a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process.
the joy of missing out.
I’ve been on an extreme self care program recently. I keep saying that the universe has brought me to my knees this year (literally and figuratively) after I had an accident with multiple injuries sustained to both knees. And since I’m the type that needs to find meaning in EVERYTHING, I’m really taking heed. Basically, I’m creating space for myself, getting quiet and taking good care of my body, heart, mind and soul.
I’m saying no to just about everything.
Why is it so hard to say NO? Even when you’re confident and strong. Even when you say it with love. Even when you know it’s the right thing. We worry about missing opportunities or being left behind, or hurting the feelings of our friends, leaving them with the impression that they aren’t important, and letting people down. In many cases, I still feel these things and I’m almost 50! Women have been trained since childhood to be pleasers. Like yoga, saying no is a practice: to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient. It’s truly an essential skill for our wellbeing and I wholeheartedly subscribe.
Not only have I been saying hard no’s, I’ve also cancelled plans and have disappointed people I care about by backing out of weekend getaways with fabulous friends and exciting projects that simply aren’t conducive to my life right now. Whoa!
Can we all take a moment to appreciate the magnitude of that? Saying no is one thing. Backing out of something you have already said yes to is excruciatingly uncomfortable. Flaking out feels really bad.
But then I remind myself, I am choosing what’s best for me right now.
Going even further, I’m taking some steps to be more intentional with social media and not fall into the rabbit hole that is the internet as I’m a total information addict. In the language used in the productivity world, I am heavy on the input. Being mindful in this way is more difficult than it sounds. I am not making any kind of declaration to quit social media. I like it. It’s been a great resource for me as an expression of creativity. I would describe it more as a social media diet of sorts in order to protect my energy. Making big choices about where my attention goes in an effort to limit what I’m feeding my mind. I fell off the wagon yesterday. I’m okay with it because another piece of this self care practice is being gentle with myself and choosing ease. (I’m currently in an online course called Choosing Ease by one of my favorite teachers, Andrea Scher.
I’ve been drawn to simplicity as self care for years. It helps me tame my mind which is easily overwhelmed. Some time ago I learned that the solution to experiencing overwhelm is always to reduce. A powerful question to ask in any situation where you feel stressed or unhappy is “what can I subtract from my life right now?” The disciplined pursuit of less helps you clear out the clutter of your life in order to tune in to your soul. I’ve written about this last year in an article published in Bella Grace magazine about protecting your peace through the holidays. Joy is found in the subtraction.
A few years ago I wrote a blog post about Saying YES to yourself. I actually created a social planning manifesto to help me assess what I need to say no to, getting really specific about what kinds of events, parties, and invites fit my introverted personality. You can find that article here.
So here I find myself in a transition phase. Midlife may have something to do with it. I’m clearing out old ideas and patterns. Being still is helping me do some soul searching and a whole lot of writing. Ultimately, I am on a hiatus, giving myself a time out for healing and spiritual maintenance. I am bathing in sacred peace.
Where before, I was defining what exactly to say YES to, now I am saying NO to most everything. I’m saying no to the things I don’t want to do, but also the things I do want to do. I’m being deliberate in releasing any FOMO (the fear of missing out) to embrace JOMO (the joy of missing out). It is liberating!
I was inspired by this powerful quote by Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favorite thought leaders. It showed up again magically in my inbox recently from Courtney Carver, the author of Souful Simplicity. (have I mentioned I’m a little bit obsessed with simplicity?) Seriously, the universe always conspires to support us! We just have to pay attention.
”Long ago, when I was struggling to become a writer, a wise older woman once said to me, “What are you willing to give up, in order to have the life you keep saying you want?”
I said, “You’re right — I really need to start learning how to say no to things I don’t want to do.”
She corrected me: “No, it’s much harder than that. You need to learn how start saying no to things you DO want to do, with the recognition that you have only one life, and you don’t have time and energy for everything.”
- Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s not so bad exchanging all the fun and activity for my flannel pajamas, books and hot chai tea latte in front of a cozy fire. It’s a self-care extravaganza! I am nurturing myself and figuring out what’s best for me NOW and mind mapping about who I want to be NEXT.
Interested in more self care? I’ve got some tried and true tips in my article featured in Bella Grace Magazine, Issue 7 with 25 Ways to Love and Light Yourself Up.
I’ll be putting together a JOMO challenge and some other projects based on my Follow the Shape of Your Soul workshops soon since… hey….I’ve got some extra time on my hands to devote to my creativity. Stay tuned!
Lastly, I want to mention a great resource for the writers out there. I mentioned that I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately. Happy are the days! Anyways, I have a new favorite app that’s been bringing a lot of focus to my world because it’s clean and simple. (And clearly, I adore simple) It’s called Ulysses.
Be well and fantastic!
….and don’t forget to Leap and Twirl ❤