the one that got away

This week I am headed to pick up my daughter from college for what will likely be her last summer at home. As a recent empty-nester, there is this new season emerging. And I don’t want to miss anything. I am so grateful for the time I had at home to pour into our kids and to do our best to fill them with adulting tools. But on this side, as I reflect on the space between my BAGOLITAS journey and today, I can see that I have spent seasons of my life with a schedule so busy, it was absolutely intoxicating. A schedule loaded up with busywork, where I could just numb out and press pause on the longings of my heart. Days filled with what I affectionately call my “Whacking-N-Stacking” mode, using my favorite violet highlighter to cross off each and every to-do on my list and call it a day.

And it served our family and me in many ways. Our house is embarrassingly organized. I’ve been sharing some of these ideas on social media, but I would say that I effectively combined Marie Kondo with The Home Edit and then created systems for just about everything. I took inventory of ALL of the unfulfilled intentions lying around… jewelry and clothes I save for a special day, photos, school projects and keepsakes from the kids, bins from my growing up, fabric that would love to be turned into a purse… in the end, there is either a plan to fulfill the intention or it’s out of here. It’s SUCH a giant energy drainer to walk around and look at unfulfilled intentions. My goal was to have a clear runway when I finally got my next season and I can honestly say that I came SO close.

The one that got away was the 100+ books that I have excitedly ordered over the past 10 years. I am a lifelong learner and I love love love books. But we are at the point now where it is a love-hate relationship because they are everywhere, taunting me… on the shelf, on my nightstand, on the coffee table, next to my morning coffee chair, stacked 3 and 4 deep. All of them saying, “You should be reading me, Janice…” 

In an effort to hush the “should’s,” I grabbed a laundry basket and cleared them all from my line of sight. It felt like a giant exhale. Ahhh… more room to breathe.

Now I did NOT rainbow coordinate them because I am way too pragmatic for that, but I DID organize them by categories and purged them until they actually FIT on my office shelves. And the purging wasn’t that hard  – I know where I am going in this next season and so many just weren’t relevant anymore.

And then I sat there on the floor and stared at them, willing a plan to emerge to get them read. I mean, start doing the math… if I read one a month, it’s going to be 8+ years before I get most of them read and I’m probably going to keep buying more because I am me. And I literally cannot muster up the energy for another failed plan… I have to be able to be successful if I am going to take another run at these.

So I soaked in a great big bucket of grace and whispered baby steps; habitual, not heroic efforts. Which looks a lot like one book a month and an 8+ year journey through my shelves.

One down, 99+ to go. I just finished Untamed by Glennon Doyle. What I admire and respect most about Glennon is that she just shows up, unapologetically her – so we feel like we know her. I’m convinced that if I ran into her at Target, I’d get the same Glennon I find in her books. In fact, this memoir is so intimate, that I may actually know her at a deeper level than some of my closest friends 🤓 What sets the stage for the entire book is the prologue story about Tabitha the caged cheetah and what she would say if she could speak… 

“Something’s off about my life. I feel restless and frustrated. I have this hunch that everything was supposed to be more beautiful than this. I imagine fenceless wide-open savannas.”  But, “I should be grateful. I have a good life here. It’s crazy to long for what doesn’t even exist.” 

If you asked me to put a pen and paper to all my feels the past couple of years, the words would have been pages and pages that could have been boiled down to these. Tabitha isn’t crazy and my fellow cravers of something more, we aren’t either. 

To become untamed, Glennon says that we need to feel it all. When we let ourselves feel, our inner world transforms. We need to be still and know, and dare to imagine! When we act upon our knowing and imagination, our outer world transforms. But the rub of doing this work is that if we want to build new, we must be willing to let the old burn.

One of the most frustrating things on this journey has been attending a great conference or reading a paragraph like the one above and then trying to turn all of the inspiring words into action to start creating a new reality. I love what she said, but I don’t know-how. Because there isn’t a magic switch or four easy steps. It takes a toolbox to start chipping away to unleash the buried longings in your heart. And it takes buckets of grace and baby steps.

Want to press pause on the whacking-n-stacking to add a couple of tools to your toolbox? I’m offering a free workshop on Wednesday, June 8th from 11:30 am-1 pm. I’ll be teaching on energy drainers that take up precious time and boundaries, with the end goal of equipping you to find more white space in your schedule so you can start taking baby steps and do your work. To find out more and register, head over HERE >>> 

To flash your inner cheetah, animal prints have arrived over on ETSY >>>

Next Month: I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist because OMG, it just showed up in my Amazon box!