A Return to Love and Becoming my Own Soft Place to Land.

My current view feels like an omen :: flowing life force. A change in perspective. Soaring to new heights.

I feel myself expanding.

My soul is opening.

Our walls and harvest table are a testament to that : I leave paints and canvases and paper out, for whenever our hearts fancy

At first, it was for her- my joyful toddler, who spends hours at a time creating. But over the days and weeks, it’s become about me, also.

When my girlfriend asked what I wanted to do for my birthday. I told her, “Teach me to paint. Im sick of coffee shops and restaurants and sitting just talking.”

I’ve forever fancied her walls, adorned with personal sketches and paintings. But my C in High school art class told me, “No. It’s not for you. You’re not good enough.”

But my soul wanted it- it has for a lifetime. And I’m finally letting go- giving her permission to come out of hiding and paint for the joy of it.

No judgement, no shame, no expectations, I’m delighting in the pleasure of creating once again

And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud, was greater than the risk it took to bloom. – Anais Nin

Through the art of allowing and the gift of permission, I am taking what is rightfully mine: freedom, play, delight, joy, wholeness… LIFE abundant.

Filling my home with bows of fresh greens and red berries tied up with string.

Lighting an advent wreath-  the swoosh of a match stick- and lingering long enough to breath in it’s aroma.

Taking time- again and again- to choose the perfect scent.  1…2….3….4 drops of essential oil into a diffuser.

Five deep breaths to imprint the moment, and the benefits, on my mind and heart.

Letting music waft through my walls and speakers.Taking time to listen, appreciate and move to it’s rhythms, whether I’m in my kitchen cooking, doing yoga by myself, shaking off the energy or bopping with my toddler in the living room.

Sitting in silence. Focusing on the life moving inside me. Trusting that my words- and the world- can wait… until I’m full of Love and Peace and Reverence:  what I need to serve my people well.

Wearing threads, soft and feminine, that wrap me cozy and comfortable: pyjamas that make me feel beautiful.

Mundane routines like washing and cleansing, peppered with natural agents, luscious scents and kind, gentle attention. 

Reading the words of others-  sages and ancients and wisdom of old- allowing Love to shape my perception and reception.

Dreaming and longing for romance and travel and making room for it in my future. Calling it what it is:  Important and Set Apart- Nurishment for my soul and relationships.

Indulging – in that second cup of coffee, that day of shopping, too much tv, simply sitting- with zero guilt. Instead honouring as sacred space and shared time- with God, others and myself.

Smelling the coffee grinds before pouring in the water. 

Saying sorry. Forgiving old hurts. Re-inviting people to my table and my heart.

Allowing others to think different. Believe different. Trust different. And leaving it as OK. Welcoming them, even, as teachers-  not throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Listening to Body and giving her what she needs: water, food, rest, sleep, massage, movement, connection and release. All of it Holy and Good.

Allowing pleasure to ignite me and give my days meaning.

“I am living what I’ve secretly longed for….” I told my hair dresser. “The things I’ve dreamed about, saw in movies and envied in others simple, yet spacious choices.

The things I reserved for vacation and weekends only- I’m living them in my everyday. And my family is being remade by it. I’m coming alive,  more beautiful and radiant than before.”

She smiled knowingly.

“It sounds like you’ve befriended your soul again. You’re re-embracing what makes you feminine.”

Yes, I thought.

I am restoring, reawakening, redeeming what has been mine from the beginning – my sacred and feminine wholeness

I’m living my freedom to enjoy.

I’m delighting in my senses.

I’m letting pleasure lead me home.

You don’t have to fling yourself around the planet searching for those things outside yourself. You only have to go back into the stillness to locate it. The treasure you’ve been searching for so long was there all the time. – Shauna Niequest | Present Over Perfect

I’m reclaiming my innocence, my curiosity and my faith without borders.

I’m reconnecting with my soul: my love for movement and art, music and dance- the language of my body’s self expression.

I’m resurrecting self love, self acceptance, self reverence: my sensuality, my sexuality and feminine power.

And’m finding them in the silence- the stillness within. I need only to return – to myself; to breath with Love – the love that befriends and consumes and transforms.

