Thursday, June 11, 2009

Radical Sabbatical 2009: Beth Re-Enters Suburbia and the Blogosphere

Ah kids, it's good to be back in the blogosphere! Six months after my last post (enter sad trombone sound here), and so, so much has changed. While I haven't gone all Jillian Michaels-ish and turned into a rock-hard triathlete, there have been some major renovations going on in the World of Beth.

To quote Ross and Rachel circa 1996-ish, I'm "on a break" from my boyfriend Mister Employment. Mister Employment was great - we had been going steady and strong for 15 years or so, but the time has come for a good old fashion summer vacation where I can reconnect with my friends and family, exhale and re-evaluate my options, and start to unfold the knotted up little person I've become.

This decision has been a long time in the making and one that both terrifies and inspires me, which makes me realize that I'm on the right track. For years I have had a card on my fridge that reminds me, "We must travel in the direction of our fear" and that's what this summer break is all about.

I read this guest blog post on Andrea's "Superhero Journal" blog that touched me and reminded me that this decision has me on the right path:

do you ever notice that when we slow down and pay close attention to our lives, we feel the enormity and the magic of beginnings, endings, and all the small yet meaningful moments in between? we cry when we hear music or read words that touch down into the spaces of our hearts that are a bit undercover, not frequently visited. we get emotional when we consider the distance we've traveled with our best girlfriends. we stand in awe when we see and hear stories of dreams coming true. we recognize the tiniest exchanges between us and our partners that leave us feeling loved. and we are deeply touched by the circle of life, stories told, and memories shared.

Although i feel the brightness in my everyday life, I'll admit that i really felt it while on vacation, when my heart had a little more room and permission to rest and to see. the downtime gave me a good dose of perspective and clarity about all the things i could do to infuse more joy and fun into my life back home. but wouldn't you know that the minute i returned home, i was back to overwhelm, long working hours, too much computer time, and an unbalanced routine that left me feeling dull and depleted. by day 3 of this i began to panic. is this the life i've chosen? you are so blessed, why are you complaining? geez kelly, what is your problem?

And that's when i sent out an urgent email to a few dear friends asking for help. after admitting defeat and overwhelm, i asked: how do you get out of the house, tend to your creative yearnings, build a business, maintain that business, nurture your relationships, meet your deadlines, and on and on? if you have a secret, please share.

Of course it turns out that nobody had the secret. we're all just doing the best we can, sometimes juggling it all with confidence + grace, sometimes not. it also turns out that by opening up the conversation, we each had an opportunity to relate, to feel less alone, to admit defeat in other areas of our lives, and even to celebrate what was working in our lives. the simple act of reaching out, asking for help, and hearing their stories of struggle and triumphs was exactly what i needed to take few steps back and adjust.

What i'm learning this week while i navigate these waters is this: that we are 100% allowed to stop - that we won't be forgotten if we do. that our overwhelm is a whisper worth listening to. that our dreams can absolutely change shape and our everyday lives/balance/routine can change accordingly. that we must speak up about our feelings of defeat/burnout/overwhelm, because we're not alone. and most importantly, that its our vulnerabilities that connect us and that we can soar, always soar on the brightness of being alive.

Stay tuned for more adventures from the Mile High Suburbs......

1 comment:

Brown Family said...

Wow! Good for you!!!

My neighbor, who is a life coach, did a short little lesson to use once about basically filling our buckets. I posted it on my blog a while back, but I'll see if I can't find the link to send you in case it helps.

Good luck, and enjoy your summer vacation!!!