Recently i took a little trip to Hawaii – a vacation where my heart + spirit took a much needed break from long working hours, deadlines, and self-imposed pressure. while i was there i wrote about the kind of joy that finds me only when i slow down enough to see and feel its breath and expanse: the brightness of being alive. it finds me in unexpected moments of calm, when my heart takes refuge from the ever growing to-do list, when my perfectionism gives way to feeling, to release. and when it arrives, the brightness feels deeply spacious and warm, like an intertwining celebration of all things brave in love.
Do you ever notice that when we slow down and pay close attention to our lives, we feel the enormity and the magic of beginnings, endings, and all the small yet meaningful moments in between? we cry when we hear music or read words that touch down into the spaces of our hearts that are a bit undercover, not frequently visited. we get emotional when we consider the distance we’ve traveled with our best girlfriends. we stand in awe when we see and hear stories of dreams coming true. we recognize the tiniest exchanges between us and our partners that leave us feeling loved. and we are deeply touched by the circle of life, stories told, and memories shared.
Although i feel the brightness in my everyday life, I’ll admit that i really felt it while on vacation, when my heart had a little more room and permission to rest and to see. the downtime gave me a good dose of perspective and clarity about all the things i could do to infuse more joy and fun into my life back home. but wouldn’t you know that the minute i returned home, i was back to overwhelm, long working hours, too much computer time, and an unbalanced routine that left me feeling dull and depleted. by day 3 of this i began to panic. is this the life i’ve chosen? you are so blessed, why are you complaining? geez kelly, what is your problem?
And that’s when i sent out an urgent email to a few dear friends asking for help. after admitting defeat and overwhelm, i asked: how do you get out of the house, tend to your creative yearnings, build a business, maintain that business, nurture your relationships, meet your deadlines, and on and on? if you have a secret, please share.
Of course it turns out that nobody had the secret. we’re all just doing the best we can, sometimes juggling it all with confidence + grace, sometimes not. it also turns out that by opening up the conversation, we each had an opportunity to relate, to feel less alone, to admit defeat in other areas of our lives, and even to celebrate what was working in our lives. the simple act of reaching out, asking for help, and hearing their stories of struggle and triumphs was exactly what i needed to take few steps back and adjust.
What i’m learning this week while i navigate these waters is this: that we are 100% allowed to stop – that we won’t be forgotten if we do. that our overwhelm is a whisper worth listening to. that our dreams can absolutely change shape and our everyday lives/balance/routine can change accordingly. that we must speak up about our feelings of defeat/burnout/overwhelm, because we’re not alone. and most importantly, that its our vulnerabilities that connect us and that we can soar, always soar on the brightness of being alive.