Tag Archives: 31 days

yes to quiet

31 days of WTHKW

I have been writing a lot. Much of it hasn’t ended up here; in fact, most of my 31 days haven’t ended up here. Maybe because there are some thoughts that are just better held close to my chest for awhile. One of the lovely things about writing for me is that, the more I do it, the more layers of myself I uncover. Which is beautiful and terrifying simultaneously. Terrifying because it feels so exposing, and I always feel the need to hide in the quiet for while.

So I’ve been hiding in the quiet a lot. But today, my thoughts are clear and easy and not quite so inward turned.

Last week, I was talking to a dear friend and mentor, someone I love very much. We were talking about me being exhausted and sick, about my body just leveling me with one thing after another. And I was explaining to her a little bit about how I believe that’s stress related, that my body was responding to a lack of rest, a lack of good food and proper hydration, a lack of general nourishment. And she made the comment that it’s just how life goes. That busy is just the way it is.

The older I get, though, the more I don’t really believe that. I believe that we’re as busy as we choose to be. I think of “yes” and “no” as currency these days. And I believe that when we’re exhausted and overextended and tired and sick, it’s because we’ve lost track of our yes and our no. We’ve decided that someone else gets to spend the yes and the no for us, and we just have to go with it.

I don’t think that’s true. I do believe that there are certain seasons that are naturally busier than others. I know this to be true in my career. Last week, half the reason I was so worn down was because work was really busy and really stressful. Saturday was solo contest, and trying to prepare twelve middle schoolers for that is just stressful. It just is. And I do know that was half the reason I was so tired, and likely a large chunk of the reason I felt so sick.

I also know that the other half of the reason was because I haven’t fully learned that, when I’m in a season of spending a lot of yes at work, it is vital that I learn how to spend my no in other areas for that season. In the same way that, when work is slow, I know I have some more yes to give to other areas of life.

I know as well that when those busy seasons hit, and I only have a little bit of yes to spend outside work, I need to be choosy about where it goes. I didn’t do that last week. I spent my extra yes on a lot of junk food and a lot of time with TV and social media when what I really needed to be saying yes to was making sure my body was properly cared for, with good food and plenty of water and long baths and phone calls with my best people and writing sessions and yoga and meditation and maybe a few naps.

I’m not doing this perfectly, the spending of my yes and my no. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But I am growing. I am learning how to re-chart my course a little bit more quickly than I used to.

For example, I know I should have spent my yes more wisely last week, and made more use of my no, but I didn’t. I am, however, mapping out this week to look a lot more like last week should have. I’m giving myself the margin and the downtime I need. I slept in a little today. I went to yoga. I watched one episode of Gilmore Girls and then turned the TV off, rather than spending the entire day marathoning my way through Netflix. I got groceries so my home is full of good food. I took the time to cook for myself. I’ve been drinking plenty of water, and nothing else. It’s 7:30 pm, and I am curled up in bed, snuggling my dog and listening to absolute silence while I take the thoughts in my head and put them on paper. I’m not planning to stay late at work this week, or to go out in the evenings. I plan to spend plenty of time snuggling with my puppy and my husband, or curled up with a book, or painting my nails, or coloring. Doing something that allows me to stop trying for awhile and just be.

It’s time to quiet down. It is always my choice to say yes to quiet.

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love behind the wheel

And then comes the moment when you realize that you’ve been fighting tooth and nail for something you already have. That for all the moments you’re desperate to be seen and known, somehow you already are.

…who you are is someone with more love than you know how to handle, and I will always be welcome in your heart. And I will always be your people.

Oh, man.

I have so much more love than I know how to handle.

There’s this thing that we’ve always said, me and my best girls, at the end of lingering phone conversation and wandering words woven together into long letters.

I love you more than I know how to.

The thing rooted deepest into my fibers, engraved on my soul, is wild and untamed. It is lovely, but terrifying. I think in some ways, it’s the thing I’m most afraid of. Because when love is behind the wheel, all bets are off. For so many years, I worked hard to build a fairly predictable life, to be a fairly predictable person. I wasn’t always very good at it, probably because I was always going against the grain of my own spirit. But God, I tried hard.

