My mom asked how I was doing this week and I answered in a way which surprised us both. “Well ….. I’m taking it slow.”
“Who is this person?!” she shouts on the other end of the phone.
I don’t know who this person is either… but I like her.
Something happened to me over the long sweet summer which has left me no longer trusting the pace at which I previously lived my life.
As just one — and perhaps the most extreme– example of my tendency to try to do everything all at the same and at a rapid clip, Richie, my husband, and I started our family when I was half way through a dual masters program at Harvard. On purpose.
And then because I’m nutters we got pregnant again with our daughter Perl and I was a couple of months shy of my due date when I walked. I got so winded during the graduation ceremony that some sweet classmates had to whisper up and down the line to procure me water and a snack. Their kindness in that moment will forever sew them to my heart.
But those days of living to prove how much I can do are over. And with all the gumption of the newly converted I hereby declare:
I’m so over over-achieving.
In fact… I’m dreaming up a guidebook on just this very subject (a recovery guide for overachievers) with all my very best nuggets.
Luckily courtesy of my sweet husband I now how the perfect studio in which to do some deep writing.
I know that life, especially entrepreneurial life, involves two main ingredients: grit and grace.
Or what Elizabeth Gilbert calls “hard labor and fairy dust.”
But all I want to do is loll about in the fun bits and fairy dust these days. I think it might be what is needed, medicine even, to help me come back to a healthy equilibrium. The weird thing is that while I’m having more fun than maybe ever– I’m actually being more productive, growing my list more, and making more money.
Trust me no one is more surprised by this than me. I had completely drunk the Kool-Aid which suggested that to be a serious spiritual student meant being small, poor, and lonely in my cave most of the time.
The sensations I’m experiencing lately are I think what they mean by flow. And I might have to trust it.
And what this flow whispers in my ear… the steady hum of a soul desire I can’t seem to shake out of my system is this:
I want to feel in regular life a hearty dose of the spaciousness I feel when on vacation. Or at least several moments of every day.
Twinkly lights feature prominently in my new modus operandi. In addition to the cozy reading nook in the home studio we hung one hundred feet of festive lights last week over over my favorite vintage glider. When I called to get some replacement bulbs the customer care rep asked if we needed them by a certain date for our event. Nope, I said. Its not a wedding or a party. Just my front yard.
So what about you, my lovely?
What if you trusted that all those beautiful dimensions of your life: your creativity, passion, curiosity, thoughtfulness, emotional intelligence, inhales and exhales, were not yours to wrestle into submission or burn as fuel for your tightly-held goals… but actually talents with which you have been entrusted?
And that to honor them is to hold them lightly.
To invest in them with your attention and care.
And to allow yourself to follow the fun and to share them fully (this is the bit we often forget.)
Consider this your formal invitation to hang up your twinkle lights.
Bonus points if you find some solar-powered ones!
PS If you haven’t noticed our culture thrives on the busyness currency. But attending to the inner life is vital. Vital! If you need some support ASAP there is no better help than one on one coaching to get it all out of your head and clarity on next steps. You can read all the details on my coaching options here and set up a complementary laser coaching session to talk more!
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can read more about her coaching and teaching at www.courtneypinkerton.com.
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