Although it feels really odd to give you all a Quarter 1 reflection so late into April, some of you have asked for this. Since I'm working on being a cheerful giver I am happily giving you what you want.
I actually sat down to write this post mid-March, but it felt forced. One thing I don't do is force my writing. I purposely don't commit to publishing a post every single week on a certain day because I write from the heart when I feel compelled and inspired to share with you. I don't write just to check a box and say I accomplished something. Not a single word I wrote that day felt like it came from me. It wasn't my usual writing style so I scrapped ALL of it because it was a boring sack of shit. And I refuse to give that to you. I'm going to attempt one more time.
Can I begin by telling you a little secret?
Things NEVER go as planned.
And I do mean never. I hate to break it to you, but our tendency to try and plan every single little detail does not guarantee that we will receive the outcome we expect or desire. It is completely out of our control. If you read this little gem then you know I have a hard time releasing control so this most certainly is a struggle for me. I'm doing much better these days though. Thanks for asking.
After I came up with my a theme or 4 for 2018 idea, I outlined all the things I wanted to explore during the winter months, made a plan for how I would spend my time and knew exactly how I wanted to walk out of March and step into April.
I pulled the yoga mat out maybe twice, did not research a lick about financial literacy, and only pulled out the canvas and paint brushes once. I did however, sweep almost every single day (I didn't know dogs shed when it's 5 degrees out), consistently sat down on average 4-5x each week to complete my morning pages, painted 80% of the walls in my home, watched 5 seasons of Bates Motel (blame my Husband and his Godbrother), incorporated some physical activity into my life, brainstormed business ideas, read some books, listened to a lot of podcasts, and spent some much needed time with God..... among many other things. Some productive, some not so much.
I evolved from Carnivore to Herbivore, transformed from a loose haired natural into a Loc'd queen, and did some crazy shit that still amazes me today, all of which was not planned...
I went from never stepping out the house without makeup and edges laid, to embracing the frizz and idgaf if you think I look tired today. again, not planned...
"How do you know when God gives you an answer?" turned into "Okay God, I hear you."
I used to tell myself, "I don't think I'm ready for that," "I'm too scared," "I'm not qualified," "I don't have the skills or knowledge." And now I say...
I AM READY. I AM CAPABLE. I AM QUALIFIED. DO IT SCARED.
EVERYTHING I NEED IS WITHIN ME.
I did not discover those 2-3 things I am super passionate about that I would dive in and master this spring. What I got was even better though – transformation spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
I thought that taking my Q1 vision board down early in mid-March and replacing it with a fresh one for Q2 symbolized that I was ready to move into the next phase.
It did but it didn't at the same time. I felt like I was done exploring. I didn't have the desire to continue "playing" and I didn't see myself trying to squeeze in any of the activities I originally said I wanted to explore in the final two weeks. This is the longest amount of time I have gone without employment. While I think "play" is important for adults, not just children, I felt ready to get back to "work" and start doing the thing that is supposed to feel fulfilling, meaningful, and impactful. There was inaction though. I think due to fear.
"We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures... Take a risk a day – one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it." - Susan Jeffers
So the true conclusion of my Q1 creative exploration adventure took place on the actual last date of Q1, March 31st during my artist date, something I had not been consistent with.
I had just arrived home from having lunch with my community pastor. It was originally supposed to rain that day so I decided to cancel my Artist Date, a nature walk at the Scioto Audubon Park. I let the dogs out, pulled back the covers and crawled into bed. A few seconds passed and I realized the sun was shining brightly through my bedroom windows. I checked the weather app and surprisingly there was no rain on the schedule. Although I was nestled in my favorite place, I got up, put on my new hiking boots, jumped in the car, and off I went.
There was a chill to the air from the wind. I wished I had brought a jacket. The sun can be pretty deceiving here. As I was walking along the river trail passing by all the bare trees I kept thinking, "Can it be spring already?!" No sooner than I thought that, I turned to my left and all I saw were little green buds. Suddenly the chill in the air was gone and I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. Just seconds before, there was zero indication that the spring equinox happened a week and a half prior, but spring indeed had arrived.
The beauty of the announcement of spring struck me so much that out of nowhere, tears filled my eyes and began to slide down my cheeks. Life has never felt beautiful to me. Life feels beautiful now like the sea of sparkling diamonds that formed where the sun met the ripples at the river bank.
Some people may think I'm odd for my belief in God and when I say I "hear" Him or feel He's telling me something, or even for so openly and publicly talking about it. Respectfully, I do not care. In that moment I felt God telling me "I have stripped you down like a barren tree in winter, but soon you will blossom. I am doing a great thing in you."
It all made sense.
The locs that come with the puffy, beautiful buds that everyone else looks at and calls "ugly" and "unprofessional." The irritation that comes when I have to dress up for a wedding and think about my appearance when all I want is to put on a pair of joggers, wash my face, and let my acne scars breathe. Forcefully pushing me to be vegetarian and only having 1 option at restaurants so there is no concern over what I will eat. Telling me to clean someone's house whom I barely knew instead of letting me choose the easy route of buying a gift. Committing a significant amount of time to serving others. Bringing me to Columbus where there are few distractions, where I spend so much time in solitude and silence that I can actually hear Him and know it's Him. Going through the Obsessed journey and learning how to relinquish control, let Him lead, and trust Him in all things.
It all makes sense.
I closed Q1 not with the assembly of a vision board, but with tears of joy as I sat on a bench and wrote God a 3 page letter.
If I can leave you with anything today, I encourage you to plan, but also to be flexible and don’t marry yourself to the outcome. Go with the flow, don't force it. Get far away from your comfort zone. When you feel fear, do it scared.
What a beautiful life I have opened myself up to by doing these handful of things.