Months have passed since I’ve written. Even now, I struggle to pick up my pen because 1) inertia, and 2) I’m wary of what I’ll find as words fills the pages of my notebook. I don’t dare pull out my laptop to type up something more formal and lasting. All I can do is sit here on this porch and let the words flow out of me, like a river, showing me the direction I should go.
I’m curled up in a rocking chair like a cat, soaking up the morning sun, letting it reinvigorate my tired bones. My knees are tucked up close to my chest, and my strong coffee rests on the table next to me. Twelve of my closest friends are still sleeping inside the large house here in the central valley in California. A few others have already snuck downstairs for coffee and eggs or have found their own silent spaces around the grounds to enjoy the morning before this afternoon’s festivities. Continue reading
The eve of my 30th birthday was relatively quiet. I chopped rainbow carrots and kale in my little San Francisco kitchen. I did not turn on the TV or listen to music. I resisted the urge to fill the space with noise. Instead, I washed the kale and peeled the carrots. I minced garlic and stirred it around with olive oil and cumin and coriander.
I listened to the sound of the knife on the cutting board, and savored the aromas filling the room.
I reflected back on my day – how busy it felt, like I was moving too fast and yet not getting enough done. How I kept having to remind myself to slow down. As my boss would say wisely, “This is PR. Not the ER.”
I carried that purposeful slowness into my evening. Letting my body and mind rest after a day of post-vacation email pile-up. Not avoiding it, but not worrying about it too much either. Sometimes you just have to hug the slog.
Much like excelling in the workplace, cooking from scratch requires patience and a methodical commitment. It requires focus and time. And if you’re going to enjoy the process, it requires slowing down and being present.
This is the greatest truth I’ve discovered in my 20s. Slowness. Savoring. It’s the truth I want to carry into my 30s. The gift I want to give to others. Continue reading
This Part 2 in a two-part series on what practicing yoga has taught me. If you missed it, catch Part 1 here.
6. Let go. Being present on the mat requires letting go of anything outside of your mat for that hour. Your posture is not one of control and striving, but rather openness and malleability.
So often, I find myself having a breakthrough during class. My mind relaxes, and I receive an answer to a question I’ve been pondering or a conflict I’ve been working through.
Isn’t this so often how God works? When we let go of our preconceived notions of what He can do – or what we can do with Him – we allow Him to enter the spaces where we feel most weak and strengthen us. He always surprises me with His goodness.
But this first requires opening up to Him. Continue reading
“This is the joy for me. I love bread.”
You may recognize those words as Oprah’s opening lines from a Weight Watchers commercial that’s getting a lot of play these days. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that Oprah is thrilled she can eat bread and still lose weight. While people are poking fun at the commercial a bit (I’ll admit, James and I chuckle every time it comes on Hulu), Oprah’s joy is inspiring.
I’ve been longing for this kind of joy lately. The kind of joy that makes you say: “I love life!”
But it hasn’t been coming.
Instead, I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of pointlessness – in my work, my writing, and just life in general. I’m trying hard to make things happen, but I’m left feeling ineffectual and unsatisfied, and that’s been leading me to despair.
Maybe you can relate.
My thoughts often go like this: Nothing I do helps this situation. This project isn’t going anywhere. If I can’t change the outcome, if I can’t make things happen, then why bother trying? Continue reading
I’ve been avoiding writing. Mostly because I’m scared. Scared of writing the wrong thing, scared of what people might think, scared that all this work may be for nothing. It wasn’t always this way, but the farther along I get in the process of writing Enough, the more feedback I receive. And the more feedback I receive, the more I remember just how hard creating is.
So I come up with all sorts of things to do instead of sitting down at my computer and typing out these words. So many tasks beg for my attention. They call out to me and entice me to enjoy them now and put off the hard work of writing until later. I’d much rather sit down and read a book or whip something up in the kitchen – like the pumpkin spice granola I just had to make last night. The granola is delicious, and I’m greatly enjoying my books, but when they come between me and writing, there’s a problem. Continue reading
Friends, I’m writing a book on what I’ve learned while recovering from perfectionism. Subscribe here for sneak peeks and insider updates I only share over email. No spam. Just love.
