It started off as a joke. 2018 would be my “Year of Zen”! It was a joke because, if you know me, I am very loud, very active, and very opinionated. Slowing down, meditating, and actually listening to my inner voice had been missing in my life for some time. This is probably why I was feeling like I was losing myself and my life was becoming out of balance. I realized that I missed the quiet things I loved doing. So I officially declared 2018 my “Year of Zen”. It is often hard for me to admit when I need to change aspects of my life. This post is a perfect way to become comfortable with admitting when things need to change.
First, I thought I had to be a writer to have the honor of sharing my stories with people but I have come to realize that I’m not a writer, I am a storyteller. Maybe my stories will resonate with people or maybe they won’t, but as part of my new journey that fear cannot dictate whether I share them or not.
Next, I became dedicated to personal growth, finding strength in myself, and not feeling the self-inflicted pressure to be perfect. I’m going to slow down and be less high-strung was my declaration. Acknowledging this was the easy part, figure out how I was going to execute it was a whole other seemingly impossible task.
Finding stillness to become reacquainted with myself came in the form of meditation and yoga. Yes, yoga. It was painful at first…very painful…to sit with myself for even 5 minutes was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. But the pain turned into peace and I feel a real sense of growth everytime I can be truly present in a yoga class or actually sit for the meditation practice without the thoughts of my to-do list running through my head.
I thought a natural step in the direction of finding peace and strength in my life would be to start to do the things I loved before having kids. Reading is something I love doing. As I began reading one book, then another, the orchestra of these strong, smart voices started to guide me. It started with Gabrielle Bernstein’s Judgement Detox, then Brene Brown Braving the Wilderness, then Cait Flanders The Year of Less, then Rachel Macy Stafford Hands Free Life. Right now I’m entrenched in Katrina Kenison The Gift of an Ordinary Life. Each day I would take tid bits from each of these beautiful writings, opening myself up to be transformed by their words. Each one brought stillness and peace to my life, while also encouraging me to stay true to myself. While reading this book, I came across a phrase, three words, that really summarize what this year for me is all about: a year of opportunities for transformation.
Now I want to set the record straight, I still say the F-word way too much, I’m still an animal on the tennis court, I will still give my opinion when asked, and I still talk in an octave above most people, but I’ve found a place of strength that I can go to that brings a sense of calm to my heart that wasn’t there before. My quest for Zen is in its infancy but we all have to start somewhere.
If you take the time to read my stories, don’t expect perfection. What you can always expect is a story about a moment that touched my life, my heart, and possibly touched the life of another.