It was an unexpected experience. Sitting in the movie theater with my 5 year old son, watching Christopher Robin and sobbing as silently as my heaves would allow.
It brought me back to what was the start of my striving to be someone. Someone people would like and admire. Someone who would make a difference. I was 18 years old when I was told over and over I’d affect the whole world for good. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it instilled in me a belief I needed to do more, accomplish more, *be* more in order to really be someone special. As if I wasn’t enough already.
Fast forward (through a trilogy of stories yet to be written) to moving to Elizabeth City, NC - aka, Nowhere America. I found myself cringing at the signs that I was nowhere: the sight of a tractor ahead in the road, my body waist deep in chicken poop, nothing to do. Ever.
It was then I resolved to become someone the town would love and need. I went from knowing literally not one person to owning a respected private counseling practice and being called regularly to speak, counsel, coach and consult on people’s most sacred life topics.
The morning I woke up earlier this year and it felt exhausting to even brush my teeth, I quit everything. I quit writing, socializing, cleaning my house, answering the phone. I did the bare minimum just to survive.
I stopped caring if I was becoming something before I became nothing.
I understood that if I died tomorrow, everyone would find someone else to fill that sacred space. I’m not that special.
I know I’m not alone in this striving to be something. I sit with people every day who feel like they’ve failed to become who they were meant to be. There is a movement in our society to “be the best, do the best, be seen the most, quote the most, raise the bar, climb higher, dig deeper, run faster, speak louder, read more, do more, BE MORE” and we are accomplishing it.
And we are dying behind the scenes.
Our family relationships are struggling. Our toddlers are glued to electronic devices, our elementary children are angry, our teenagers are killing themselves, and our college students are looking for the next concoction of drugs to give them a better high. Mothers are instagramming and wining their lives away. Fathers are losing their identity as protector/provider/leaders. Families as a whole have lost how to simply be in the same room with each other without a screen in their face. When I returned to Facebook a couple weeks ago someone said “welcome back to the real world.”
When did we lose touch with reality? When did normal, daily life and touchable moments become boring and not enough?
With consciousness and intention I turned from striving to make a difference to simply being different. Returning to soaking in daily moments without a need to share them with the world. Coffee dates with my husband on our patio. Enjoying my son riding his bike. Bird watching. Dinner with neighbors. Planting flowers. Face to face time with friends. Camping and creating art for no other reason than it feels good.
Authentic living leads to more authentic living.
Quitting my striving to *be more* allowed my soul reconnect to the quiet and still voice within my soul. Allowing space for it to rise, allows me to rise and with ease, I am becoming all I was created for. I was reminded that I was already enough.
I’m no longer dying to live.
Everyday starts and ends with breathing deeply, moving slowly and just being, so the in between moments can be inspired instead of insane, prompted instead of pushed and felt instead of faked. Here’s to letting go of striving to be something, to simply being and becoming 🥂
Christopher Robin said it best:
When I started to do nothing, the best of everything came to me.
From the couch to your soul, A xo
Growing up, time with my dad was invaluable. It didn’t matter what he was doing, I wanted to be with him. He was a tile setter by trade and graciously, although reluctantly, allowed me to tag along. I was not a great helper.
Unfocused, singing, daydreamer here 🙋🏼♀️🙈
But there is one task he always had me by his side for and that was changing the oil in his van. He bought this van when I was 4 and still has it to this day (it has nearly a half a million miles on it!!!) Unlike me, he’s very particular and consistent about everything he does, and changing the oil was no exception. Even though I likely slowed him down, my little hand could fit up the tiny hole and screw off the plug to the oil, so I got to help. I don’t have the type of personality that cared what he was doing, so I never asked. I just registered it as, “Time spent, I am loved.”
Fast-forward to owning my first car; a 1984 Honda Civic, two-door, red hatchback. It was old when I got it in 1996, so it needed “special attention” 😬 Regardless, I drove the living hell out of that car. Independence is a top value of mine and I was on the go as much as possible.
Fast-forward another year and I was broken down on the side of the road, not having a clue why my car just quit.
I called my brother and he rescued me. He is mechanically inclined like our dad; so it didn’t take him long to ask me, “When was the last time you changed the oil?” To which I looked at him dumbfounded and asked, “You have to change the oil?”
This was the moment in my life that I learned knowledge doesn’t equal power or insight and personal experience is the most impactful teacher.
We can know and not understand, hear and not listen, accomplish and not progress.
Here’s to living with consciousness and intention every. single. day.
Anna is a soul~therapist whose "no-nonsense" writing captures and expands on the deeper moments of life. Everyone will benefit from posts on parenting to relationships to living your better life. Follow along and you'll gain insights into your own soul, quick-tips (Quips) about every life subject and along the way, you may just find yourself having a few laughs.
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