Does the monotony of your adult life often feel like a dull knife plunging into a tender wound? Does your own life bore you, is it unfulfilling, or just not as cool as everyone else’s on Facebook? Do you often contemplate a major life alteration? Pray for an apocalypse? You are not alone.
Life, for me, has been a pattern of alternating phases in which I feel either genuinely satisfied, or stark raving mad for anything else but my own. There’s a certain word for this. I believe it’s called…normal.
For a while, I was having a hard time adjusting to being a new mother, and I greatly favored a rather bleak outlook. I rose and zombied through the work week, indulging in monotonous Facebook scrolls, cowering at the sight of myself in my phone screen reflection (mirrors were avoided), endlessly chasing my son around the house, stopping him from death by electrical outlets, Pine-sol poisoning, and stirring the toilet water. Otherwise, I was tied to my laptop, HBO Now, a nice Solitaire game or Netflix before I withered into bed each night, praying to be torpedoed into the moon. This felt like a slow heart attack, and I abruptly realized that I no longer really had the life I imagined I would at 30. Nor did I feel that it was within a close reach.
If I sit to analyze the choices I’ve already made, futility has a nice laugh and my life still hasn’t miraculously become something out of movies and magic. I know how I got here. However, I like to challenge myself. In every way that I can be challenged. And anyone who knows me at all knows how far I’ve come. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished both extrinsically and intrinsically. And I am always working on new ways to help me reach my highest potential (or just kicking my own ass into movement). But I know I am not super-human. Sometimes I like to be a lazy, self-deprecating blob of flesh. And everyone is allowed mental malaise from time to time. Still, there is always a faint inner me saying “happiness is yours, when you choose to have it”. This annoys me. Then excuses start to flood in, and quite frankly I feel too old to be how I was even 2 years ago.
I’ve grown up and created the busy American life that I’ve been brain-washed to believe I need. Most of us have. And most of us are okay with that – and none of us can change it, so we deal. But the majority of us do very little to participate in our own resurrection. Why? Very simply, we are too damn TIRED. Burnt out. Stressed out. We don’t slow down, and some of us feel that even in the spaces between the to-do lists, the laundry cycles and meals, we feel the anxiety and anticipation of “what else”? The art of doing nothing has become an obsolete ideal.
But what could happen if we took those empty spaces and made them more interesting? What if that didn’t have to be so hard? What if it’s not and we just haven’t tried? And what if we could find a little peace within the chaos? For isn’t there always a little chaos in our peace nowadays? *Insert cheesy Yin and Yang reference here.*
Thus, I challenged myself to a new method towards a more joyful, easy and elongated existence. Can I find peace in the chaos? What if I just did what I can, when I have time? Now by that I don’t mean just brushing off any action like the great procrastinator that I tend to be, I mean that quite literally: Do what I can, whenever I have any extra time.
We all have those moments. The moments where we have a choice to be sucked into a marathon of Modern Family, or be a more interesting human being. Times we feel, instinctively, that we have the energy and could be doing something better, more fun, less irrelevant with our free time. This, my friends, has been my revelation. Mind-blowingly simple, yet effective AF. I just started to do what makes me happy, whenever I had any time to do it. And it changed my life, instantly. I began to see my life as abundant rather than desolate and void of meaning. Furthermore, it became easier and easier as time went on.
Mainly, I just doodled. At work, at home, on my phone, every time I thought to. That turned into many drawings that still to this day blow my mind. Then, I added more things, slowly. Such as: Using the only minutes in the morning before my son wakes up to lay there and breathe, smile, and stretch. Replacing technology with actual books, drawing, trying something new, cooking a new recipe or just sitting outside and watching the sunset. Dancing and singing to music while at home – during cooking, while playing with my son, cleaning. Yoga right after my son falls asleep (and whenever/wherever not deemed wildly inappropriate), or a hot Epsom salt bath, or just literally staring into nothingness (quite relaxing, actually!) This is mindfulness on hyper-drive, but it’s my way to this “inner peace” that I so desperately seek out. I get the greatest sense of fulfillment in these tiny moments of success. It goes with the saying a little goes a long way.
This is not a cure for everyone, this just happens to work for me. And I reinvent this all the time, thinking of new ways to fit in peacefulness to my hectic schedule every day.
It’s not always easy, and sometimes I fall out of rhythm (I have a toddler and a full time, number crunching, spreadsheet driven, mind-melting job.) But I try to remain consistent and find a balance between intellectual/social, emotional/spiritual, and creative stimulation and utter relaxation (SO important). Finding an excuse TO do it, rather than not. This in conjunction with continuing on my path towards human enlightenment (I’ll let you know when I get there).
I challenge those of you who resonate with feeling out of sync more often than not to find peace in your crazy ass life. Whatever and however works best for you. Before you know it, it will be a distant and forgotten blob of consciousness anyway.
– Naturally inspired. Locally aware. Universally beautiful. With love, Brie.
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Sometimes you meet a person whose light sparkles just a little brighter than what your eyes are accustomed to. Their presence is real, conscious, intriguing. And something about them can make an ordinary situation seem extraordinary.
Meeting to take these photos was the first time I met Brie. We connected – and not the ‘we listen to the same music + have the same sense of style’ type of connection. Call me crazy, but it felt like something happened on an energetic level. We talked genuinely about the realities of our lives, effortlessly collaborated to achieve the eye candy for this post + watched the sun slip beneath the desert horizon in all its beauty. But before we packed up our things to quench our thirst at the local Papago Brewery, I opened one of Brie’s books of inspiring messages to a random page and read aloud the passage. The excerpt was so fitting, we couldn’t stop the feeling of bliss from bursting out of our bodies.
Although my physical existence is confined to space + time, my awareness is not limited to that. I am aware of the whole field as a play of creation and deconstruction. Matter + energy come and go, flickering in + out of existence like fireflies, yet all events are held together and made orderly by the deep intelligence that runs through all things.
I am one aspect of that intelligence. i am the field unfolding itself in local events. My spirit is experiencing the material world through the lens of perception, but even if I see + hear nothing, I am still myself, an eternal presence of awareness.
In practical terms, this realization becomes real when no outside event can shake your sense of self. A person who knows himself as spirit never loses sight of the experiencer in the midst of experience. His inner truth says, “I carry the consciousness of immortality in the midst of mortality.”
– Deepak Chopra
– With love, Taylor