Waiting to Exhale

I think sometimes life is like tugging on a rope. So many things to do, so many places to be – responsibility. 

I grip the rope too hard. All of the freaking time, I grip too hard. The rope burns my hands, scarring them for days to come. How do I pull without holding so hard?

I think the key is breathing while doing. Breathing at each interlude. Breathing in the heat of the moment. 

Exhale. A word said to me over and over in therapy. I hold my  breath and it only makes the tension worse. Breathe in strength. Breathe out exhaustion, frustration, ire. 

Breathe out. 

That is the key. 

Candidly, 

Ash

Through the Fog

The fog has rolled in, thick and grey and obscuring. It reminds me of looking at the future. You think you see something in the distance, but then its gone from your sight, only to flash closer again in a few minutes. In the fog, light refracts and it can be misleading, causing collisions and near misses. This is what it is like to count on something for the future, only to have it hit you head on when you least expect it or miss you completely. 

My future and questions about it have been on my mind constantly. Each time, I have to remember the fog, obscuring my long view. When I remember to stop scanning the distance desperately, then I am finally able to see what is in front of me. The tree with brilliant red and orange leaves reminds me that this season is not forever. The muddy ground fills me with the sense that the earth is absorbing all of the rain and will sprout grasses soon enough. The rain is all of the troubles I face, the muddy ground my soul absorbing the lessons to be learned. 

The Bible says that every day has enough trouble of its own. There is no need to dwell on the future. (Matthew 6:34) Even better, I like the words of Eckhart Tolle. “You create a good future by creating a good present.” Focusing on the distance in the fog is useless. It is the present that teaches us, preparing us for the future. 

Carpe Diem. 

Candidly, 

Ash

The Top 3 Things I Learned This Year

A lot of people look back on the year and remember various accomplishments or memories. I like to look at the year from a different angle, because so often the lesson is way more significant than success or social time.

Deep Breath.

What did I learn this year?

If I were going to sum up this year, then I would say it was a year of change – a transition year. This year I quit a business I had started and moved out-of-state. To say I am ready for a fresh start in 2018 is an understatement. At the same time, I know 2018 will fly by just as fast as this year did. Here is are the top 3 things I learned from all of the upheaval and jostling of 2017…

  1. We all quit in different ways. I was raised in a house in which quitting was not allowed. Literally, I suffered through various sports seasons and band simply because I had started those things. I think there is merit in finishing something to which you have committed. I also think there is merit in saying, “This isn’t worth it.” and “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Truthfully though, I’m not good at saying those things and then quitting. I tend to need *something else* to move onto. I think its a way for me to circumvent the rules I have in my brain about quitting (rules my parent’s placed there). If I’m onto the next, latest and greatest thing, then I’m hardly quitting, right? Wrong. I’m still quitting, but I need to do it in a round-a-bout way to prevent feelings of unworthiness. This year, when I quit my business, I said I was moving onto a new clothing supplier. In my mind, it was a wise move and will help the business in the long run. I think that my sub-conscious was probably laughing hysterically and saying, “You silly lady, you just don’t like providing customer service.” Sure enough, I quit that supplier too and we moved out-of-state. Pattern repeat.  Reflecting on this, I’ve decided its okay that this is my way of quitting. Sure, it would be better if I were completely honest with myself, but maybe this is the start of being honest with myself? I like that so I am going with it.
  2. Don’t suspend your life because of big decisions. We spent three months of this year waiting for an official job offer. By the time we got to our new residence, school was starting and the entire summer had passed with only one trip to the pool. I love the pool. The pool is my spirit animal (er….spirit location?). I think it is easy when something big is coming to stop living, stop creating, stop doing. Waiting can become an all-consuming effort, but the truth is that waiting is easier when you are preoccupied. This summer, I didn’t buy our pool membership, because we would be moving *soon*. I only went to my spirit location once. So the next time I’m waiting? I plan to buy the membership (aka live in the present).
  3. The power to restart and reset are essential. Once we had moved, we faced endless roadblocks and most days I found myself crying tears of frustration. Slowly, as the months passed. I learned that, while setbacks suck, the reset is always easier. Example. The first week our boxes were here, I unpacked about 20 of them. Then, all hell broke lose and the boxes sat for four weeks untouched. I slowly started to have “unboxing” anxiety. What if I never unpack these boxes? What if I buy something that is in one of those boxes? Eventually, I got up the gumption to work on the boxes one afternoon and took out 5 in one day. And then all hell broke loose. Unboxing anxiety returned with a vengence. This pattern continued to repeat itself until finally one day, I only had 7 boxes left. Suddenly, it occured to me that each time I stopped unpacking and had a setback…I restarted ahead of where I was the previous time. I think this is probably a principle I need to apply elsewhere in my life too. For instance, career choice – everytime I’ve tried something and failed/quit, I would be restarting ahead of where I was previously. At least we know that career didn’t work and we don’t need to go back and try it again.

 

So that’s it. My lengthy lessons learned for 2017. What have you learned this year?