Priorities, Redefining Success & Finding the Gentle Middle
Picking up on where we left off in Part I, I was back in my cycle of overworked and rundown, having once again taken on too much and feeling the effects…
So I went on my retreat.
I got to truly rest, truly unplug, and truly reconnect with myself, who I am underneath all the business, the brand, the non-stopness. I had to the opportunity to look at these parts of my personality, the parts that drive my accomplishments but also drive me into the ground, and begin to understand myself a little better.
That week leading up to the retreat I had already acquiesced and given myself the permission, but this was like a much needed forced shut-off, and sometimes that’s what it takes to finally slow down.
(I highly recommend finding some version of a retreat that speaks to you by the way!)
So why am I sharing this?
Because I know I’m not the only one who swings on the pendulum. Your extremes may look different than mine but many of us have them.
The most important thing, as usual, is that we become aware of them, and even better, become aware of the inklings…start to recognize your patterns before it takes hold and takes you with it!
NOTICE THE INKLINGS
As I’ve been settling into this forced slow-down, more time for self-care, a less demanding work schedule, etc., began to notice an uncomfortable feeling starting to bubble up.
Without the constant stress and overwhelm I was used to, it felt like something was missing.
I actually felt a little uncomfortable!
Could I be addicted to the stress? Shit, could I be addicted to the “busy?”
Could my ‘comfort zone’ actually be the place of extremes? On either end?
Is finding, and staying in the healthier, gentle middle, in fact my Upper Limit Problem?
This is an inkling I am so glad I noticed! Had I jumped on that discomfort and filled it with “busyness” I’d be starting right down that same path again.
So instead I just sat with it and noticed it for what it was.
And that felt big.
Today, I actually had time to meditate.
Today, I actually had time to grab coffee with a friend after the gym, and just relax and be present with her instead of rushing off to my next ‘to-do.’
Today I actually had time to write this!
This is the place I need to stay.
This elusive yet beautiful gentle middle.
It feels uncomfortable because I’m used to the extremes. The extremes are my comfort zone, but they do not serve me.
I have work I am doing. Good, important, impactful work. Yet it’s not overwhelming me, it’s feeding me.
I have time to be with my family, to start cooking meals again (the take-out was getting ridiculous), to play games, to walk the dog, to actually have a conversation with my husband, to be present.
I have time to schedule those backed up, overdue coffee and lunch dates with those people and relationships that are important to me, and deserve nurturing. (#priorities)
I have time to sit down and write!
To write for you, to write for myself, to write. (See post script for more on this)
My point is….
Once I found this gentle middle (again), I immediately began to feel uncomfortable.
I have a problem being still. Being content in the stillness. Just being.
This is where my work begins. If I want to stop my pendulum-swinging, avoid my extremes and settle in to this warm, fuzzy, feel-good place, where my work, my relationships and my health are mostly balanced, then I need to work on being here.
Being still and being here.
There it is again damnit! 😉
So hard. But therein lies the work. And perhaps yours too?
I’m sharing this not only because I think it could help someone out there, but to hold myself accountable as well!
I may have defined myself by my outward accomplishments in the past, and my personality-type thrives on that, but that doesn’t mean I need those types of validations moving forward.
What’s most important to me?
How can I stay present, happy, healthy, and do the work that feeds my spirit?
It’s by avoiding extremes and learning to be OK, even good, in the stillness that is so very important.
So as you noodle on this you can ask yourself….
Where do the extremes show up in your life?
Can you start to recognize when the inkling to jump on that high-speed train creeps in?
What can you do instead of jumping on that train and eventually crashing…again?
What’s most important to you and are you living in a way that supports your priorities?
Please share in the comments!
And keep going, I love you.
P.S. WRITE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
Have you heard the saying, ‘I write to know what I think?’ I know many people brush off journaling (as I did for years), but when you’re ‘in it’ or needing clarity, it’s one of the most powerful and innate tools we have at our disposal.
Write to understand what you think.