Through this simple and sacred practice, I’m receiving every Good thing I’m longing for:

  • Kindness- for myself, then others.
  • Energy to live my life, heal my physical body and do the things my soul loves and dreams of.
  • Joy that becomes my life song.
  • Embodying my Feminine Wholeness.
  • A Return to Love- my very innocence.

I know it’s better here, here in the place of love.

I will rejoice not over monumental accomplishments, but rather microscopic improvements that are closing the gap between who I am today and the woman I want to become- my Truest Self.

Like showing up and starting over- again.

Waking early to give my soul space.

Signing up for the thing that scares me.

The well is within us. If we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth. – Rich That Hanh

This is my bridge, my pilgrimage to new awareness of Love- of God’s profound and wild and wondrous presence.

It is here that I will blossom and transform; once again become a soft and sacred place to land.

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Just be with me | A 4 week digital detox

My word for 2017 is Abide.

It has been for the last two years, but with different intention- a focus on different aspects of the word.

In the first half of 2016, it was learning to be, rather than to doa human being, not a human doing.

Then it was learning to be with Christ. To stay in his presence, to linger longer there in prayer, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I learnt to sit with my emotions, give them to Jesus and be transformed through the act of surrendered trust.

The latter half of 2016, was a call to remainto stay in the tension or the struggle, without running away or trying to fix it.

This has been my practice until recently- until May, when God declared that “It is finished.”… Referring to my three year season of struggle, marked by pain and perseverance. It was a second birth- a journey of healing to wholeness, which I affectionately refers to as,  my “dark night of the soul,” thanks to When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd.

Now, I feel a new season approaching- a new story beginning to unfold, still embodied by my word: Abide.

These words are rising from my soul,  an anthem and meditation:

Remain: in peace
Stay: in the moment
Be with: your people

So, in a brave act of obedience, of listening to my  hearts desires, I will honour my longing and the call of Christ within me. I will abide.

Practically, that looks like fasting social media throughout my 4 week sabbatical from work.

My companion on this pilgrimage is “The Digital Detox Guide” by Morgan Day Cecil. (Currently on sale!). I just love the way she describes the process of unplugging- of detoxing from our digital world:

Love begins and ends in the act of paying attention. We give so much love to our mobile devices and our screens. What if we shared some of that energy with other things in our life? What would happen if for one month we set the intention to pay a little less attention to the exciting things happening online, and a little more attention to the wonderful, quieter things happening in our heart and in the hearts of those we love? – Morgan Day Cecil | The Digital Detox Guide

This isn’t my first rodeo.

I’ve been intentionally fasting social media for years: on weekends and vacations, for instance and setting boundaries around the number of times and hours of day, I use it.

It’s been a mark of discipline- something I believe God honours and is imperative to the Christian walk.

But this time feels different, like an invitation to a new way of life- of living with higher perspective.

And I want it. I’m ready.

In the same way, Simplicity Parenting gave me the freedom to enjoy motherhood again, and Rhythms of Rest have given me my health and joy back,  I sense new freedom on the horizon- from numbing distraction and the anxiety that embodies hyper-connectivity.

My prayer is this:

Lord, teach me to abide: to remain in peace, regardless of circumstance or emotion or volume. To stay in the present moment- my moment- each one a gift of grace from you. Help me unwrap it with wonder and curiosity. To be with my people, loving them and letting them love me in return.

I receive all of what you have for me, in advance and I surrender to the transformational work of The Holy Spirit in me. Use all of it for my good and your glory. Remember me- this brave act of obedience in a distracted world- and bless it. I ask boldly, in the name of Jesus, my saviour, lover and friend.

Making Peace with Who I’m Made to Be | The Enneagram + Living like an Introvert

Eight months ago, I learnt I was an introvert. The discovery blew my mind, because all my life, I had lived like an extrovert.

Outgoing, bubbly and a performer by nature- large crowds don’t scare me and I’m perfectly comfortable being the centre of attention.

I love being with people! How could I possibly be an introvert then?

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Succinctly, Jess Connolly smashed that notion with her definition of the defining difference between the two:

Extroverts get energy and are filled up by being with people. It’s how they recharge.

Whereas, introverts find people and crowds draining. Some may very well love being with people, but they ultimately need solitude, rest and quiet to refuel- and to process.

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BINGO! That was me…

And yet, all these years (29 to be exact) I had been living, working and loving from the well-source of an extrovert.

