I welcome the morning with open arms lately. That is not generally the case for me through most seasons of life, but so far in June, the morning comes as a relief from the night. A relief from the long lasting cough that doesn’t let me sleep anyway. And a relief front the demands of this crazy beautiful family, for even just half an hour by myself to collect my thoughts for the day. After a month of inspiration and growth this time to process is invaluable.
I spent May working on me. I’ve been meaning to put together a blog about some of the things I did but it was a body/mind/spirit attempt to renew and rejuvenate. A diet to strengthen my body, a closet purging and style renewing project to clear my mind and see myself in a new way, and a photography class taught by the great Michelle Gardella to steep myself and my creative soul in some much needed inspiration. At the beginning of May, as I warned several friends how my schedule was being overtaken and I might be a bit out of touch, I thought I must be crazy for attempting so much at once. In the end, it ended up being just the fresh start I needed.
Fresh starts I’m realizing don’t solve all our problems. They don’t wipe away the things and pain that have come before. I put too much stock in the fresh start of this space and business, and of our scheduling and culture of our family post surgery and a year of baby. Really none of my expectations were met fully and I have been wondering, after all we’ve been through, where is my fresh start? But then I realized two things:
1. Fresh starts and new beginnings don’t remove us from our past and they don’t = immediate success. My personal May projects taught me this. I must honestly evaluate what I have to work with and who I am in light of all that has come before. Pick up those pieces and move forward with as much direction as I can muster and a lot of grit and determination. I didn’t throw out my whole closet, still full of mostly newlywed and pre-baby clothes. But I looked at it, honestly evaluated and kept the things that have meant something to me by providing years of comfort and confidence. I replaced a few items and gave away 80% of what I owned. In my diet, I didn’t go from zero to let’s be super skinny in a day, but finally found a balanced approach that let me enjoy my food and loose some baby weight, helping me gain confidence. And as for my photography class, well that is a whole other post.
My point is that each of these things existed in light of all that came before. The fresh start came by finally honestly acknowledging the woman I am today. Not who I have been, not who I feel I should be, but who I really am, and letting these other things finally be a true reflection of that person. The fresh start wasn’t in the end what I always expected: a hard stop, a purge of everything that was, and a…fresh start. It was in the end, a simple acknowledgment of who I am now, as honestly as I can possibly muster, and then a slow step forward in this woman’s shoes.
2. If you really want a fresh start, the best thing to do is get up in the morning before the day has really begun to start todays journey by yourself.
Now, I doubt this phase for me will last long to be honest. But while it lasts, I will embrace the energy to be up before 6am to just embrace myself before the rest of my people, before my phone, and before the expectation I put on myself truly settle in. As a part of my photography class we spent a week doing the first 5 minute project as a family. It was a revelation and gift. The images it produced are some of my favorite that I’ve taken in a very long time. Here I’ve shared just 4, most taken by Henry. This project along with some quiet by myself has truly made each day feel like a fresh start.
Below are a few of the prayers, songs and words that I’ve turned back to to inspire my fresh mornings. I hope they encourage you too:
A Basic Yoga Flow. (Try it outside where the birds are singing, if you can manage.)
A Hymn: Give me Jesus
“O Word Made Flesh, stand guard at the gate of my mouth. Be my voice this day that the words I speak will be healing, affirming, true, and gentle. Give me wisdom to think before I speak. Bless the words in me that are waiting to be spoken. Life and abide in my words so that others will feel safe in my presence. Surprise me with words that have come from you. Oh, place my words in the kiln of your heart that they may be enduring and strong, tempered and seasoned with love and resilience. May my words become love in the lives of others.” The Awakening Hour, The 7 Sacred Pauses by Macrina Wiederkehr
A Quote: “Life is grace. Sleep is forgiveness. Darkness wipes the slate clean, not spotless to be sure, but clean enough for another day’s chalking.” Frederick Buechner