I love new beginnings. Lucky for me… I celebrate them about every three months.
I am a crazy woman around the New Year… I have whole rituals around reviewing last year’s journals to glean important themes, to reflect on what I’ve learned, to consider what I want to leave behind. To set a course for the year ahead.
In March I celebrate my birthday month… where I look again at my past year, consider the milestones, celebrate victories, and put away things that no longer work for me.
During a New England summer… I feel the need to mark my life by considering where we were last summer, what has changed? what should? I spend time outside feeling the wind blow and the trees sway as I consider where I want to be next summer.
But it is Fall that holds my heart for new beginnings. September marks the beginning of the school year. There have only been a couple of years in my life when September did not send us back to school, to routines, to order and reorder our lives. I remember my first September after High School and the emptiness of a summer that seeped into fall without a new start.
This Fall, finds me thinking again about endings and beginnings. Now that I work at a college, September is a true start year after year. A reminder to stop and realign my life. This year I am feeling a bit wobbly. I recently walked through fire which did more than scorch my life, it reshaped me in important ways. In the calm that comes after this storm, I am making room, slowing down, taking time to wonder, to think, to wait.
The past few years have been a whirlwind of activity and change… our children left the nest, we moved, we lost a parent, we grew into a new stage in our lives. I am no longer defined by my children. I’m not the mother of littles, instead my littles are now moving into the world with growing momentum and confidence. My husband and I moved into our careers with renewed vigor and took on additional challenges and responsibilities. We have faced trials and we’ve seen great victories. But we are both sure our careers aren’t the thing we want to define our lives. This feels like a moment to notice the calm and to use it well.
So, I am withdrawing a bit… not to make a huge change, but to realign my heart, to listen for that still small voice. I long to find quiet and to refill the cup that brings creativity and vitality. To gather my thoughts, to pray, to rest, to be restored. I want my life to overflow from the bounty of God’s blessing but lately feel like I’m pouring out the dregs. My cup is dry and my heart is faint. The thing I am learning here, is that it isn’t really about the details of my days… but about the way my heart approaches my minutes and hours. It’s about my striving and straining to reach, to gain, to prove, to show. I need to step back and take a breath.
The thing I am learning here, is that it isn’t really about the details of my days… but about the way my heart approaches my minutes and hours.
I am a leaner in… I lean into conversation, to people, to responsibility, and to life. When I was a little girl I hated to go to sleep when I could hear people talking because I didn’t want to miss anything. I still do. I love being in the center of the action and I hate to miss out on anything. But there is a price to this way of being and right now I am paying it. I need to learn how to lean in and then lean out, regularly… this is not easy for me. Instead I tend to live my life like a perpetual three-year-old running until I am exhausted and suddenly fall asleep in my soup.
So, I start by looking at my commitments and I am dealing ruthlessly with those right now… but it isn’t enough to just cut things out. I need to learn to be different in the places I remain. To take my foot off the throttle just a little bit… everywhere. To learn how to rest my soul. To stop. To take a lap and get my wind back. To allow my heart to be restored by beauty, friendship, prayer, and solitude. I am digging in to the scriptures to see what God has to say about restoration and I am bringing my weary soul to Him daily.
What are the practices that restore your soul?