I know it doesn’t sound particularly glamorous or intriguing.
You see, I somehow managed to schedule everything for the late fall into last week. I put well over 1000 miles on my car, planned for and attended an important once-a-year work event, hosted friends at our new place, helped with a school fundraiser, had our piano moved, visited with extended family, attended a documentary screening, planned and led a church service and squeezed in an overnight trip to visit friends in Maine.
Of course, this doesn’t include the usual weekly activities like seeing clients, attending online meetings, managing household chores and kids and their schedules. Let just say, my husband is ready for a vacation from his home life.
I think I managed to pace myself pretty well, considering. I tried to take each day as it came, focusing only on whichever task lay in front of me. I didn’t let myself worry about how something would get done if it were still two days out. I showed up when and where people expected me; I didn’t try to move faster or juggle too much at once. And I made myself breathe.
Deep breaths in the car, deep breaths on the commuter rail, deep breaths while waiting to pick up a child, deep breaths in the shower, deep breaths while heating up soup.
It wasn’t pretty the whole time; I may not have had my usual patience with the kids, with traffic, with technology. I may have run myself down a bit, left a bit of a mess on my bedroom floor or dropped the ball once or twice. But considering the amount of mental energy my week took, I think it went alright.
More than alright, truth be told. I connected with people who mean the world to me. I was given the gift of coaching a dozen people that I had never met before. I got a congregation of UUs up on their feet for some embodied worship, I wrote and wrote and wrote, I witnessed a glorious Sunday morning sunrise. I listened to my daughter play her piano to her heart’s content.
AND NOW...I can soak it all in; I can appreciate the special things of last week, and I bask in the quiet of this morning. Sitting and catching up on emails and online to-dos with my hot tea next to me feels luxurious. I can make time for putting up some Christmas decorations and thinking about gift ideas. I can get out for a hike while the sun is shining brightly and the trails are too frozen to be wet.
Last night, I sat on the couch and read a book of poems by Mary Oliver. It was delightful.
She has such a way of stripping things down to their essential that I feel her writing in my solar plexus, at my core.
Perhaps that is one reason for all those deep breaths. Stretching my ribcage, working my solar plexus, creating space for the essential.
A few lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, Sunrise:
...and I thought
how the sun
for everyone just
as it rises
under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?
What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it
whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.