We write a lot about how to be a girl on the go, a woman on the move, how to do more in less time, how to keep everything rolling along smoothly. But what about when everything comes to a screeching halt? What about when doing more actually means growing less? When doing it all means in truth, underneath it all, you’re falling apart? These are questions I currently find myself grappling with and it’s an uncomfortable place to be living for someone used to powering full steam ahead day after day. Instead I find myself focusing on mindfulness. Trying to meditate. Slowing my hectic pace down.
Because the girl who does it all has become the woman who cannot possibly do it all. I broke.
I’m asking for support from the people around me. My girlfriends have been incredible. My parents took my kids and me in for a week while I recuperated. My sister flew in from Portland to lend her support. They all tended to a rambunctious 2.5 year old and a needy 2.5 month old for six straight days while I recovered from exhaustion.
I’m recognizing that I’m actually dealing with postpartum stress and that I need to take time to be kind to myself. I’m painting and going to yoga. I mix auditions in there whenever I can manage them, try to meet up with a friend for lunch once a week, and spend lots of time with my kids, but I am trying to remember that I’m in recovery.
To be mindful means two things: 1. Have compassion towards yourself 2. Have gratitude for your environment. This has become my tent pole of reference for which to approach life. I find the first part really, really hard. I have such a driving taskmaster inside me. It’s what makes me ME and it’s such a spiritual challenge for me to learn how to quiet this girl inside me, to let her know, “hey you’re not helping right now, you need to take a vacation inside my brain, lady.” Having compassion towards myself means sometimes I need a nap instead of an espresso. It means acknowledging that I have a lot on my plate and I often overload it. It means I want to create art even through there’s no monetary gain in sight.
The second part of the recipe is easier: having gratitude toward the world around me. I am already so grateful for my life and the gifts it brings me but this part of the equation helps me focus on how grateful I am even for the downswings. This breakdown is the best thing that’s ever happened to me; it’s giving me a chance to rebuild the foundation on which I’ve built my life in a more sustainable way. It’s giving me the opportunity to intentionally create space in my life for myself. For the adolescent girl still inside me who simply loves to paint. For the mom who just wants to enjoy her kids.
I am so grateful for the opportunity this ‘pause’ has brought into my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to become more fully ‘me.’ I can still be a girl on the go. But I’m learning when it’s time to pull over at a rest stop, take a deep breath of gratitude and simply enjoy the view.