Greetings lovely one,
It’s time for finals and I admittedly feel completely overwhelmed. There’s so much work to do, so many words I could write, so much commentary I want to add ... but I learned my limits the hard way last semester, and I need to focus on the task at hand.
Even if not a full-time student right now, I would have likely wondered about my contribution to this life. I have had a tendency to never feel like I’m doing enough and end up taking on too much, burning my candle before I make it through the night, wandering around in the dark, cold and lost and feeling terribly alone.
Nobody lives inside your own skin but you. When all is said and done, it’s you that feels the weight of your action or inaction on your shoulders.
Contemplative action is becoming somewhat normative in change-making spaces, which is interesting, because I often wonder if discussing one’s efforts is a nice thing to say because it’s “in.” When I sit around the campfire, the action part seems to take precedence and the contemplative side is the small breakaway moment. Almost like an attempt to steal away time. Rest for the givers of this world often feels like a luxury only a few privileged can afford, but I’m very grateful that we are finally trying to change the narrative around that.
In the meantime, in leadership circles I sense that R & R tends to come with guilt and then more guilt for not being able to meditate “properly.” Can’t tell you how many times have I heard, “If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to center.” I don’t. Not always. I mentally kick myself for going down my to-do list and have had a history of gut issues as a result of my internalized trepidation. If not for reading about the Enneagram and finding the contemplative practices that work better for me, I’d have felt like I failed at relaxing!
One of my mentors, a nonprofit leader, told me the story of his younger days when burnout became so bad that he had a nervous breakdown and ended up in a hospital. And I remember thinking, “Why didn’t he say ‘no’?” It wasn’t until I ended up in the darn ER myself some years later after trying to ignore my pain because I felt other people needed help more than me, that the hard lessons he tried to help me avoid became clear.
We have to monitor when our plates get too full because we piled on too much trying to appease folk who feel they know us better than we know ourselves. It’s been an ongoing journey to end my pesky people-pleasing habit. Therapy helps. What’s also emerging for me is a belief in my enough-ness for who I am rather than what I do, and that’s coming from the new messages written upon my heart: that I am truly, fully, and unconditionally beloved.
In the 1990s I was exposed to many genres of music, and as a dancer I tend to have eclectic tastes much the same as many musicians do. In addition to vibing with the neo-soul movement, I was down with grudge; had the platform boots like a certain bubble-gum pop group; danced along to Bollywood music; and towards the end of the decade, the southern rappers who were “taking over for the 99 and the 2000” had my full attention. I also really liked 90s-era artists like Jewel, too. Her song “Hands,” one of my favorites, spoke about her hands being small, but they weren’t yours, they were her own. Looking back on those lyrics now, I’m reminded that our smallness is more significant than it seems.
I’ve taken a deeper dive into Carmelite spirituality during my religious formation and have been pulling various quotes from St. Thérèse de Lisieux, feeling deep resonance with her declaration that her vocation is love. (Okay and a bit of resistance too.)
I understood that Love embraces all vocations, that it is all things, and that it reaches out through all the ages, and to the uttermost limits of the earth, because it is eternal.
She goes on to write,
and Love has chosen me, a weak and imperfect creature.
And she proceeds to find her “little way” to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. And all of this felt very “right” with my soul. It felt right long before I had heard of her and in big waves of emotions and demands to do, do, do, love feels right, here and now too.
I started these love letters, not to pump you up or chime in about what you already know but because it is my “little way.” And here’s a little reminder: your enough is more than enough, and only you get to determine what that is.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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What’s the Buzz? Here’s what’s happening
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month. I hope to update the Love Yourself Love Your Business website once the semester ends, but in the meantime, we’ve added a new design to our online store to create more stigma-crushing mental health awareness merch for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
SAVE up to 30% on your purchases for the next 2 days.
Click the picture below to get yours today.
June 6 I’ll be a guest facilitator for the Spring 2021 Walking with The Bible Series, hosted by Peter Blood-Patterson and sponsored by Woolman Hill & Beacon Hill Friends House. Learn more about this series and register here.
September I’ll be joining the Soul Stimulators team offering peer-led mental health-related courageous space for its members. But you don’t have to wait until the summer to join – the sanctuary launches in May so you can become a member today! Soul Stimulators Sanctuary is a safe, sacred refuge created as a space to nourish or refuel your soul.
Tales from the blog keepers
You’ve heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, right? Well, just in case you didn’t know, Maslow borrowed and misrepresented Siksika (Blackfeet Nation) teachings without providing due credit for their influence on his developmental model. Perhaps it’s time to look at the teachings again, and make some adjustments?
What happens when your body doesn't get enough sleep? Dr. Angela Clack sheds some light on this.
Curious about ways to apply healing justice to your work? Dr. Diana Quinn, ND shares a bit about curanderismo, nature, connection, language, and finding the way forward.
Muse of the month
Photo shared with permission. Please support Lillian Valley Photography
Blerd’s the word
I’ve been meaning to share this interview about Frantz Antoine aka Itaru Takemoto and got a bit distracted! If you just want to jump right to his interview, it starts around 6:40. As a writer, I most appreciated listening to his writing process and the affirming advice about having the end in mind. I learned about this comic creator some time last year when he was promoting his series, The Fallen, which takes the eastern manga style and blends it with western sensibilities. I believe he described it as an “anime meets Game of Thrones.” Full of diversity in character depictions with a reimagined tale of gods … as a fan of Greek mythology, I enjoyed what I’ve read so far.