simply not in line with his top 3 goals and priorities. He simply won't do it. There is nothing you can do to get him there.
Life feels a lot like that right now... without the private island and 757. By completely cleaning my life of the clutter - the physical, mental, and emotional clutter - I have been able to finally get very mindful with what adds value to my life and what doesn't - and even more important, where I am meant to add real value, and where I am not the best to serve.
The freedom in this has allowed me to get very clear on what I say yes to 1) Me- my spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, financial, and social health. I am addressing my thyroid health, connecting to God, meeting friends that serve my soul, contributing as my highest self? 2)My family and our home - their health, happiness, and what makes them thrive. My marriage. 3) Work that inspires me and where I can provide the most value. With these things. I am ALL IN. Going all in. Showing up authentically. Getting present. Putting my phone down. Listening. Taking action.
Beyond that. It's a no for me.
I’m so tired. How did I get so tired? Sure. OK. I have two children. But I get 8 hours of sleep, eat well, take vitamins, workout. Why am I SO tired? I don’t remember being this tired.
As of late, I have been getting up and jamming some caffeine down my throat. When that doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, I grab another hit before my workout. Afternoon time comes around and I am still tired. My final caffeine boost doesn’t even seem to be touching me. By the time the witching hour rolls in my body is buzzing, my brain is zapped, and I am STILL tired. I can’t quite deal with the incessant noise, cries, and demands. So let’s have a glass of wine. That first one seems to go down too easily. Pour the second. Usually this is where I stop. But not lately. What’s one more? I don’t really have anything profound to do the next day. Put the kids to bed and guess who’s tired? ME! So off to bed to awaken to my same foggy state. Why can’t I wake up??? And this has been my pattern for the past three weeks.
I’ve been merely surviving for so long now that I don’t even know what to do with myself. It’s not like there isn’t plenty to do… both satisfying and mundane. Yet somehow tackling these tasks feels scary and overwhelming… like I could actually be making progress in my life that I am unsure how to make. Or maybe because I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I knew I had to break this cycle. This daze of coffee until wine. I knew I had to stop the self-sabotaging. But sometimes it felt like the extra energy to stop was harder than just keeping it going. Have you ever felt that way?
Do you have those people where your soul just feels better in their presence? For years, I have loved my yoga studio and the owner, Jill. Sometimes I am there weekly and other times 6-12 months will pass. But no matter what, it’s a place I can call home. On this same day. The day that I decide to do this 21 Days of Intentional Living. The day my heart finally says enough, one more thing happened. I ran into Jill. It’s been many months since I’ve seen her at all. After an emotional message, I go to say hello. Give her a hug. And I can cry again just thinking about it, but she gave me that extra long hug. That real embrace. Not just the superficial girlfriend hug. There in the middle of everyone leaving, she gave me a real hug. And after that hug, I wanted to cry right there. She looked me in the eye and asked so simply, yet sincerely, “how are you?” No matter how out there I am, how pulblic my life is, I often feel so unworthy of real love. Of a real embrace. Of real care for my feelings. Of anyone really seeing ME.
I have been everyone else’s everything for so long. The mom, the leader, the therapist. Now I don’t even know how to let anyone else in? I don’t know how to be worthy of other’s care and concern. To let anyone hold me or ask me about me without feeling the hurried need to reciprocate... to take the eyes and attention off of me.
As public as I am. No one actually sees me. How the fuck did she see me?
But more importantly, how can I finally let my guard down enough to be seen... be vulnerable enough so that I can really see you.
Because this is love. This is where the magic of real relationships happen.
It started in church this morning as my insides begin to sob.
"Where is Jesus in the storm?"
It’s not like I shouldn’t think Jesus is here and all around me. I mean I just discovered my adulthood version of Jesus four months ago when we started attending our new church and each Sunday has shown countless blessings in our heart. Maybe I'll share more about this journey but that's reserved for another day.
6 months ago, I heard a quote, "when life isn't adding up, start subtracting." This spoke to me and so we started to put the balls in motion to pack up our lives and travel for a year. About 6 weeks into the process it became quite clear that we were doing the wrong math. And so we changed careers. Both of us. Has it been intense? Yup. But nothing worth it is missing a little hard.
Yet everyday as we are moving further in the direction that I know God has led me down, my soul feels more empty. Why? What the absolute fuck?
Where are you Jesus? It's a storming over here.
The ground hog’s day, hampster wheel of this new life has me questioning everything. What is the purpose of all of this and where am I headed? So in this interim that feels like a black hole, I now decide to fill it up with happy hour to void out some of the open space. Fill up some time. And until happy hour starts, I crowd it up with Instagram because “I’m working” and find someone else living their best life, each time thinking that maybe if I just had some cute new clothes, or more home decor, I would be happier.
And as I listen to our guest pastor tell her story of filling her void and weathering her storm, part of me is aghast at my pettiness. My life is actually quite beautiful. I have two gorgeous, healthy children. I have a partner that I love. I have a great home. I have spent the past year head first in figuring out my life’s purpose. I have almost all of the things that I could have ever wanted. Why do I feel so empty?
So today, I finally listen and give in. I know. I hear you, I say back to the voice in my heart. The voice has been talking to me for awhile now. This is the voice that I have come to learn is Jesus or God or the Universe or Source or women's intuition. Whatever you want to call it is fine with me. And I keep saying, “tomorrow,” maybe next week… It’s time. It’s time right now, Jesus says back. It’s time to stop checking out and start checking in. Because the answers to my dream life are never going to be found on someone else’s Instagram account or in another glass of wine.
21 days. it takes 21 days to create a habit.
21 days of intentional living. And yes, that’s probably going to take a whole lot less social media and wine. Because these are my vices. These are the places I go to escape the crying children and the loneliness.
But it’s so much more than that. This isn’t just another stupid online challenge. No guru or coach or personal development book is going to be able to lead me on this one… because lord knows I have tried. I have read all the books.
This has to be about loving my life. Loving me. Finding gratitude. Stopping the shortcuts and finding the deeper meaning that my soul is calling for. Because I’m not looking for an escape. I’m looking for truth.
I'm a messy hair lovin' - soulful book junkie - mompreneur who's totally addicted to helping women design a life they lovI'm here, simply, to share my truth so that it inspires you to live yours! To be your boldest, most authentic self, to find your tribe that supports your soul, and to go after success in every area of your life. e.