How Slowing Down Changed The Way I Plan To Move Forward, A Letter To Fear + Some General Thoughts On Life + Forgiveness
Just emerging from what feels like a self-run retreat of the mind and how best to navigate through it's rapidly changing waters.
I've been wanting to write you something for awhile now, but the words just aren't there, that and the transition into the process of slowing down took longer than I thought. Rather, I gave myself around a month to "figure things out", and now here I am, still swimming upstream and nearing the end of month two.
But what did I really expect to change? Was I really going to reach that moment when everything would feel ok. When the anxieties faced dissipated into my ever-growing list of pursuits? Were the things that previously tied a knot in my throat and stomach going to loosen their grip and allow me to create and spring forth with ease? Most likely, no.
So, what now? How do I write, explore, travel, create, and make sense of the mess around me when the world does not stop, not even for a moment? I work with it. It's changing tides and choppy waves. I wrap my arms tightly around those still moments, the ones that encourage gulps of fresh mountain air and tired legs. And when the chaos slips in, which it will, I get out of the boat, lifting it from the shallow water to help carry us both. Switching and diving up the weight, shoulder to shoulder, moment to moment, and finally, back through to the fresh mountain air.
Then there's the forgiving part: When I prioritize things and neglect to put myself on that list, I must forgive. When I see spare moments as yet another opportunity to re-direct my attention towards my to do lists, incomplete tasks, disheveled desk, and pending projects, I must forgive, especially when I'm still figuring out what slowing down means for me.
You see, it's dizzying and unsustainable. Pushing me slowly over 'the edge.' There I stand, feet away from plummeting over, desperately grabbing at anything real and tangible. Often I see it coming, and sometimes, I can even feel it as shivers run up and down my spine, encouraging me to turn around. To drop everything and run the other direction. And slowly, as these loops and patterns take place, I do. Each time turning around a little sooner, giving myself the room I need to gather my things and move in a direction where goals will be met and adventures had. Where the world around me feels a whole lot more maneagable.
A place where I'm comfortable with the sound of my beating heart as I submerge myself just a little further beneath the surface.
It's fear. Fear that keeps me looping around the same old bush with it's prickly and painful exterior. And not the good kind that sits quietly in the back of the bus, only bouncing forward to gently nudge you a different direction. No, it's the controlling kind. The kind you find creeping around every choice you make and idea you have, luring you in with self doubt and little jabs to your confidence.
With that, I am going to take a moment to write this fear a letter.
Feel free to do the same.
To whom it may concern (in this case, Fear),
I have taken into consideration your warnings, but I think that it is time for me to take matters into my own hands.
You see, we've had a long and tiresome run of things, and I believe that distancing ourself from each other will benefit us both. So, if you wouldn't mind picking up camp and re-directing your attention towards the little things. You know, like the gentle nudge I spoke of before? Because I know your stubborn self wont want to believe this, but I have the wheel.
I am the one who gets to decide whether or not I pursue this or take on that. I am the one, not you, who gives, loves, shares, encourages, motivates, listens, and creates with those around me, not you. And though I believe that you, Fear, has your place, I don't believe it to be the emotion that steers the ship.
After all, I am the one that gets to decide that, and it seems as if you've been pushing and cutting your way forward in line to take control of what feels like most situations.
It's time for us both to move on. To take on different roles. For you, this is sitting back and observing, and for me, this means standing up and making the big, and often intimidating, decisions.
This may take some getting used too, but we don't have any other option. At least that's how I see it. So please, as I am sure I will have to write you another letter reminding you of this down the line, work with me on this one.
With empathy + love (because that's the only way I know how to move on, even with you),
Sun wafts in through the crack in my un-washed windows, revealing the signs of a snow-filled winter, unkept yard, and weeds begging to be pulled. I feel happy, sitting here with my afternoon cup of tea. Very different from yesterday, when the world weighed so heavy I thought of nothing but doom and gloom. But today, the promise of more sun and adventures with gulps of mountain air has managed to sneak through the cracks, lifting the weight and letting a little more light shed on all the good that surrounds me.
- The simple: Like this tea, my newly created bullet journal, old cutting board that I use as a platform to create, and my new book, Homesick For Another World. Then there's blogs that inspire, like my dear friend, Almila's, a holistic guide for living, shaken + stirred. Better known as, The Thirlby. And then of course, the blanket I sit on and office I get to work in.
- The bigger: Like the projects I am apart of, the people I get to work with, the videos we have created, words I have written, pictures we've taken, and the family and friends that inspire, support, and push me to do all of these things.
- The often forgotten: The health I do have and means to take care of myself while still taking adventures. Lastly, to listen and laugh with loved ones, and to explore the world with the best of the best.
So, what does this mean moving forward?
I'm not not sure, and I guess that's what I'm here to tell you. That I don't know and that's ok. That figuring things out takes time, and that pressure you put on yourself to do it before you turn this age, get that job, apply to this school, mend that friendship, gain that health back, doesn't have to be between this and that. After all, pretty much everything around us is always changing and learning to adapt with and work alongside the inconsistent and unpredictable, so why shouldn't these periods of time that you'd allotted yourself to "figure it all out" be given a little leeway, support, and forgiveness as well?
Before I go, I wanted to fill you in on a few things.
First, we will start sharing Stories again - hooray! Second, there will be a weekly Newsletter, each covering different topics (on life, health, mental health, creativity + more) that hopefully we come up with together, paired with a short Real Talk. Third, we will be replenishing our Shop. Fourth, we will be expanding on adventures, collaborations, writings + more ways in which you can get involved!
And I'm sure there's more, but we will be sure to fill you in regularly + through our Newsletters, which you can sign up for by scrolling to the end of this page!
Also, thank you. Thank you for being there even when I don't "show up" for weeks on end. So much good has come from this period of slowing down, I truly cannot wait to keep sharing the little tips and tricks I've gathered along the way - and will continue to do so as I move at a slower pace. You know, the whole more is less kind of thing...