I spent the week leading up to Christmas in Panama.
2018 has been “a year” in the Life of Jen, leaving me “soul-tired”. Time by the ocean in a beautiful location always fills me up. I made grand plans to spend every day writing – writing for my blog, writing for my book, writing for a major project I’ll be launching in 2019 (stay tuned!). I’d get SO much DONE on my relaxing vacation! (Who else sees the inherent flaw in this master plan?).
I sat down the first morning, with the day stretched out before me, fingers poised on my keyboard (my Mac is an extension of my body at this point), ready for genius and productivity to flow.
I gently nudged my muse.
“Hey, I’m here…I’m ready…we can get the genius flowing any second now?”
Still, nothing came.
That’s not true.
And a voice that said:
“Stop forcing. Breathe. Just BE.”
“But I CAN’T,” I said, “I promised myself I would get so much done on this trip.”
The voice said, firmly this time, paraphrasing a famous quote:
“Life Coach, Heal Thyself!”
The universal equivalent of being smacked on the back of the head.
My vacation was meant to be my time to regroup, to relax, and to integrate all the growth and lessons from the year. Yet here I was, still focused on DOING.
Message received, loud and clear.
I sighed. I took a deep breath. I “let go” (my great lesson in this life).
I closed my laptop, not to be opened again until I was en route back to the US.
I gave myself permission to BE.
I let my body tell me what it needed each day.
Every day, it was drinking my morning coffee by the ocean.
Every day, it was yoga.
Some days, it was surfing.
Others, it was to simply sway quietly in a hammock, listening to the sounds of the ocean, the jungle, and, most importantly, the sound of my own heart and being.
My friends, the healing and peace that came over me was just what the doctor ordered. I am refreshed, recharged, and ready for the year ahead.
Work ethic is important, and my own is ridiculously strong. Yet a lesson I’ve learned, that I was reminded of in that moment, is that there is also a “work ethic” we should apply just as intensely to our own self-care.
When was the last time you gave yourself permission? Permission to just “BE”, rather than “DO”?
We define ourselves too often by what we DO… how fast we do it, how well we do it, how much better we do it than everyone else, on and on…
Because when we “DO”, we feel enough (or pretend to feel enough…there’s the catch). Even when we find a day, or a moment, to “BE”, we rob ourselves of the magic by feeling guilty for “doing nothing”, for having a “lazy day” and kick our own asses for what we “should have done” instead. There’s a reason a pro-athlete takes a “rest day”. Even with an intense training schedule, the body needs time to relax and integrate and heal. Your soul is no different.
It is simply impossible to maintain a constant state of DOING. When we refuse to allow ourselves to BE, to become still and quiet and to listen, we are starving our own souls. We make excuses for why we can’t stop, why we can’t have a moment to ourselves, and this is how we end up strung out and out of touch with our own hearts.
There is an important concept I want you to remember called ”strategic laziness”. It is the purposeful and intentional permission to do nothing, or to do something you genuinely enjoy, with zero guilt. Because our bodies, and our souls, need REST. They need SPACE. They need SILENCE.
When we give ourselves PERMISSION to “do nothing” and to just BE….we open our minds and our hearts to relax, to integrate, to soften.
Even if it’s ten minutes sitting in your car, breathing deeply, listening to the sound of your own heartbeat.
I GUARANTEE you have the time for this.
I GUARANTEE you will be a better parent, partner, lover, friend, and productive member of society if you place as much importance on your own self care as the “DOING”, and give yourself permission to BE.
I invite you to give yourself PERMISSION in this new year, every now and then, to just BE.
It is in those times, and moments, when true magic happens.
Sparkle on, friends…💖