If I had to pick a philosophy in life that I adhered to more than any, it would be this: Live and Let Live.
It seems so easy on the surface. I live my life, you live yours, and everyone's happy. We don't scuffle about who's right, who's wrong; we're not wasting energy judging whose way is best. It simply is. Right?
I'm super great about part two of that. Really, as long as your way of living doesn't mean you're squashing how I choose to live or how others choose to live, I don't care what you do.
This election cycle is wearing super thin on me right now, and I cannot wait for the elections to be over. People I love dearly are hurling insults at each other and the candidates so thick that I often feel like I need to hide from the world just to breathe. It's not right, it's beyond annoying. It's an annihilation of all I hold dear.
The election cycle has brought a few things to light for me, though.
First, I don't agree with what others believe, and that's okay. I don't think like most people anyway. Charts and statistics mean little to me. It's just how I am, and I've taken my share of heat for it. If "facts" make you sleep better at night, or help you make decisions, all the better for you. My brain simply shuts down with them. That is not the same as making an uniformed decision, mind you. I just gather my information in other ways. That's what works for me, and I'm find with that. Where I get sticky, is when you don't like my method. I tend to jump to my own defense, trying to persuade you to agree that my way is acceptable, if not entirely better than your way. And that's not in alignment with my philosophy. I'm working on letting go. If you decide you don't like it, that's fine. That's your opinion. You are even free to tell me I'm ridiculous for how I make choices. But don't expect me to change. Your way does not work for me. End of story. There is no room for debate on this issue.
Live and Let Live.
Second, I need to give myself room to live. I've allowed myself to be so programmed by what I "should" be doing, that I've worked myself into the ground several times over in my life. I "die" in a way, shutting down, getting horribly sick, having to rebuild and reinvent my life every time. I'm not giving myself space to live my own life on my terms.
It's funny. I read all these articles, books, social media posts about all the things I should be doing to make my business run, to get my name out there, to be more than I am.
And it. Is. Exhausting.
I was sitting at my desk, watching the world lighten as the sun came up, incense smoke rising from my altar. I had meant to read, but I was lost in watching the patterns the smoke made as it curled around my tea mug and my hand, watching the patterns shift and change with my inhales and exhales. And a thought broke through, yelling at me that I am never going to finish reading this book if I don't actually read the book! It's right, I suppose. you cannot finish working on something if you don't actually do the work. As it was, I allowed myself to go back to being lost in the sage smoke, then, when whatever it was that I was taking in was finished, I returned to my reading. I read more this morning in 45 minutes than I have in the past week combined; possibly because I wasn't fighting where my mind wanted to be.
This is my lesson today: Yes, I have many things I have to get done in my day, in my week, my month, my year. I bow and acknowledge that fact in my life.
Yet, when I drop the deadlines, when I stop thinking about all I have to do, and allow myself the space to live, something shifts and changes.
I have been incredibly busy and invested in writing my first novel, and haven't been allowing myself time to get out and be with other people. I took some time out the other night, and went to a gathering of creative women. We sat around, cracked bawdy jokes and worked on our individual crafts. I finished more in that 90 minutes than I've managed to complete in the past two months on the project I took with me.
I am running 3 blogs, two businesses, and working on a fiction series while building the background work for the novel I'll be writing in November. Oh, and I'm still homeschooling an 11 year old. I am perpetually "behind" my target completion dates for virtually every project I have going.
But I notice that when I let go of the deadlines and see them as goals instead of "shoulds", I get so much more done. I might take that hour to spend in circle with other intuitive women. I give myself that 2 hour break from my work to go laugh from my belly with other creatives. I walk out the door with my dog, my daughter and my husband, and wander aimlessly on a beach for an hour. and I come back and get so much done.
I finish those blog posts when they're ready to go out into the world. I can connect deeply with my characters so that I understand them before writing the next scene. I have more patience for my daughter's questions about her French homework. I feel like I can breathe as I go through my 108 recitations of the mantra I've chosen for the day. I can pull my daily oracle and tarot card, and hear the message I'm meant to hear from them.
All because I allowed myself to live. I've given life to my projects, and allowed them to grow at their pace, rather than the pace I think they should be growing at because someone else said it should only take me this long, instead of the time I have been taking to get it done.
Live and Let Live. It's a sound principle. But it's not nearly as easy as it seems to be.
*This post originally appeared on one of my old blogs, on Oct. 6, 2016. I will be moving the blog posts over there to sagewolfsong.com gradually.