The wind is blowing freely on me this morning. It’s the first sign of the weather cooling off in Florida and the wind feels like it’s shown up just for me.
Turns out, it was showing up for Tropical Storm Michael.
Nonetheless, I’ve been on my balcony for hours enjoying the wind blow through me while I read and write. I close my eyes and know I’m experiencing bliss today because I didn’t try to create this moment and chose to be in it.
These days I am really trying hard to stop trying so hard all the time.
See, there I go again trying so hard. Damn it!
Trying hard comes natural to me. I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s become what I do. If I’m going to commit and do something, I want to do my best in it. It’s not a bad thing to want to give your best, but I wanted more balance and I knew there were areas in my life where it wasn’t healthy to be trying so hard.
I wanted to enjoy more of the journey again instead of figuring it all out.
So I began experimenting with the opposite.
Not trying so hard.
For the past few months, I have stopped trying.
I wanted to know what it’s like to not try so hard in everything I do. More so, I wanted to slow down.
When I defined my values a couple years ago, spontaneity and peace were among the list of attributes I defined as important to my life.
Spontaneity and peace bring me contentment. And when we are content, the magical beauty of authentic joy has a pretty good shot at showing up.
I purposely didn’t use the word happiness. I never want to chase being happy or search for happiness. It’s an unrealistic goal for me. I can be happy and I have happy moments. But trying to be happy… sets us up to fail.
Remember how great I am at trying hard? Yep, you guessed it. I’m probably going to try too hard to be happy, leading to “doing” and filling voids, scrambling at the shot to “be happy.”
That wont help. Because it screams discontentment in the moments that could bring joy and happiness. If we are searching, it means we’re missing something. I never want to search for happiness or search for myself.
It’s taken me some time to see and realize the impact dating myself last year has had on me. (You can like my 30-dates-with-myself-blog to follow that).
During the exciting process of choosing dates to go on with myself, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to do things that would make me happy. I was overwhelmed by figuring out the things to do that make me happy. Which was the whole purpose of the dating experiment.
I ended up finding way more about myself than imagined while I figured out what it is I like to do when no one else is around.
But what I failed to see through the dates, the blogging, and introspection, was how much it helped me be comfortable with me. The me when I’m not trying so hard. The part of me that just is.
Although it was important for me to find the things I wanted to do, it also showed me who I am. Sometimes that was painful. And sometimes it was beautiful.
I’m still learning by continuing to make time to sit still.
This year I have slowed down more than I’m comfortable with doing. It is so fucking hard to sit with yourself and be still and quiet. And I’m not talking about how hard meditation can be or how hard it is for me to sit still in a chair. I’m talking about not doing anything, planning anything, striving for anything, prove anything, set any goals, or do anything that requires trying hard or a lot of effort. (Besides parenting…You can’t hit the pause button on that!)
It’s been HARD. Really hard and uncomfortable. It’s been scary and exciting.
I’ve known for quite a while there was a stir in me that it’s time to make a shift in my career, which is really a shift in my life.
Some people believe their career and life are two totally different things. That is true for most jobs and careers. But for me, it’s not. My life is what I do in this world, who I show up as in this life and how I can make a difference in the lives of others. My life is part of my career and my career is part of my life. It’s my choice to make it that way because we have the freedom to do so.
So I’ve stopped trying and I’ve stopped searching. I’m finding joy in the mundane and staying open to my next hell yes opportunity or idea.
I’ve been sitting still, sometimes in peace and sometimes in an uncomfortable shit show.
I have stopped just enough to see what’s out there for my life but not so much that I’m on the couch in sweatpants. And I’ve been amazed at the opportunities that have come and continue to come.
I haven’t stopped living. In fact, I feel like I started living again.
We must put effort in life. That’s a given. But I didn’t realize how much effort I was putting into doing and trying, that I stopped having fun. Because I stopped living.
This may be tough to understand if you see my social media. It’s easy to assume I’m always having fun because I post 1-minute videos of myself in moments where I’m in my happy place, being active. Being active in the gym and sharing that joy with others is my foundation in knowing there is a place I know where I light up. It’s my gift and comes natural to me.
I believe everyone needs to know that staple in their life that brings them that kind of stable foundation about happiness. It looks different for everyone whether it’s painting, biking, washing dishes, walking the dog, watching a movie, gardening, being social. Whatever it is where you can be by yourself or with others in that space and feel yourself, recharged, alive and content. Find it, keep it, and make it a priority.
