We all have things that make us come alive, but how often do we do them?
There was probably a time in life when much of what you did felt fun and exciting. Maybe it was college, or before, or right after. It was probably a time when responsibilities didn’t loom as heavy. A time before kids, jobs, and dreams that you felt should be put on hold.
I used to believe that I had to accomplish my dreams before kids and marriage. Afterwords was all about responsibilities and “real life”. I had to get everything done- traveling the world, creating a successful business, living in different cities, working on my art and selling it at craft fairs, and a few other things. I thought this because it seemed that everyone a bit older than me was preparing for the ‘next chapter’ by doing adventurous things because they wanted to have kids soon. I never understood this thought process..why can’t you travel with kids? Why can’t I create a thriving business while I have little ones?
Even though I didn’t like this way of thinking, it still seeped into my subconscious. After I had my daughter I felt trapped. Not by her, but by expectation. I still dreamed of traveling the world, with my daughter in a backpack, or running an online business with my toddler playing at my feet. I dreamed these things, but the pressure of “you can’t do that” and “you have responsibilities now” held me back. I doubted myself, criticized my thoughts, and deeply questioned my purpose in the world.
Nothing purposeful in life can come from self-doubt. But when you are stuck in a cycle of self-doubt, in a rut, how do you even begin to move forward?
I decided to begin with books. Fiction books. With a warm tea in hand, I loved escaping into the world of a great book, playing out the scenes in my head. It had dawned on me that I hadn’t experienced this for years because it seemed superfluous when so much else needed to be done. I missed it, so that is where I started the attempt to lift myself out of the rut. Letting myself enjoy getting lost in a story.
I began to crave the little ‘me-time’ moments. It was only a couple of hours a week at first, but making a few hours just for myself was my way of saying “I care about me.” I prioritized my own happiness at he top, not way down on the bottom of the list after dinner, chores, errands, and everything else.
The only way I can be the mom and entrepreneur that I envision, is to nourish myself. As Julia Cameron says, we need to “fill the well.” We can only give what we have, and if we are empty inside, giving is a stressful chore that is evident to everyone around us.
Moving from a position of being self-critical to one of self-loving takes time. It is a process in learning about yourself, what makes you feel alive, and what inspires you. Start small and add nourishing practices into your day/week/month as you feel ready over time. Begin by finding what nourishes you on a deep level to make you feel an inner joy, pride, and excitement for more.
When you add these practices in, even in small doses, they will have an incredibly powerful effect on your happiness. You will feel more relaxed, more creative, more fulfilled.
Making time to nourish myself opened my mind again to a world of possibility. I once again get excited about the things I want to do with my daughter, and I don’t worry so much about the ‘should’s’ because my version of real life can be anything I make it, not what is expected.
Finding Your Nourishment
Take some time to think about how you can add nourishing practices into your life. What makes you feel so incredibly alive, full of excitement, completely inspired, totally clear in mind and ready to take on the world?
It might take some time to find this, but you can start by doing things that you enjoy..just for you. Take some time away from responsibilities to refill your well of inspiration. What are some things that you really enjoy doing? Sometimes it’s the littlest of things.
Here are mine:
- Reading and writing at a cute little coffee shop
- Arriving in a new place
- Going to the woods. I don’t have to hike, but just walk around in the leaves, picking up interesting leaves and stones.
- Getting lost in a fiction novel (Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabelle Allende are my favorite authors) with a warm tea in hand
- Getting in the flow of a creative project. Blocking a few hours, setting up all my supplies, listening to music, and creating without disruption
- Writing in my journal for 15 minutes
- Walking around without a destination and with my camera in hand
- Visiting small New England towns
- Browsing a used book store
Now it’s your turn..what nourishes you?