Despite the challenges….

It’s been a while since I posted anything – not for lack of writing – but rather because processes have a way of “being covered in manure” sometimes before they makes sense. Seeds grow and germinate well in rich soil – the smell of manure at different times of the year from neighbours garden’s always reminds me of this (unless I get too focused on the manure and forget about the long term process at work). The reminder of Jesus’s words in John 12: 24 is seen around us all the time: Seeds need to die to become fruitful and more than just a single seed.
Things that seem to be sprouting at the moment include the possibility of life looking very different. Include the possibility of being excited about new beginnings. Include the possibility of new habits/ neural pathways and ways of being.

This morning I started reading a book on changing habits. One question that was asked is “what do you do first thing in the morning?”. It was hard realisation, again, to acknowledge that my habit is to get up and GO! From sleep state to MAX energy in whatever it is – often driven by a sense of underlying urgency or anxiety. So I STOPPED and asked myself was this necessary?

Were the reasons that I was GOING at this pace still even there? NO. Actually not. Intentional decisions have been made to ensure that this is not the case. My days are more measured.
Each day this week I have had to rewire my brain to accept that this week, this term and the rest of this year is not going to look like the past 12 months did in terms of work pace. It’s a habit of busyness at full tilt that needed to be broken. It’s okay for days to be full, but not perpetually full and rushed.

Honouring this slow-down process has been challenging in different ways. It’s required mindfulness. It’s required recognising where I have been messing up: in choices I make, in the way that it has impacted my relationships as well as in the impact that it has had on me: my body and my emotions.

It has been challenging when we come back from a time away to discover that there are unexpected glitches resulting in a BIG financial stretch due to complications in my husband’s transition from an old work season to a new one.
It’s been challenging for this “I always have a plan person” to not be able to take control of this process and want to look for extra work as we seek to save to buy a home; to shake off all financial stress and to trust that this is maybe a part of the process too.

It has been inspiring and affirming of a prayer prayed together with my husband of Lord grow our faith! It has been incredible to see my husband remain solid in this. It has been affirming of the marriage relationship to see us talking about other stuff – not the mess that has happened. In the midst of this big rollercoaster ride, my husband is still dreaming about homes and the goals that we have for life together in the long term.

This is the process of change and fresh starts. I am not sure why I thought it would be totally stress free?! The challenge for me really is to learn to live well, intentionally, despite the challenges, not without them.

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Leaning in, Breathing out

Leaning into recovery from burnout so that I can breathe out more – this sounds so poetic and positive and yet some days it’s hard. 

It’s hard when I am determined not to let this dictate my days – and yet my energy goes from feeling fine to needing to collapse into a deep sleep in the space of 3 hours.  Seriously! That is hard to feel grateful for a process in the moment.

It’s hard when despite not wanting to let this dictate my days and decisions I know practically it has to influence some real decisions like how much I work, the timing of planned babies and other such things.

It’s hard when I am used to being able to plan, control and determine what next-  and actually have a plan B (yes, my world is that managed -not sure whether to insert a smiley face or a blushing face here!) for the most part. 

SO leaning in means that I have to lean back and say, it’s okay to breathe out.

Leaning in means I learn to value the breathing out – in the midst of the tears or gratitude or grateful but frustrated tears.

Leaning in means as a friend graciously reminded me again: That this is a season for you to relish being, just being.

Leaning in gives permission to breathe out – leaning in gives permission to say actually I would love to but I can’t

Leaning in gives permission to say thank you I appreciate that without feeling guilt at what I am unable to give back.

Leaning in is the healing and refining process that is deepening in my life.

Leaning in has allowed tangible, concrete and real identification of things that weren’t resolved and breathing out and letting go of the things that I no longer can resolve on my own:  Some days I am tempted to breathe them back in but then the ache in my gut which starts when I do, reminds me to breathe them out.

My doctor told me that I needed to look at stretching, pilates or yoga as a part of the recovery process.  All of these require breathing. 

The Bible speaks of the Spirit breathing life

I am excited most of the time at what is happening. 

It’s the breath of life that is reminding me, of who I am, not what I do. 

It’s the breath of life  that is calling out and redefining what it means to be a peacemaker, compassionate and determined. 

We are in Pentecost in the Christian Calendar.  A season which focuses on the pouring out of the Holy Spirit – what an amazing time to be reminded of the Spirit, Life and leaning in and breathing out.