standing still

Why is it that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not do anything?

I think I must have an addiction to adrenaline or something. I definitely am a bit on the thrill-seeking side (while still playing it reasonably safe -- I hate to swing too high on the playground, for example). I always like to be thinking ahead of the game. What can I do next? What is my next big "thing"? What should I be focusing on, working towards? They say if you don't know what you're working towards you won't go anywhere. Or worse - you'll go somewhere you don't want to end up.

Somehow, though, God's message to me -- subtly and not-so-subtly -- has been to stand still for a hot second. To not be worrying about the next big styled shoot. To not be worrying about 2015. To not be planning our future family or our future house or our future move.

It's hard for a planner to stop planning.

I love to jump from one big thing to the next. START A BUSINESS! BECOME A YOGA TEACHER! GET AN OFFICE! PLAN A TON OF WEDDINGS! MOVE TO A NEW CITY! (I still want that one...)

But perhaps that isn't God's plan for me right this second. Right this minute. Right this week, this day. This Tuesday morning. Maybe He does want me to move along the same timeline I want to impose upon my own life... but maybe He doesn't.

We talk in yoga about how attachment breeds suffering. Attach yourself to an expectation and you can be pretty sure there's a good likelihood that you'll be disappointed by the reality in comparison with said expectation. Part of the problem with my so-very-forward-focused-thinking is that I get very attached to my expectation of how everything will turn out. My timeline. My method for getting there. Add that mentality to a marriage of TWO, not ONE, people, and you get a very selfish and unhealthily-attached attitude where everyone suffers. It's a lot like how impatient I was with getting engaged and married. I wanted Drew to propose to me August 21st, 2011. I came up with a whole list of reasons in my head why that date was the perfect date, how he should pop the question, and how we should plan the wedding henceforth. When he didn't propose August 21st, I got disappointed. And then every day following that, I pretty much convinced myself that THAT was the day it should happen. I essentially planned a million ways for Drew to propose to me rather than just letting him do it himself, which was ultimately what I REALLY wanted. It caused a lot of strife that whole season because I would fight and resist his plans, since I had this stupid idea that mine were better. Then when he finally proposed (on November 10th) I was unbelievably shocked and happy and couldn't have asked for anything better. Silly me.

History repeats itself in big and small ways. Now, as you get older and more experienced, you (I) should LEARN from your (my) shortcomings rather than suffer in the same way time and time again. Hold on loosely to things of this world. Find the right balance between surrender and effort. Let go of things that do not serve us in this exact moment we are living in. All we have is what is right in front of us.

So I shall be still for this season. Patiently (key word!) waiting for God's next nudge in the right direction, His right direction. Patiently trusting in His timing, that He will not steer me the wrong way or allow me to "miss out" on His plans for me.

In the meantime? I'll be planning something special for our anniversary which is coming up in less than two weeks:) I foresee scrumptious cake and a viewing of our wedding film in our immediate future...

one of our engagement photos by the fab  Brett Price

one of our engagement photos by the fab Brett Price

[PS: I sent my rings off to be rhodium-dipped in time for our 2-year anni mark and my ring finger feels absolutely naked and insecure now. I'm happy that I have a significant tan line on my ring finger, at least. I wanted one of those so badly before we got engaged. I'd wear fake wedding bands to the beach to pretend, so that I could have something semi-permanent on that finger. It never really worked since the bands weren't very big and I didn't wear them every day of my life like I have with my legitimate wedding rings. Sometimes you just can't beat the real thing. Maybe all the times. :) ]

staying present

I've learned a lot through years of practicing yoga. One lesson in particular has been awareness: feeling the ground beneath my feet.  So much of human life is spent running through autopilot -- going through the motions, "getting through" life.  Bearing it.  Enduring it. 

It's so easy to always be focusing on one step ahead. You're in a relationship? Dream of getting engaged. You're engaged? Dream of finally being married. You're married? Kids, dogs, house, career... everything has to be checked off a list ASAP and done in haste. Hurry up and die. 

I know I'm being dramatic, but really... think about it. Personally, I'm totally guilty of numbing myself to reality. I live in my head. Especially as a designer/creative/right-brained person, it makes sense to live the confines of my own imagination. But it comes at a cost -- you live in your head, you miss what's in front of your eyes. 

Sometimes having too many choices can feel absolutely paralyzing. (This is definitely true for couples planning a wedding. Can I get a hear, hear brides?)  Figuring out what to do with our lives, how to spend our time, how to spend our money (if we have money), how to plan-plan-plan our futures. It can get to be so much that we just shut down. We turn to drinking, to overeating, to shopping, to telling ourselves lies and trying to beat them (just to pass the time), whatever can fill that sinking feeling of sheer overwhelmingness. We turn off our brains and go through the motions, endure life without living it, and half-heartedly wish for the best. 

And then we're in old age, having wasted our whole lives hoping to just get through it. 

I don't want to live that way. 

I want to feel the ground beneath my feet (or the chair, in my case, since I sit all funny when I type). I want to smell fragrant flowers and notice when leaves are blooming. I want to feel my emotions and accept them, move through them. I want to be alive and not just pretend like I'm living.

Sometimes it's hard. Really hard. Sometimes the things we have to accept in our daily walks aren't fun, aren't easy, aren't quick to get over. We get hurt. We see sadness. But part of the beauty of life is its complexity. Negative feelings color the way we feel positive ones. 

God calls us to do more than to "get through life." Yes, it may be the easy way out. But as Bikram Choudhury says (paraphrased): There is no choice; you must do everything the right way. And the right way is the hard way.

Playing during a photo session with  Alyssa Joy . (In Lilly, no less.) Because, why take life so seriously? 

Playing during a photo session with Alyssa Joy. (In Lilly, no less.) Because, why take life so seriously? 

Why don't we apply that to all aspects of life? Business, planning major life events (ahem, weddings), relationships, keeping our homes?  CHALLENGE ALERT!

My challenge for you and me:  Stay present today. Or tomorrow. One day this week. Or an hour out of every day. Look around and see what's before you. Have you ever noticed the ceilings in your grocery store or coffee shop? Who's around you? What do you feel, smell, hear, taste? What are you eating? Do you even enjoy it? If not, why are you eating it?  LIVE LIFE TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't just scrape by.


Love and light, as my favorite Fahrenheit ladies say!