I often use some combination of the words “give yourself permission to take what you need and leave what you don’t” during the classes I teach. The non-anatomy related cues I offer up tend to be the words I need to hear myself.
And I will be honest, community, I don’t give myself a ton of grace. Giving myself permission to just be, and, here’s the kicker – actually meaning it – is a work-in-progress. Sometimes it’s a work-just-sitting-on-my-shelf-not-in-progress-at-all.
This morning, I sat down to write and reflect a bit on the past three months of travels. My partner and I have been nomad-ing around the country from Oregon to California to Arizona, and are taking a pause for the holidays. We’ll be back on the road again in January, but I haven’t – yet again – given myself permission to rest, to take stock.
I wonder if you can relate … big life events happen, and we just keep on keepin’ on.
If you do have a regular practice to pause with purpose, what does that look like for you?
If you’re like me, and the inclination to let yourself settle in the moment where you are – rather than immediately move forward, forward, forward – isn’t intuitive, know you aren’t alone.
I started to write this excerpt one week into our journey across the country:
I woke up this morning with this realization: I’m doing the thing I said I was going to do. It was a simple thought but it came loaded with a slew of emotions. It hasn’t even been a full week since we stuffed the final odds and ends into our car and hit the road for the drive from Chicago out west. I’m impressed by just how much we’ve done and how much ground we’ve covered in 6 days – literally. We have truly jumped in to this nomad lifestyle and are embracing it, but there’s still so much dust that hasn’t settled. I’m surprised by how unnerving it is to be doing the thing I said I was going to do. It’s hard to put into words, how much processing I need to do.”
That little excerpt was written SIX days into the journey. Already I was giving myself a hard time for not being GOOD at not having a home base.
Of course, there were moments of awe, wonder, excitement, exhilaration, and feeling immense gratitude for the opportunity to hike mountains that gave us views like the above photo. That photo was more in line with what I chose to share. The highlight reel.
It’s not newsworthy to talk about how life isn’t the highlight reel. We all know this on some level, but the effects it can have on us are sneaky.
For me, The Highlight Reel Effect shows up in the moments when I’m hard on myself and negative self talk creeps in. When I haven’t hit a deadline I imposed on myself. When I see what another person is doing and I wonder why if I should also be doing that thing … and I critique myself for not having done it already.
Over the past 90+ days, I look back fondly on the genuine highlights, but I’d like to also take a purposeful pause to honor, and to highlight the REALness and not just the REEL.
From simple FOMO (fear of missing out) to full-on panic attacks, I think I’ve felt every spectrum of emotion imaginable across the states we’ve visited. My steady ground, what I know and love – my in-person community in my home of Chicago – was no longer a constant, and that shook me up, big time.
In the grand scheme of things, I know that it really is all good. I believe that. But that doesn’t mean we have to keep it together all the time. In fact, I think coming apart is pretty important. The realness underneath the highlight reel is where the magic happens.
But – and I’m speaking directly to myself here as I write – if we don’t give ourselves permission to feel, permission to pause, and permission to give ourselves grace in the process, we’ll just keep on keepin’ on. Moving through life, minus all the growth we could be embracing. That’s not where I want to live. I don’t want to live above what’s real. That isn’t authentic, that isn’t who I am, and it doesn’t feel complete (or very interesting, if I’m being honest!)
My December commitment to myself is to give myself permission to rest. I’m sharing it with you so that you can hold me accountable. And I hope this note gives you permission to feel however it is that you’re feeling too. If you’d like a pal in accountability to stick to a commitment you’re making to yourself this month, know that you’ve got one in me.
Sending you all a big hug wherever you are in the world.