Today I had the opportunity to celebrate the 125th anniversary of my alma mater, Whitworth University, at a gathering for Bay Area alumni. The group consisted of everyone from the class of 2014 to the class of 1964 and included a few of my ’08 classmates. While their faces were familiar, it was somewhat strange to realize how much time had passed and how little we knew of each other.
I’m not one for small talk, but not because I don’t like meeting new people or catching up with old acquaintances. Quite the contrary. I love talking with people; I simply avoid the “small” part of it. I believe words matter, and I take that belief into every conversation. I enjoy making people feel at ease, letting them know through my questions and my listening that I’m not just talking with them for pleasantries’ sake; I truly care. I derive such joy from transitioning an awkward conversation or stilted small talk to something of more depth – something that makes people feel comfortable.
I think that’s part of my calling – to help people learn to live more comfortably in their own skin and to recognize just how loved they are. Continue reading
As some of you know, I’m writing a book about recovering from a life of performance and perfectionism. Subscribe here to get early access!
Writing is a lot like running. The hardest part is often simply getting started. Before I go for a run, I sometimes pause and try to rationalize my way out of it.
Do I really want to go out in the fog? Do I really want to get all sweaty? Do I really want to feel the burn in my legs and the cold in my lungs?
As I ask myself these questions, I simply do the next thing: I put on my workout clothes and lace up my shoes. I pull up the run tracker on my phone and pick my playlist (usually something poppy and upbeat to motivate me or worship music, since running is one of my favorite ways of communing with God). Before I know it, I’m out the door and on my way. Even my overly-analytical mind can’t compete with legs that are ready to run.
The process of writing is extremely similar. I love writing – just like I love running. I know it’s benefits, and I know I will love it once I start. But it’s not as romantic as it may seem. It’s not like locking yourself away in a cozy cabin or beautiful beach house, getting inspired, and letting the words pour out of you. It is an amazing, inspiring, transformative process. But like most life-altering pursuits, writing can be painful or just plain hard. It takes initiative, momentum, and a constant placing of one foot – or one word – in front of the next.
Since returning from my month-long sabbatical, keeping up the momentum of writing my book on recovering from perfectionism has certainly been difficult. The silence on this blog over the last couple weeks is evidence of that. But as my primary writing focus right now is on the book, I’m trying to prioritize that, and let the blogging come as it may. Continue reading
Sabbatical is awkward. Rest and stillness feels foreign. Nearly one week in, and I feel like I’m still trying to settle into this slower pace of life.
Part of this may be due to the fact that I’m no longer at home – I’m traveling, living out of a suitcase, sleeping in a new place. But I think it has much more to do with the state of my mind and heart.
Even while I’m writing about being enough and not finding your worth in your productivity or performance, I’m still fighting the urge to make the most of every minute and operate under a tight schedule. Must get to barre class at 8:30. Must be writing in coffee shop by 10. Must draft first chapter today. So many must’s that I’m trying to muster the strength and energy to complete. The irony is not lost on me.
But I hold onto the hope that God is teaching me through my discomfort and he’s using this internal battle to reveal more of himself to me. In this process, I’m trying to give myself grace as I break in these new shoes of Sabbath, silence, and slowness.
That’s the journey of enough – it’s a continuous cycle of shedding old habits and trying on new ways of thinking and being.
Even if you’ve never watched an episode of Friday Night Lights, you’re probably familiar with the chant clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. It’s the rallying cry of the football heroes before they take the field, and while I’d heard it many times, and it certainly sounded nice, I’d never given the phrase much thought until last week.
You see, last week I hit a wall – like a football team up against stronger rivals, I felt like I was being beaten down by familiar enemies named Control, Worry, and Stress. I’d been stressing about a situation in my life that I want to “figure out.” I felt like I couldn’t make sense of what was in front of me, and my heart felt both empty and clogged up with worry at the same time.
Then, all that stress found its way into my body, and I came down with a bug – both a head cold and a stomach virus. Super fun. Instead of giving myself grace and making space to rest, my first inclination was to stress and try to “fix” my way to being healthy – not the smartest approach – before my trip to Miami at the end of the week. I did ultimately stay home to rest, but my struggle was less with the state of my body and more with the state of my heart. I was downing water, sipping on ginger ale, and taking it easy at home. But I don’t think I would have improved as quickly as I did if I didn’t rest my mind and heart as well as my body. Continue reading