Thursday, June 27, 2019

For years now I have told myself or made it a goal to put my own health and well being a priority.  But it never stuck.  Why?  Probably because after a handful of months would go by I would fine myself wondering why I ever set it as a goal in the first place.

I always thought myself to be pretty healthy.  Had enough energy, got good sleep, wasn't sick that much during the Winter.  Beyond the physical side of things, mental I was in a good spot and had no real reason to dig deeper into things than necessary.

As the years went by, life changed.  It was rocked, I hit bottom (more times than I care to admit most days), I faced things I never ever thought would be placed on my path.  I have felt like I have been tossed under a bus, along with my knowledge, parenting, character and more.  I felt joy and extreme grief that rocks you to the core.  I have been left high and dry because others simple don't understand or don't want to or don't try.  I have changed and grown, only to have others around me want the "old me" back. 

I got tired of dragging my heals, of digging them in so deep that I never wanted them to be free about the time my youngest turned a year old.  I look at pictures of me from the day and think, wonder, what happened.  Where is the true inner peace?  Where is the deep joy?  Where is the happiness, gratefulness, love?  Where is the life?  Where is the wild, the free?  Where is me, the authentic real me?

I had lost sight of a lot of that back in 2011.  Life has a way of turning things upside down.  Those flips tend to carry through for the years to come.  We may or may not acknowledge them, let alone accept them, but they are there.  They are always tugging at us, always weighing on our shoulders.

A year ago I got serious about my own health and well being.  I faced post-partum depression and anxiety after my youngest was born in 2015.  It took me 16 months to finally accept things for what they were.  And when I mentioned to my doctor and opened up finally she said, it's a wonder you made it this far with everything you have been through and are currently going through.

Motherhood is nothing like we think it will be.  And no, it's not all unicorns and roses all the time.  It is the hardest thing we will face if we decide to grow our family.  It also has so many blessings and good moments.  But no one wants to talk about those tough ones, the ones that we don't like, the ones that just downright suck.

A part of my health and well being journey has been expanding or widening my views, my perspectives, letting myself grow and change as needed, learning, and waiting.  It goes beyond diet and exercise.  It goes beyond the food we put in and hitting the pavement to get ourselves moving.  It is about why we choose to eat what we are eating, it is about moving in a way that works with our body and the season we are in, it is about the mind, body, and spirit, it is about rest, both passive and active, it is about how we handle the twists, turns of this journey we are on.

What started out as a needed focus on changing my health through diet and exercise, became so much deeper.  Each month this year I have peeled back a new layer and in doing so I am becoming free, more authentic, and finding my natural me that has been hidden for far too long.  It's about healing, trusting, and letting go.

My word for the year is rejuvenation.  Each month one of those layers peeled away shows just how fitting the word is.  I wasn't sure where it would lead, but I am seeing now as we are half way through the year bits and pieces of so much more and I am excited to see what comes from it in the next half.

The boundaries I set today will help guide me in the months to come.  As I set up new boundaries, I am untangling the inner and outer mess around me.  I am giving myself permission to do, to be, to live.  I am connecting while disconnecting.  I am standing firm.  I am doing and I am resting.  I am utilizing my strengths and gifts, while accepting and acknowledging my weakness and limitations.  I am stronger, more confident.  I feel a deeper sense of joy and gratefulness. I am releasing and trusting.

Where will this lead?  I don't know.  But for now, I know I can face the day I have in front of me.  I can learn from yesterday.  I can set schedules and routines, rituals for tomorrow.  But I can still dream and see where it leads.

What can you do today that will grow you? free you? to let you live deeply?

Where do you need to untangle? need permission? need to set boundaries for you?