But to say it out loud, to acknowledge and give power to all the ways that I am ever expanding with the swelling of an uncontrollable love for the world, for the people who surround me, for the Creation of my Creator.

To say out loud that love is what gives me my life and my breath and my motivation.

That changes everything. There is no more predictable. There is no more safe.

There’s just me, and the God who made me, and the wild love He wrote into my DNA.

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breaking and making

I have a love-hate relationship with moving.

In the first twenty years of my life, I lived in one city and one home. In the past ten years of my life, I have lived in six cities and eleven homes. This time next week, it will be six cities and twelve homes.

Sometimes I feel as though, with every move, I become a little less sure where home is. I feel a little more disoriented and a lot more ready for the day when I wake up and feel the roots planted beneath me. See, I grew up in this tiny town with roots. Deep roots, the kind that keep people around for an entire lifetime. My daddy lives in a town where everyone knows his name, and everyone knew his dad’s name, and his dad’s dad.

Some days I long for that, in a way that feels like my chest cracking open. See, I have a wild and free spirit, and I’ve known since I was young that I had a gypsy heart. But even those of us with limitless wanderlust…we feel home in our chest. And when we don’t feel home in our chest, we feel the empty space, full of question marks and doubt.

Sometimes I hate moving.

But in the same breath, moving has taught me how to decide what’s important and shed the rest. It’s taught me how to surrender what is neither beautiful nor useful.

It’s such slow learning.

Because it’s not just the tangible things. With each move, my possessions, my “needs” dwindle and dwindle. I’ve learned how to travel lightly, how to live lightly, where material things are concerned. My tastes are simple and my needs few, most days.

But oh, to leave behind a season. To hold people loosely, knowing that sometimes, our people are part of one season and not as much a part of the next. To not look back at the roads that got closed off when I chose another. To let myself open the door and walk out of the places where I no longer fit. To evaluate my life, to look at the things and people I’ve chosen to fill my life with, and to actively choose not to close my hand on what is no longer either bringing me joy or growing me. To leave behind what doesn’t have the weight of something that feels like eternity.

Those parts are hard.

Those parts are growing up in slow motion.

Those parts are breaking me and making me in the same moments.

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in which themes really aren’t my thing

Every October, they pop up. The lovely 31-dayers, with their beautiful words and their respectable consistency, and I think of joining them. Every year, I want to put a few small words out there, give them wings to take up residence beside the words of the ones I would consider great writers.

But every year, I get stuck on the same thing. The whole idea of a theme. I’ve never been very good with themes. Too many things are too terribly interesting and important to me. Which sometimes feels like a lack of focus, mostly because sometimes it is.

This year is more of the same. I’ve tossed around at least ten different themes in the past couple of weeks, and they all hit the walls of my soul and slide off. Nothing sticks, nothing clings to my insides, my ribcage.

But oh, how I want to write these days. I feel all of the things inside of me, scratching and clawing to get out. And if the only thing stopping me from challenging myself to write every day for a month straight is the lack of a theme…well, that’s just silly.

So I, personally, am considering my theme “31 Days of who-the-hell-knows-what.”

It’s slightly less poetic than “31 Days to Listen” or “31 Days to Dream” or “31 Coffee Dates in 31 Days.”

Slightly less poetic, but far more true to where and who I am in this moment.

Because too many things are rattling around these days to pick just one. Maybe that’s why I need to write so much these days. Maybe that’s why I spent half my drive to work yesterday teary-eyed because I just wanted the space to crawl into a quiet part of my soul and put the rest, the part that’s not at all quiet, on paper.

Too many things are too important and too heavy and too possible and too never-gonna-happen and too unknown.

Too much of life is who-the-hell-knows-what.

And so I will write from there, from that place.

It may not be pretty, but it will be honest. And I’m sure it will look a little like healing, in that way that only the ugly, honest things can be.

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