I’ve felt a bit strange for the last 24-36 hours and have tried to pinpoint the sensation (we Americans love our diagnoses). It kind of felt like something was wrong or, more appropriately, like something was missing. After repeatedly poking and sniffing around the emotion I’ve experienced since approximately yesterday mid-day, I finally identified it as being peaceful. What’s missing is an underlying feeling that I should be doing something other than what I’m currently doing, or that I should be somewhere other than where I currently am. And what’s left when those feelings are taken away is that I AM AT PEACE.
For me, the most profound aspect of the feeling of peace that has come over me is recognizing how much of my life is lived NOT in this state. There are times in our lives when we are working and growing, expanding and opening ourselves up to the wonder that is the Universe. And there are times when we’re tired and beat and just trying to make it through the day with our sanity intact. The latter describes quite a few years of the last decade or so for me (my eldest child is almost 9; I’ve lived in 4 different homes in 3 different states on 2 different coasts during that stretch). This year I chose to consciously shift to a different space. And by choosing that, it left me open to connect with some pretty fantastic partners who are traveling on the road with me, also growing and evolving and expanding. They’re heading to a different destination, but we are supporting each other on the path. The growing isn’t always comfortable and it may not always feel like it’s in a forward-moving direction. This is when we can remember to be gentle with ourselves, because life is not linear; judging the “rightness” of our journey doesn’t help us get where we want to go.
As part of my work this year, I’ve been journaling, since writing helps me tap into an inner knowledge that I don’t always access otherwise; I’ve spent time dwelling on what I want my future to look like and creating intentions (that I write down) to support my vision; I’ve cultivated gratitude for the life that I now lead by regularly texting the top 5 things I’m grateful for back and forth with a long-distance friend (bonus: it helps us to stay up-to-date on each other’s lives from a very unique viewpoint); and recently I’ve been listening to an audio book in the car called Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley. I spent much of my first son’s early years studying up on how to keep my baby alive, instill healthy sleep habits, and keep him protected from the big, bad, toxic world. Once baby #2 showed up on the scene, I was tapped. As parents often report, things are just different with the second kid. I already knew how to keep a tiny human alive and although I didn’t have great sleep habits at that point, my trusty sidekicks were well on their way to being well-rested young people. From that point on, novels were the only books I found I could stick with reading; anything that could transport me from the exhaustion of early motherhood to a land far far away fit the bill. Listening to the audio book has been transformational in filling me up with knowledge in a way that works for me at this moment. One of my fellow travelers inspired me to go the audio route (thanks Jen! and Happy Birthday dear friend!). Listening in the car to empowering messages has helped me to be more aware of the thoughts that reign in my head unchecked. Those are the thoughts that are creating my reality moving forward, and it’s time to get responsible for them.
As a result of all this work, I’ve become profoundly aware of a divide that exists in my world. In my life there is a space called “Where I currently am (with regards to any number of areas of my life–parenting, health & fitness, career, marriage, laundry etc.).” What I’ve noticed recently is that there’s also a conversation that I live inside of called “Where I think I SHOULD be (with regards to any number of areas of my life–parenting, health & fitness, career, marriage, laundry, etc.).” The distance between those two entities–Where I Am and Where I Think I Should Be–shifts on a daily and yearly basis, but there’s always a divide. And it’s in that divide that feelings of anxiety, fear, dissatisfaction and “never enough” make their home.
The peaceful feeling that has flooded my soul this week comes from closing the gap between Where I Am and Where I Think I Should Be. Once I became aware of the thoughts that have been fluttering around in my head unchecked for most of the day, I could start to be responsible for what they were creating (in some areas, not what I say I want to be creating). Then I was able to look at what actions I could take that would move me closer to what it is I want to be creating (hint: taking those actions may be scary at first–they were for me as they were in areas where I’ve felt stuck or stagnant in the recent past). One of the most important things that I did in the last week was to reach out to people who could be a support for me, people who I could learn from and bounce ideas off of. Things often aren’t so scary when we have a friend along for the ride.
As is the case with life, I’m sure this feeling of peace won’t be ever-present; it will ebb and flow with other emotions, both positive and negative. Some people attribute their emotional state to their circumstances: they consider happiness or peace to be a product of their relationship status or how much is in their bank account. By choosing to be responsible for this feeling of peace, I’m giving myself the power to create it again. I’ve got the tools. I’ve got the team. I just need to remember that the power is in my hands, just as it is in yours.
Here are some pictures from our summer adventures so far…