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Loads We Carry

It's not the load which breaks you down, it's the way you carry it. ~Lou Holtz
Pretty much every day my mom sends me quotes of the day via email.  She gets them from someone else, then she forwards them on.  Some days, I read the quote and think "okay whatever", other days it is "that is a good one" or "truth", and yet other times they strike me deeper in my heart.
The one above is the quote from about a week ago.  It's not the load which breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.  It comes a very fitting time.  Before I received the quote, I had hand written out a blog post that kind of just came to me.
I pulled out a notebook, wrote out what was coming, well more like pouring out of me.  Then it got set aside for me to put on to a blog post.  Well, life got filled up and there is sat staring at me.  Almost as if it was saying, so when are you actually going to share this?  Then this quote came across my email and I knew I needed to set aside time to write, time to create a blog post.
I have tried to create a system or schedule for writing and posting, but it gets pushed to the side rather quick.  I would rather write in the moment and sometimes that means on paper only.
So, here I am, with my keys to the keyboard.  The topic?  The loads we carry
There are times when we load our plates, fill our schedules, and pack in extra even if we are bursting at the seams.  I try my hardest to not do this, to not let my to do list get the better of me, to find time to rest, to have white space.  But there are times when I inadvertently fill too full.
In May, I joined two book launch teams.  Yup, 2.  In theory, not a bad idea, but in practice it turned out to be two books being released two days apart the start of June.  Add in two back to back road trips, lots of extended family time and sleep schedules all over the place because of it.  I also was helping my hubby gear up Backyard Life Gear to get ready for June (typically the most busy month of the year), especially knowing I wouldn't be able to help much for a good week.
So yeah, filled to the max and then some.  Good thing I had the knowledge and wisdom I gathered from both books and could remember it because I needed it.
With each activity we begin to carry a load.  We may shoulder it, load it in a bag, put it on as a hat, or push it down and keep pushing forward.  We all have loads we carry.  But have you ever stopped to look at the loads?  Like pick it apart and really look at it.
I decided to do this recently.  Feeling the weight of the many loads, I was struggling to carry it all and it didn't matter how I adjusted it.  What I really needed was to lay some of it down.  So I dug in.
About a month or so ago, a friendship of mine ended.  It was one that had lasted for over five years.  But something in me made me realize that I was ready for a change and ready to lay down some loads.  Come to find out, some of the loads I was carrying weren't even mine in the first place.  
I tend to do that.  In learning more about who I am and how God made me, I have learned that I am strong in developing and try to help others be the best them they can be.  However, the nurturer in me wants to help carry some of the load as needed to help out.
But day after day, I was not meant to do that.  Neither are you.  There are some loads we are meant to carry.  There are some we pick up because we think we should.  And there are some that just sort of fall on us, even if it isn't ours to carry.  But we can't carry them all day after day.  Something will bend, something will break.
In my case, it was a friendship.  Granted, it was coming to an ended anyways and needed to be reevaluated sooner.  But I wasn't ready yet and I wasn't ready to unload or didn't know how.  Now, I am not saying it isn't okay to help someone, because it is (if they are willing to accept it).  But we don't have to let their loads become ours and keep us weighted down, especially long term.
We become comfortable in it because it is familiar.  Laying that load down can be scary, it can be new territory we are treading, the fear is paralyzing.  But sometimes we need the change, we need the push.  Sometimes we need to lay down some our own load or parts of it.  And we definitely need to lay down others loads that aren't ours to carry.
We can walk next to them, help them, guide them.  But take on their load with yours. We truly need to have faith.  We need to trust, to be strong, to be courageous.  Don't be discouraged.  I carry many loads of my own and it wasn't until recently that I have started laying down the loads of others around me.
I am here to help, to guide, to pray, to love you through your journey.  But I am not adding on extra to mine that isn't mine.  I am not adding on more if it doesn't fit with who I am.  I am not adding more on if it doesn't fit with my values, priorities, goals, dreams, roles.
Let the load down, be uplifted, feel the weight fall off your shoulders.  Feel the rest that you get from setting it down wash over you.  In one of the books I recently read, it put a spin on the bible story of the woman at the well.  Set down your load you carry, leave it next to Jesus, only pick back up what is meant for you right now, and go live.
There is beauty in this.  Look for it, find it, acknowledge it, be thankful, and let it soak in.
What load or loads do you need to set down? What parts of a load need to be released? What load is not yours to carry, because it was never yours to carry? What load or loads have you been carrying far too long?