I focus on knowing I can get that type of peace and release in the gym. I make it a priority because it can be hard to create that type of contentment in other parts of my life. And that’s ok.
We aren’t supposed to be content and happy with every single part of our life. That would create boredom and stagnation. Two dangerous effects of comfort that will breed a shit ton of unnecessary troubles.
Therefore, I’ve been seeking fun outside of my comfort zone while I continue to keep my comfy happy place in the gym. I believe you need both.
So what happened when I slowed down and stopped trying so hard in life?
I got really busy… I got really busy doing nothing. I was so busy, I didn’t understand what I was accomplishing because I was too busy accomplishing nothing.
Oh shit. I did it again.
Have you ever had really busy days, but at the end of the day you’re like I don’t think I did anything today? What did I do? Why was I so busy? Why am I so tired?
It’s because we fill our days. We start doing.
I have repeatedly learned the hard way time and time again…
There will ALWAYS be something that needs done. You can never catch up in life. That’s not the goal. The goal is to live life. Not to try and get ahead of it.
If I just get this done and that done, I’ll feel good. For some people that works. They stop there and that’s great. But for some overachievers (*cough*), this and that turns into well, if I do that and that and that, I bet I’ll feel awesome and then I’ll relax. ALL LIES!!!!
With absolutely everything in life, there must be balance.
There have been some very dark moments along the way as I wrestled with myself for change. But in this rough patch, I found freedom I didn’t expect. I learned to actually enjoy the down time. Whether I was falling apart or I was out having fun, I was enjoying the freedom to do so.
That is what slowing down and not trying to figure it all out right now is helping me do. I hope some of this resonates with you and helps you see the beauty in slowing down.
I’m living my beliefs of spontaneity, peace, curiosity and contentment and it’s bringing FUN back into my life. I’m remembering to not take myself so seriously and live a little!
It’s helping me be in the moments I desire to be and let go. Although it’s still hard, I continue to practice and learn how to be free from my thoughts and doing.
It’s opening me up to others. I’m taking the time to let others know me and let people in.
It’s given me the opportunity to be a great friend to the people I care about. I’m available for my friends and have made it a priority to be someone they can call and talk to anytime without the worry that a friend is too busy for them.
It’s helping me watch and see my daughter for who she is and be able to give her the attention she needs to grow in the right direction. I can’t tell you the amount of times I was grateful for not having to rush and be somewhere in the middle of a time my daughter needed me to show up for her as a loving mother; not a rushed, stressed out parent.
It’s given me time to re-question my values, thoughts and opinions while I open my mind even further into the unknown.
It’s healing my heart to let love in again and see the good in people.
I’m being spontaneous again! You can’t be spontaneous if you plan everything. (So I plan my spontaneity. I’m kidding!!!) Although spontaneity is important to me, I can forget about it and lose touch with something I love. I now create a space for it because I know through spontaneity my best ideas and best self show up.
It’s transformed the way I look at the small beauties in life that are so easily missed. We want to be happy so bad, but we are so busy trying to find that happy moment, that we miss the easy moments of joy life already gives us. The few minutes of bliss you can get from a rainbow or watching a sunset with someone or smelling the flowers or walking with a friend in the rain. These opportunities only require us to pause and enjoy. Don’t keep yourself so busy that you don’t see the opportunities to enjoy the mundane, simple things about not just our lives, but also about ourselves and others.
When you’re content with yourself and slowing down to love those around you and your life, everything can be done with a little more pop in your step.
Gratitude becomes more natural and less forced.
I know I’ll find my next move and dive in head first. And that may be staying where I am with what I currently do. But I’ll be ready and it will be a hell yes. I’m not afraid of hard work, but I am afraid of letting hard work ruin what’s important to me.
As we learn and grow, the things that are important to us can change.
You can be excited knowing you can see what you want to change and tweak your life as needed as you move forward in enjoying the journey.
It’s always a work in progress, but it’s always worth the work.
Just don’t try too hard or you’ll miss the point of it all. 😉
Have you ever stopped what you were doing for a long period of time to figure out your next chapter? Have you ever stopped trying to accomplish things for bit and just sat in your life without “doing?” Have you taken time off work to figure out what you want to do with your life? Have you made a list of your values and what’s most important to you in your own life?
I’d love to hear about your journey! You never know whose life you may touch by sharing a piece of your story.