The last few months have been intense – incredibly beautiful, rewarding and meaningful yet exhausting. In many ways, life has been overly generous and kind to us yet the daily commitment of work, family and everything else has left me feeling a little depleted. Perhaps, in some ways this is expected with a 9 month baby at home who still wakes up multiple times at night and the accumulated sleep deprivation that comes with it has stirred up my world a bit.
In some ways, it’s interesting that I feel great in my body and have the energy I need but it’s my soul that wants some nurturing. I have been really missing time alone, time where I can take care of myself and no one needs me or I don’t have to get anywhere at a certain time. I truly feel like slowing down and my introverted self doesn’t feel like socializing or talking too much. I often want to stay in bed with a cup of tea and read or write in my journal. I am really longing to go on a retreat for a few days but given that I am nursing the baby, this will be somewhat harder. I haven’t written much this year and my heart is really yearning to reflect more, type up my thoughts and share.
I remember, when my first child was around the same age, I had this strong desire to be in the woods for a month with a book and my journal and I often get that same longing again except that this time as much as I want the family to be there with my in the woods, I am also longing for a “little more” solo time. I am typically pretty good about taking care of myself but this time I feel I need a little more care and love from my own self…
For the last few days, I have been reflecting on what I need but also what is realistically feasible given the current structure and season of our life. As I sit down and listen to my inner child, she tells me she wants to create, she wants love, she wants nurturing, she wants play, she wants unstructured time.
So here I am, honoring that voice and committing to 30 days of creativity for the month of July. I know I am being ambitious because not every day will I be able to create something but I am giving myself permission to not follow through as well. Some days I’ll have more energy, head space and of course time and other days will be harder and that’s okay. There will be days when all I can do is 10 minutes of writing in my journal and there will be others where I will be able to paint for 2 hours. I am giving myself flexibility and committing to 30 hours of working on my blog and perhaps some artwork for the house.
This means creating space in my calendar, in my head and my heart to create. I have left our July calendar pretty open intentionally to have a lot of white space. I am not proactively reaching out to friends and family to make plans. I prioritized renting out a room in our house to have some additional income that I can use to outsource certain household tasks to free up time and space for myself. I also secured 30 mins of extra childcare hours at the kids daycare for days when I may need more space. I struggled really hard with this one and there was some unexpected guilt and sadness here but I realized I needed to nourish myself and trust that I am a good enough mother even if I spent a few less hours with them in a month. I am still struggling even as I have completed typing this sentence, sigh!
I have never committed to anything that I’ll do everyday so I am not sure what to expect. Perhaps, this will become a part of my life or maybe it will be too overwhelming and I’ll give up mid way (hopefully not!). I want to try and show up, every day and practice self-compassion on days when I can’t. It’s a practice to learn to love all parts of me. I want to show up for myself but also as a way to model self-care to my husband and my kids who are still little but hopefully some day when they read this they too recognize that their needs, their desires and their souls matter.
How are each of you doing? Not at the surface but deep inside? What in your heart needs more care, love and nurture? What calling of yours wants to see the light of day? Where are your fears being bottled up?
I found these beautiful lines on Elle Luna’s website. I had the honor of hearing her talk live and highly recommend Elle’s book – The crossroads of should and must. I give her tremendous credit of inspiring me on my journey to create.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.