"The modern woman is a blur of activity. She is pressured to be all things to all people. The old knowing is long overdue." ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D
I wanted to share with you something that has caused a profound shift in my life and it may resonate with you as well. Especially if you are someone who is feeling overwhelmed, rushed, disconnected or just a little lost.
This season I am in a deep study of feminine wisdom, "The old knowing," as the author of Women Who Run with Wolves calls it. I'm preparing for the Sophia Retreat in Italy and one of the things She (yes, She, wisdom in many cultures and religious traditions, including Christianity, is a Her) is teaching me is the importance of returning, abiding and soaking in the things that feed our soul.
We are a people who are hooked on the what's next. Wisdom, though, isn't in favor of rushing.
When we move on too quickly we hurt our heart. So Sophia give us this imperative:
DO NOT MOVE ON TOO QUICKLY
And she asks us to reflect:
What is the last really good book you read? What was the last quote you scribbled in your journal because it caused you to remember the truth of who you are?
Did you let it change your life or did you consume it like chocolate?
What is the last song or sunset that had you dancing or weeping?
Did you give it time to do it's healing work in you, or did you forget all about it as soon as it was over?
What were the contents of your most recent Aha moment?
Did you take action and make a change or did you come down from that mountain top experience exactly the same?
Who were you with and what were you doing the last time you wished you had the power to pause time and stay awhile?
Did you tell him/her how much sharing that moment meant to you?
These are the moments and the gifts that could reliably nourish us if only we sat a little while longer and allowed ourself to be fed.
Delight is a breadcrumb leading us home, but we are a culture that rushes passed most of the clues.
That's why Wisdom pleas with us:
DO NOT MOVE ON TOO QUICKLY
Because She knows what we are up against: a culture that trains us to consume, instead of reflect, to rush-on instead of know deep.
I'm not just talking about our relationship with food and stuff; I'm talking about our relationship with insight and with one another.
I realized in my own life how easy it was for me consume books and podcasts, date nights and magical moments with my family and still feel hungry for more.
I had gotten in the habit of dashing across the surface of my happiness, worrying about how long it would last or where I would source it from next, forgetting the ancient feminine wisdom of diving deep into delight.
And here is the problem: when we stay on the surface of our sustenance, no joy ever seems like enough.
We stop tasting the richness of the pumpkin spice latte before our cup is even empty.
We dream of the next vacation while on vacation.
We beg for more sex or conversation because we think the more will fill us, but what we need for connection is not quantity, but depth.
Return to Delight to Fight Feeling Lost & Overwhelmed
So how do we remedy these bad habits?
We learn how to abide-long instead of rush-on.
We give up quantity for quality.
We resist distractions and commit to going deep.
We savor, we relish, we indulge, we luxuriate, we take comfort in, we radically appreciate, and we faithfully enjoy the things that are turning us on and healing our soul.
(Autumn is a great time for this intimate and soulful training).
What I Am Doing
I'm heeding Sophia's call. When beauty, inspiration, insight or intimate connection are given to me, I resist the urge to move on too quickly. I stay and I return. Here is what this looks like in everyday life:
- When I finish a book that is speaking to my soul, I resist the urge for a new book to consume and instead I go back to the beginning of the old book and mine it for more gold.
- When I hear a song I love that makes me weep or dance on the furniture, I add it to a playlist that I return to it for another listen every morning.
- When I am lost or low mid-day I do not search for a new soul-remedy. Instead I return to the truths I've already recorded in my journal, and I get realigned.
- Though there are countless meditations and yoga flows I could do each day, I am faithfully returning to one tantra kriya, allowing it time to work in my body and mind in ways a different meditation each day could not.
- Moments with my husband, I am holding his gaze longer and I am staying freshly engaged in all that he is saying, instead of moving on in my mind to what I would like to say next.
- We are returning to the photo album often. Instead of longing for the next vacation, we are spending time recalling with our kids all the sweet memories of our European sabbatical last Spring.
These small shifts are adding so much richness, gratitude and depth to my life.
Instead of feeling lost, I am feeling at home.
Instead of feeling rushed and overwhelmed I am feeling clear and grounded.
Instead of feeling alone and disconnected, I am feeling intimate with all of life.
Instead of feeling lack, I feel grateful.
This is the gift Sophia gives. Slowing down and abiding here we are taught deep truths about love and trust, pleasure and healing, wholeness and intimacy.
So, dear Saints, my romantic and adventurous invitation to you this month is to linger a little longer in love. Dare to stay the whole Fall season with the words, the songs, the people, the ideas, the memories, the movements, the photographs, the moon beams, the pumpkin spiced lattes that nourish your soul.
Your Turn to Take Action
Here's how you can do this:
Step 1: Go back to the book, song, dream, meal, podcast, newsletter, or insight that spoke to your soul and see what else it may want to show you or tell you about yourself, and the important questions you are asking about your life right now.
Step 2: Take lots of notes. Explore what's lighting you up. Ask your heart Why do I love this so much right now? What do you need me to know about who I am and who I am becoming?
Step 3: Come share in the R&A Community of Saints on Facebook. Tell us what Sophia is asking you to spend more time savoring this season.
The deeper connection, greater intimacy and sense of purpose and joy we all long for is close.
The truth is you have enough light and love in the archives of your heart to sustain you for a long time. You do not need to consume more. Unpack what you too hastily stored away. Recall and remember. Let these things of light and love do what they came to do. Before you move on, dear Saint, let them nourish you deeply.
Grace & Peace & Romantic & Adventurous Wisdom,
p.s. If you are on social media and noticed our absence on Instagram you may be wondering where we went! We're still here....Just taking a lovely break to honor the quieter whispers of our heart. Learn more about social media sabbaths, digital detox, and the #justbeherewithme project here.
p.p.s Don't Forget! The next time you witness something, feel something, think something, share something, see something, hear something, taste something that wakes you up and lights up your world, stay a little longer with it. Fight the the itch for what's next. Stay here and abide. Remember Sophia's Plea: Do not move on too quickly. Come share in the R&A Community of Saints on Facebook. Tell us what Sophia is asking you to spend more time savoring this season.