from my one move mini inspiration deck
I'm currently in the Great North Woods of Wisconsin visiting my mom and today began my "official" break from social media, work email, and several other areas of my business.
Today, I want to share a story that will give you some insight into why I knew the time had come. When I wrote the following note to the beautiful souls on my newsletter list a couple of weeks ago, I didn't realize I was actually going to take a break like this. But writing those words and then having two really honest conversations with a few kindred spirits plus a conversation with my mom helped me to see that this really was the only option to truly help me water my soul in the deep ways I need to right now. I have a little post-script at the bottom of this note, so if you're on my list and you read these words already, I hope you'll scroll down and read it.
I drove up to Seattle and met with my yoga and meditation teacher today, something I've been doing every two weeks or so this summer. And somewhere during our conversation and chanting practice, I shed a layer of skin. I mean I literally shed it and left it behind me to be carried out her front door by the wind.
Driving home, I was listening to Mary Oliver read poetry, and when she read the poem "Yes! No!" I was struck, like I always am, by the line, "To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work."
As she continued to read, I felt the lightness that had started to grow within me while sitting on the floor across from my teacher begin to shine through my fingertips.
This is it. This is when you need to pay attention, when the deep hum inside you begins to sing.
After the end of the school year and the June retreat and the visit from my inlaws and the launch of the Inner Excavate-along, which has more than 500 people participating in a read-along of Inner Excavation, I was beginning to feel depleted. I mean to look at me was to see this busy, getting it done, pretty positive woman. But to really see me was to see shadows under my eyes and lots of swirling thoughts and a feeling of letting people down while being pulled in many directions and knowing I just needed to be still.
To be really really still.
So I did my thing. I danced it out. I reached for gratitude. I made lists of things that bring me joy. I took five deep breaths. I used my oils. I connected even more with a new friend who I can go have coffee with and just be me.
And these things helped. A lot. But they weren't enough.
One night found me looking up my teacher online and booking a private session with her. Well, actually the window to book the session was open for four days before I made my move. And when I say, "my teacher" here, I mean Laura Yon, the magical, wise woman who I did my two-year yoga teacher training with 10 years ago.
On the day of the first appointment earlier this summer, I chatted and chatted and chatted, hardly taking a breath for the first 10 minutes or so. Bringing her up to date on "all of it." It had been a few years since I'd seen her, so words about my business and marriage and motherhood and so many followers on Pinterest and on and on and on just kept tumbling out.
And then we took a few deep breaths. And chanted. And sat in the quiet. And when we opened our eyes, she looked at me and said, "Oh, there you are."
I sighed deeply knowing I was in the right place.
Her next words were, "What are you doing for self-care?"
And I was flummoxed for a minute. I'm not kidding. I didn't really have an answer. I mean I started saying all these things about coloring with Ellie and taking five deep breaths and dancing it out, but I didn't have an answer to what I knew she was really asking, an answer to "What is your practice? What are you doing alone to be still and quiet your mind?"
And in that moment I felt the deep truth of knowing I had let first aid self-care take over.
As my business has grown so much in the last two years, as so many changes have occurred behind the scenes in the last 9 months or so, and in my zeal to help others find their practices, I had forgotten to notice when it was time to sit in the quiet and notice my own deep needs. Well, I had noticed, but I kept pushing it away and filling the space with something else.
It feels like such a risk to share this because the fear is of course that saying it aloud means no one will want or respect a teacher who admits what real life looks like sometimes.
But the truth is, so often we teach what we need. And we don't always practice what we know even when we know we need it.
This is why it is called a practice.
What came to the surface today is that it's time to really commit to the practice I've been working with over the last few weeks since beginning to meet with Laura again. To commit. Like big time. To shed the excuses and the other stories that stop me and commit.
As we talked today and then as we sat in the quiet together, I began to realize that I want to go even deeper here in this space with you. When I'm here writing the words, "Hello Beautiful Soul," I don't want to be distracted by all the pins on Pinterest telling me what I "should" be doing to grow my audience/use social media/stand out/get you to "click through" and how the list goes on.
Instead, I want to invite you to come along to another layer of a conversation about creative self-care and mindful living and building that bridge between daily life and our longings. In some ways, this won't be new, but it will be a return to making this newsletter space about stories that I share just with you.
And it feels really important to say this: First aid self-care is a good thing. It is needed. We all need it. I love it and will continue to teach it and share ideas here and in the other spaces you find me online. It's what gets us through "survival mode" and the big stuff and the small stuff too, especially in certain seasons of our lives. We need to use it daily. But we also need something to deeply anchor us each day, something that gives us space to separate from the noise and find stillness and find a place to hear our own deep, true voice within and to connect with whatever we're drawn to that is greater than us.
If you're reading this and thinking you don't know where to begin, you're in the right place. We'll have these conversations together.
PS Since writing these words a couple of weeks ago, I've received quite a few emails from people with words of kindness (thank you!) and a few wondering about the difference between first aid self-care and the kind of self-care practice I'm talking about. Some people have wondered what my practice is. Others have shed some tears realizing that they've been practicing only first aid self-care as well and don't know what to do next. I want you to know that I hear you. I'm going to be sharing more about my own practice and talking more about this topic in my newsletter and here in this space.
But I really want you to let go of feeling bad about first aid self-care. Reread the part above where I say it is a good thing. It really truly is. But when it isn't sustaining you anymore, and you know this, it's time to turn inward and look at what you really need. I realized that I needed an almost full stop break from the stacked up life of a woman running a home-based business. And I realize being able to take this break is a privilege. Big time.
After Labor Day, I'll be back here in this space sharing some of what I've noticed during my break along with stories from the last year that I've been wanting to tell you. Getting back to more stories in this space is a priority.
And another priority is sharing an even deeper layer of the stories with the beautiful souls on my newsletter list. When I write to you in that space, I really do feel like I'm sitting in the quiet early morning hours before everyone else is awake writing a letter with pen and paper to a friend who I know will catch my words and listen. It's such a gift to write back and forth in that space. And I do read every reply. I almost always reply back, though from time to time it takes a while, like it will with my last note.
Thanks for reading this long note, for being here, for walking beside me. I'm off to play in Grandma's backyard with Ellie.