The first half of this summer felt super intense, emotionally. I’ve spent most of it completely twisted up and totally riddled with anxiety, uncertainty and paralyzing self-doubt.
I’ve been doubting everything I’ve been doing, everything I’ve been writing–whether anyone out there cares or is even listening at all.
My first big lesson/reminder of this season came during our big summer project: painting our house.
Summer Lesson #1: TRUST YOUR GUT
We’ve never painted a house before. We don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to picking paint colors. And, classic mistake, we picked the wrong damn color.
Like, really wrong.
Only … I didn’t trust myself when my gut was screaming that this was not the right color.
We painted the first half of our house, and for three whole days I was riddled with anxiety. My stomach was all twisted up in knots. I wrung myself through the ringer trying to convince myself the color was okay. All weekend I stared and stared at the house, willing myself to like the color. Like, if I just stared at it long enough suddenly my gut feeling would change.
Worst of all, despite all the anxiety, all the knots, and all these things I knew in my gut, I just didn’t fully trust in how I felt.
My gut knew I didn’t like that color, but my brain (my ego) said, “But, maybe. Maybe you don’t know. Maybe you’re wrong.”
I was a WRECK at the stand still between my gut and my ego.
And, not just in our painting project; in everything I’ve been struggling with. I’ve been doubting my very Seasonal Soul and it’s been debilitating. I haven’t posted in a few weeks because I’ve been paralyzed with self-doubt.
My gut knows that I have things to say here, things to learn, and things to share with you. My gut knows The Seasonal Soul is important work. My gut tells me it’s my soul’s work here on Earth. But my damn ego tells me, “Nobody cares about what you have to say. Nobody’s going to read this. You don’t have any idea what you’re doing.” I’ve been completely paralyzed by this discrepancy. Frozen by fear, thanks to self-doubt.
But our disastrous first round of painting taught me, at the perfect time, to trust my gut.
Trust your gut.
Know your truth. And believe in it.
My gut knew I didn’t like that damn color. But it took three full days of stress and anxiety and, more than one, breakdown into tears at the dinner table. (Seriously, I was a wreck.) And even then I didn’t listen to my gut.
It was my sweet husband who finally said, “We just have to stop. You’re never going to like this color. We have to stop and regroup.”And immediately a huge weight was lifted. I could breathe. Relief.
No, that color was not good. I didn’t like it. And I knew that.
And this, The Seasonal Soul, is a good idea. People do care. And yes, people do want to read it. (After all, you’re here! And, I love you!!) We have important work to do here. I can’t quit already.
I need to trust my gut. With all of it. Trust my gut and just relax. (Which lead to my second lesson of summer …)
Summer Lesson #2:
JUST RELAX INTO THINGS
Don’t hold on so tight. Don’t let yourself get so twisted up and tense.
This total paralysis I’ve been experiencing is all due to 1) not trusting my gut and all the fear and self-doubt that creates, and 2) instead of just relaxing into it, that self-doubt was causing me to grasp at everything more and more tightly.
I felt like I was trying to grab tightly to an unpeeled banana; the tighter I squeezed the more the banana just squished through my hand, my fingers. It just oozed out and everything felt like a gloppy, sticky, yucky mess. (It’s totally dramatic, I know. But that is absolutely how I felt.)
I’ve been grasping everything so damn tightly. For a minute there life felt like a sticky, oozy, gloppy mess that I just couldn’t get hold of. The result was total paralysis.
On top of all that, it’s summer vacation, of course. My 11-year old is around during the day and since I’m working from home I’ve been experiencing total Mom Guilt about not spending time with him. “He’s 11,” I told myself. “He’s going to middle school in a few weeks. He’s getting older. He’s not going to want to hang out with his Mom much longer. I’m going to miss it. Before I know it he’ll be gone.”
And, seasonally speaking, isn’t playing and adventuring what summer is all about anyway?!
Since I wasn’t writing and everything felt like a disaster anyway, I decided I needed to just stop. I needed to let go of my super tight grasp, and relax. I needed to just hang out hang out with my son and do summer vacation stuff. So, we ran around hunting Pokemon. We rode bikes. We took walks. I let go of my tight, firm grip and just let myself relax.
Just relax into things.
And, are you surprised to hear, those knots dissipated. The tension eased and I was able to take some breaths. Regain some strength, regain some confidence, and get back at it.
And here I am. A few weeks of radio silence; but I’m back. And excited to start turning my gaze toward the last half of summer and the energy and changes that come along with that.
I hope wherever you are, at this midpoint in summer, that you are also able to just relax into things. It really makes life so much easier if you do. Release your grasp and just relax.
And dammit … don’t forget to trust your gut!