I had a client blurt out yesterday, “I’m not the cruise director!” as she suddenly realized that’s one of the roles she’d taken on over the years. It’s a common role for women to find themselves in - accommodating people’s needs, anticipating them, even - and relegating one’s own desires and needs to the bilge where they’ll grow dank and moldy and be likely forgotten if not pumped out with any seawater that’s gotten in.
How’s that for an image of inspiration? Rather depressing, really.
Some may enjoy being the cruise director and find it’s a job that really brings them alive. The point here is more about how easy it is to lose ourselves in our roles - especially the ones that focus on tending to others.
When our roles keeps us busy, busy, busy, we can forget about what makes us truly ourselves - a unique person with gifts and talents, with a sense of purpose and raison d’être, with dreams and desires and a penchant or two.
I took a day off last week and spent it at Kripalu, the yoga and retreat center that’s just a few miles up the road from me. And by taking the day off, I mean leaving all my jobs behind - even the ones that I don’t get paid for.
I left the house before 6am, so that I could begin my day with the sunrise. I spent the entire day there, doing things of my own choosing: writing, yoga, meditation, walking, dancing, more yoga. All the things that call me back to myself, that help me remember what makes me tick and what brings me alive.
From the fourth floor meditation room, I looked out on the lake, nestled below the Berkshire hills. Goldfinches bobbed swiftly in and out of the treetops below my perch, the sun intensifying the brightness of their bodies. Their swift movements reminded me of the sudden intake of breath that comes with deep feeling.
Letting myself loose from the jobs, the management, the tending of others - I felt the pressure that I put upon myself fall away. Instead, I sensed the willingness to receive and the bare truth of simply being.
What does rejuvenation look like for you? From which role do you need a vacation? What would that look like?
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.