Over the weekend, as I joked that my backyard was turning into a pond, but that I was certain the dolphins and whales (from my previous view) would not be making an appearance, I closed my eyes and simply listened to the rain. The house was quiet, everyone was still asleep. I was thankful because it was a moment to simply breathe and unplug. There was no noise or other distractions. And I needed it. The time to just be silent and take in everything that has happened in my life: over the last few months, the last year, the last two years, and really the last decade.
Slowing down, for me, allows for deep reflection. So, I did just that. I sat. I thought. I cried. I simply breathed…in and out…repeat.
I wondered how many of us, especially as we get busy with our careers, life and parenting, allow ourselves time to put it all away and disconnect from things so that we can reconnect with ourselves.
One of the best gifts I didn’t even know I needed, that moving abroad and changing everything provided for me, was stillness. An opportunity to recenter. But it took drastic changes in my life and circumstances for me to realize it.
I think back to the days when my children were babies, born back to back, building my career and doing much of it alone because my husband was facing his own struggle. I wish I knew then what I know now. I was intentional about unplugging and setting boundaries to compartmentalize my time spent at work and time spent with family, but slowing down wasn’t something I was good at – not at all.
I was in a constant state of doing.
When you are constantly running towards something – a career goal, a personal accomplishment, a relationship – you lose sight of what is right in front of you and eventually disconnect from everything, including yourself.
Being abroad, removed from everything familiar, reminded me of just how valuable our time is. Why fill it with unnecessary noise and distraction, when you can be present and simply allow yourself to trust the process?
But how many of us walk through each day, struggling to make choices in our lives simply because we are inundated with distractions, leaving us with little to no clarity or space to contemplate what we actually need in our lives.
I was talking with a girlfriend recently about this very thing. For both of us, we spent years pouring into our careers, fully immersed in ‘the grind.’ When she stepped down from her position, it was done with the intention of spending more time at home and allowing herself the freedom she needed to do work within a schedule that worked for both her and her family.
For me, that freedom came unintentionally when I walked away from my career and chose to move abroad. I didn’t even know how much I needed to slow down, until it literally slapped me straight in the face from half a world away.
For a long time, I thought my constant need for doing was driven by my own circumstances, making up for the fact that we were struggling in our marriage. But the reality is that I used success and accomplishments to fill my cup – to make me feel whole. Our struggle just perpetuated that need to accomplish, which was a distraction from my own inability to see the truth of our situation. I didn’t want to believe that my ‘happily ever after’ was anything but.
I wore a mask of strength and success but underneath all of that was a place of vulnerability that had previously been reserved for only a few select friends with whom I would remove the armour.
But life isn’t a battle. Life is a process.
It took walking away from everything I thought defined my life – success, a beautiful home, friendships, familiarity – for me to realize simply being myself was enough.
Over the course of the last two years, as I immersed myself into a new life, new culture, and grew in ways I never anticipated, I learned what a blessing stillness can be.
Less doing. More being.
As a career-minded business woman this was a difficult concept to grasp – at first.
How can I do less and be more, while still having a career? At what point do you let go and trust? Where is that trust met with action? The same questions can be posed in any aspect of our lives – parenting, relationships, etc.
For me, the answer was listening to my intuition and engaging with action intentionally – allowing a greater purpose to guide my decisions.
And that trust has changed the game for me completely – both personally and professionally.
I no longer find myself constantly exhausted and running towards something. Stress and control have given way for trust and peace. I am comfortable knowing that things will work out exactly as they are supposed to if I just allow it to be.
Sometimes the simple act of trusting can be our greatest asset. And I get it, it is easier said than done. Even now, as I sit in a new home skimming over the events of the last few years, when I drift away to that place of wanting to ask, “WHY?” I stop myself, breathe, and let it go. Everything is as it is supposed to be.
Trust the process, instead of trying to control the outcome.
My time away, while abruptly cut short, brought so many moments for reflection and growth. I realized things about myself and my life that I would never have been able to see through the noise and distraction of my previous circumstances.
Take time to slow down, let yourself just breathe. You may just find the answers you’ve been looking for, beneath all the clutter of your life that has been distracting you from the truth.
Cheers to a new week and allowing yourself the gifts of stillness and trust.