For almost a year I have been on a mission to create space in our home, in my life. I have cleared out rooms and cleaned out cabinets. I have taken countless trips to Goodwill, donating that which we no longer need, use or want. I have sold things on Craigslist and given things to friends. Slowly creating space in our home, and thereby creating space in my head. Week by week, our home is becoming more and more ours, more and more who we are today. It is growing into our sanctuary, our safe space to be, to gather, to circle, to live, to breathe. We have moved out of our walls and onto our decks and into our yard. As a family we have started to explore our space through walks around our neighborhood and adventures down to the creek behind our home.
There has been resistance to this expansion, both internal and external. Resistance to change. Fear of lack. Resistance to what this new space, this new openness may bring. And we breathe through the resistance, love it, and move forward.
I’m expanding my clearing to my digital world, where frankly I live much of the time. I have been unsubscribing from newsletters and blogs and “deal groups” and finding my inboxes less full in the mornings and that I breathe so much easier with only a handful of new messages each day to read, to consider, to share or not. I have left Facebook groups that I have no interest in or are inactive and I have been deleting the groups I created that no longer have a purpose in my life. Creating more space, receiving less notifications, opening space for me to be in the real world and not stuck in the ether.
And now I find myself in an interesting place. There are still things to clear out of our home (it seems there always will be), there are still some newsletters and blogs and FB groups hanging around my world that I will likely release soon so that I have the time and energy and mental space to give to those that remain. And without these distractions I am finding myself looking around at the people I have neglected because of all the stuff that occupied my mind and soul and space. I feel sadness at the connections lost or weakened and excitement at the opportunity to create new connections and strengthen those I have. It is as if the stuff that has been taking up physical space has prevented me from opening my heart to the people around me. And as there is more physical space, I feel my heart open more with each breath I take.
I have opened my home to loved ones, to dear friends. I have found myself seeking my tribe and knowing in my heart when I find those people. The challenging part is letting go of those who are not my tribe, who I struggle with for various reasons. Creating space by releasing people who are not authentic, who I struggle with personally, even when I think that we should have a connection, and yet don’t. I am now finding myself in a place of both seeking and releasing. Releasing so that I create space for my tribe, releasing so that space is created for others to find theirs.
With fewer distractions I am able to home in on my feelings, and how others affect me. I have dear friends who I love, who I feel both supported and challenged by, who are on their own journeys of growth and transformation and for this time now we are by each other’s sides, connecting, circling, creating our tribe. I have other friends and acquaintances who I care for and yet, there is that spark missing, that something-unnameable, that creates barriers and walls. I feel lost when in their company, and so I am slowly releasing my expectations for those relationships and allowing them to either grow or drift further apart as they need.
This releasing of expectations is hard for me, to be honest. When I share values with another I struggle so deeply when there is not a deep connection. I struggle with wondering what is wrong with me that I can’t or don’t connect with this other. I struggle with my own demons of Not Good Enough and Outsider. I struggle with knowing where the line between looking inward for growth and looking outward for validation is in these relationships. I struggle with not being one of the Cool Kids and feeling lonely and desperately seeking. I struggle with allowing the space for myself to simply be and to let go and to live my life as best I can.
Here I am in this place. I feel as though I am on a precipice of great change, of amazing things to come if I am brave enough to release what is holding me back, to delve into me and allow myself what I allow my daughter: to be unapologetically herself, to encourage her to use her voice and express who she is in this moment, to find kindness for her own imperfections in the same way she has kindness for others.
I am slowly finding the space to be unapologetically myself, to use my voice and not be afraid of being “too loud” or “too bold;” to understand that when others are offended or hurt I can only look to my intentions and if I had no ill intent to understand that the hurt is theirs to explore and soothe, not mine. I am finding space to give myself the gentleness, the kindness, the love that I offer to others.
Some days are easier than others, as life is. Slowly, gently I am making space for kindness to myself. I am getting back to my morning yoga practice and have been doing it outside when the weather agrees, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the birds and creek as I focus on my breath and my body. I am once again starting my meditation practice, exploring Loving Kindness through breath and mantras and intentions. I am focusing on giving my body nurturing foods that help it heal and feel good. I am looking to my lifetime practices, bringing forth the ones that I know in my heart I need and releasing for now the ones that I don’t need so deeply. Creating space, releasing and allowing in what will truly nurture me.
Being kind to myself is new and radical. It’s rebellious and goes against all those voices that sing and scream in my head and heart. It is at moments terrifying at and at others gratifying. It feels strange and good.
Finding love for myself, from myself. Finding ways to express kindness to me. Knowing that through this deeper connection to my Self, I will heal and open space for deeper connections with others for more healing. And together we will find deeper connections to our tribes, our communities, our world and spread our kindness and love and guide others to open their own spaces for healing.
I invite you to walk this Rebel’s Path with me, to explore kindness to yourself. To connect with both yourself and others deeply and authentically. To experience the strange goodness of settling into your own skin, your own being. Find your lifetime practices and be a rebel with me.