You see, every three months (and increasingly sooner in difficult seasons of life) I found myself depleted, drained and exhausted. I wanted to quit life and run away… every three months!!! I battled depression because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t fill back up.

I was empty ALL. THE. TIME.

I battled the shame of being weak and lazy and not good enough – of letting the people I love most down.

I realized in that moment- in discovering I was an introvert -something needed to change.

If I was to find my joy again and the energy I needed to love and serve my people well, I needed to start honouring my body, mind and soul’s need for solitude, rest and quiet.

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God had already started teaching me about peace in solitude, so I was excited to take this next steps.

Slowly and surely, I implemented the following:

  • Creating space in my days, as well as my weeks, for rest, reflection and alone time
  • Prioritizing things that fill me up, like reading, writing, getting outside and doing yoga
  • Working from a place of rest, rather than resting from work  (as my husband put it, “Make rest your priority Kailey, not work.”)
  • Concentrating on one project or work focus at a time, giving it all my energies before moving on to the next
  • Creating an evening routine of solitude and rest, so I woke feeling full, rejuvenated and inspired
  • Pouring into a few people I’m called to, rather than many and everyone
  • Being honest with myself and others about my limitations (saying no to even good things, when I didn’t have the energy or knew I needed to fill up)
  • Leaving blank days on the calendar with nothing scheduled, so I could take them at my leisure

I could write about these in elaborate detail, because quite honestly, it took time and intentionality to figure out how to do this!

It was trial and error in discovering the practice steps and ways of living and loving like an introvert.

Needless to say, I started to breath again. I felt peace return and I could hear my heart sing. It was working!

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Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon the Enneagram, during one of Christa Black Giffords Webinars. Why did I need to take another personality test? I balked. But with her endorsement, I checked it out.

Thirty minutes into taking the Enneagram test, I was in tears- like someone had opened my heart’s journal and read every entry.

Staring back at me were my longings, felt needs and idiosyncrasies; my fears and insecurity. Like they were normal and very much ok. I was seen and accepted by this infamous number 4 that so accurately embodied my deeply emotional soul.

All my life I’ve felt different, (in both a good and bad way) battling the notion that I am wrong or bad- shame my biggest enemy. And here I was, learning that this was normal for a 4 and that in fact, it was not only my greatest weakness, but also my greatest strength, if I harnessed it.

For weeks, I listened to The Road Back to You, a podcast devoted to looking at life through the eyes of the Enneagram from a Christian perspective. Never had I laughed and cried so hard in forty minutes.

In the same way I felt after discovering I was an introvert, I felt seen, heard, validated, and understood in shared experiences with other 4’s!

Don’t you know these are the basic needs of a four and how they feel most loved?!?!

And my wrestle with shame? The infamous demon in the closet for 4’s!

My goodness…. revelation after revelation. 

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I’ll admit, I am very much still learning and discovering the Enneagram. I am far and wide a newbie at it, but what I love most, is the intricacy and depth of it’s reach.

Not only does it outline my basic nature, but also character development at different levels of maturity and how I function under stress or shame or exhaustion- what the Enneagram calls, your shadow side.

It’s informative, challenging and encouraging. Honouring the person God created me to be, while simultaneously calling me UP, rather than OUT.

With the help of The Enneagram, I’m coming to a deeper understanding of my God given strengths and weakness; honouring them, rather than fighting them. I’m learning to acknowledge the shame that so easily ensnares me, rather than will it away. And I’m discovering how a lifestyle of rest and mothering myself, will help me flourish and come alive in ways I’ve only yet tasted.

My capacity for life these days is SO MUCH SMALLER than I ever dared imagine! But if I want to live in health and joy and rest, it’s necessary and good.

And when I love from that place- from the place of my truest self- I discover the connection, belonging and meaning I aspire to leave as my legacy!

The Enneagram and living like an introvert: my  road back to health; to the wholeness and freedom that’s mine in becoming my truest self- the person God created me to be.

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Get started on your journey:

Introvert Living

Discover the peace and pleasure in solitude and rest- mothering yourself to wholeness of health and mind and joy.

 

The Enneagram

Learn your Enneagram Number and start discovering the way you’re wired. Find freedom in who God created you to be in your truest self.