I’m so excited to share today’s post with you by the incredible Kristin Noelle. Kristin has this amazing way of creating illustrations that speak right to the heart and make you feel like you’re not alone. Her blog and her beautiful weekly Trust Notes have become one of my favourite places online (plus she’s a truly kindhearted soul).
All week long there’ve been clouds covering the sky where I live. Massive black clouds and billowing white ones; flat, pale gray, and ones dropping rain. They’ve even drifted to the ground, sometimes, shrouding us all in mist.
But something shifted last night and the sky turned clear. Or blue, rather. As blue as anything I’ve seen. Wind is still gusting in from the sea and the plants beyond my window panes are smiling in it – I swear it, smiling – reaching happy limbs toward sun.
And I’m struck, so struck, in all of this, by the ways it depicts my experience of self love.
Most of the time I want to find safety in my company. I want to be kind care-taker of this body I’m in, kind host of my spirit. But my steps forward on that path feel mysterious often, no more clear than the skies have been here all week.
I launched a creative business two years ago and for the entire first year I hardly slept.
And I worked.
And I cared for my two preschoolers.
And I worked.
And I felt that whole year like my soul and the universe cheered GO! YES! DO THIS!
I assumed self love, that year, was all about GOING and YESSING and DOING THIS, fully knowing there were costs involved in those choices: physical fitness, emotional stability, social connectedness, time to relax. Loving myself felt like honoring my super-human drive to create, and what felt like a bigger-than-myself calling.
But as the calendar shifted to 2012 and a fresh year began, my body and spirit changed tunes.
“Honey,” they said, completely out of breath, “we can’t do this. We can’t keep up this pace.”
And the universe fell quiet. Quiet like standing in a fresh field of snow. Quiet like eerily so.
And I looked around and inside of me, questioning whether I’d heard anything right – whether I’d heard the GO! YES! DO THIS! at all, or whether I’d heard it but it was really my own ego talking, or the parts of me that really wanted my business to thrive, or whether those parts can even be untangled from the universe or Whatever It Was that felt so singularly, clearly focused all year on me pushing, full-steam ahead.
So, “Okay,” I said. I scratched my head and decided self love, for now, would be honoring these different tunes. Would be working more sustainably. Cutting back.
It’s been a year since that shift, and as the calendar turned a new January last month, it felt like a gust came through my life again.
Rather than urging me to slow down, however, this gust was an invitation: “Surrender,” it said. “Let go.”
And I felt more aware than ever of how hard I’ve worked this year again – not with super-human hours, but with a type of efforting, a type of internal assumption that I must somehow figure out the alchemy of creating a healthy business and single-handedly pull “that” off…when “that”, from where I’ve been sitting, has appeared as jumbled as all the business advice of the coaches I’ve paid and the business-y sites I’ve frequented rolled into a massive tangle.
Talk about shrouded in mist!!
I feel called from inside myself and called by something bigger to love myself and my work in a new way this year. To love us not by treating my work, earnestly, as a riddle to be solved (like last year), or a job that crazy hours alone will complete (like the year before that), but as an opportunity to co-create something beautiful in partnership with a Mystery. To co-create something that itself is a Mystery. That I will listen to and for and take steps I sense are mine to take in relation to, but that I don’t need to try to control or single-handedly define or orchestrate.
My hands feel open in a way they’ve rarely felt before. My mind feels less muddled. And I have a glad feeling of anticipation about where this partnership will lead.
Clear, blue skies are what’s inside.
And I’m struck as I write this by the ways weather cycles back. By the ways that our paths of learning self love and learning to discern the difference between the voices of our fear and the voices of our egos (same thing, really), on the one hand, and the voices of our deeper, wiser selves and of Spirit/universe/All That Is, on the other, are not straight and level and well-lit all the time (!). And by how even when they are, that’s just one stretch of the road. Up ahead the road will turn.
Like the weather.
Like the blue skies I’m enjoying right now for a time.
I’m struck, too, by how helpful and load-lightening it can be to hold common definitions of self love lightly. Because your best, MY best, most honest-with-myself/yourself definitions of it in any given season may look like the opposite from the outside.
Here’s to sharing life beneath cloudy, murky skies and to the joy of the clear ones that follow. Here’s to not always knowing how to love ourselves best and to setting our intention there as a practice anyway.
Here’s to creating and co-creating our lives with…and being ever created by…a great, and, I trust ever more deeply, trustworthy Mystery.
Kristin Noelle is a trust coach whose words, illustrations, and Deep Listening nourish trust-based living. She blogs at Trust Tending and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two kids, and four chickens. Connect: Facebook :: Twitter: @knoelle.