This Monday morning I’m reflecting on and recovering from a gloriously full weekend. The Flood Women’s event I wrote about last week was beautiful and soulful and as tender as it gets.
My sense is that so many of us want to begin telling a different story, want to begin living truer to ourselves. Our insides are congested and our souls are tight and we want someone to give us permission to begin doing things differently–to honor the struggle we’re feeling, to admit we’re overwhelmed, and to begin living in a way that’s more congruent to that soul voice that is longing for nourishment.
I’m always grateful for a room full of women who are nodding and, maybe even, ever-so-slightly teary at times. These women remind me that I’m not the only one who is tired of muscling through. I’m not the only one who turns on myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m not the only one who wants to build a less adversarial relationship with myself.
In my first talk on Saturday, I share about how we drown in the void of self-contempt. We know it’s not OK to bully other people, but have we really truly learned that it’s not OK to bully ourselves? Are we overtly or subtly turning on ourselves with unreasonable schedules, less-than-adequate rest, a refusal to get support or help? Or are we turning toward ourselves, nurturing ourselves, as mother would her child?
Everything we try to throw into the void of self-contempt–new pillows, tight pants, crazy diets, more more more, etc–is just consumed. There isn’t a “fix” out there that will solve our adversarial feelings toward ourselves.
It is God who saves us. And he saves us in weird, unexpected ways.
In my second talk, I talked about one of the ways God has saved me, through a sentence you’ve heard me write about over and over again . . . “Always we begin again” (Saint Benedict). I talked about how that mantra has saved me from buying into the fantasy-life and the huge sweeping ideals in my head (of how things should look, of how things should feel, of how things should be going, of how I should be more like her over there) and to, instead, put one foot in front of the other and begin again. In this perfectly imperfect life that is right here under my nose.
Forgiving. Starting over. Loosening the noose of self-contempt. Beginning again. Extending to myself the very same grace God extends to me, moment-by-moment-by-moment.
This weekend we also hosted a big going away party for dear friends who will be moving to Colorado. Tatum has been a part of My Group (the one I write about in Breathing Room) for years. As I said in front of all our friends at the party, Tatum is so easy to love. And she has loved me generously and vulnerably all these years, allowing me into her own journey and walking with me in real and meaningful ways as I have journeyed.
God has saved me through these women, through Tatum, over and over again. His truth is spoken in their words. His love is given in their presence. His grace is extended in their validation.
I believe more and more of us are looking for these kinds of relationships–places and spaces where we can show up in our fleshy humanity and be welcomed.
So my heart is full this morning, even if my eyes are, in fact, a bit puffier than usual. I’m drinking my water (and lots of coffee, let’s be totally honest). Breathing. Lighting a candle. Looking around my house at the remains of a big party and a sweet, sweet weekend full of old and new friends, full of pouring out and filling up.
I’m beginning again, because that is what we must do. And because of his grace, that is what we can do.
What is saving your life right now?