How did you celebrate leap day? Did you let something go? Did you leap? Did you decide to take up something you have put off for too long? Did you jump? Did you reach?
When it’s a leap year you leap because leap years are for leaping. That’s my personal opinion on the matter or at least my mantra at the moment. This year I am jumping off metaphorical cliffs into deep waters, taking long hikes through mythical forests, and leaning in close to the beautiful things. “Beautiful” being the real deal here.
When you begin the process of taking back your joy, of treading lightly or not so lightly into the darkness and shining your light all around to find the pieces of yourself that have been lost, stolen, clipped, forgotten, banned, or hidden away… when you start that journey of finding your treasure and authenticity you never know where you are going to end up.
At the end of all my adventures thus far, I have ended up here in this not so little blue house in the city, starting a business, still spinning words without apologizing, and finishing the things I started, growing these five babies, beginning to put our own touches on this house – a process that was put on hold for a year when my health swirled unexpectedly, and loving, living, & celebrating life with this man.
I get this not so little space in the city to make beautiful. I get these five littles plus a hubby to celebrate. I get to open up my imagination and creativity and uncover what I want in this world around us. I am not missing this. I get to remove what doesn’t fit, what stresses me/us out, and takes up too much space.
I get to take up what spurs on my creative spirit (and in turn my children’s imaginations – when you create your children take up the anthem too), inspires laughter, and focuses our hearts on delighting in the life we have been given together.
When it is a leap year you celebrate
You celebrate all year long the places that bring life and you release all the places that do not bring life. Often that releasing includes people. That’s OK. I am here to tell you that releasing is healthy, good and OK. And completely normal.
This is an adaptation of a quote I saw floating around somewhere. And I couldn’t find the definitive source…
There is something to be said for finding people and places where you are celebrated, and not merely tolerated.
I remember when I first started walking the path – after friendships shifted and community became something different then what I had thought. I can remember taking up the camera and the pen and uncovering everything I could find.
I remember when we began to grow a backbone together in our marriage.
I think that time period must have been very frightening for people who had been given so many opportunities over many, many years to do whatever they wanted towards us without a second thought to what the long term consequences might be, to speak into our marriage and lives as individuals, as a couple, and as parents and then the words spoken out in the world about us… those things they believed to be true.
There was a need for our compliance or our cooperation, words meant to put us in our place, and shaming – the hardest to swallow was the shaming. We took that often without protesting or speaking up in our truth. Just taking it and not speaking up are often a symptom of a marriage made up of two first-borns.
Neither of us knew how to use our “NO” yet. And I can remember beginning to say it out loud – NO this isn’t going to work for us. And I remember it never being heard. There was simply more shaming.
Someone’s willingness to hear (and respect) your “NO” or their inability to understand (and respect) your truth – is NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Nope. Not in your control therefore NOT your responsibility. I’ve learned that the hard way.
Someone’s ability or inability to hear you and to understand is not about you that is about them.
Someone’s willingness to hear you and to genuinely understand? That is not your responsibility.
Your job is to stay true to your authentic self. Your job? To be truly you… anyways.
When we began to release the places that had been so harmful to our hearts and our life together. We started to understand more clearly what we were willing to live with and who that could include – what was healthy for us as a couple and family and what is simply not. We established priorities, values, boundaries, and guidelines to our life together (all within our rights as a couple, as individuals) – and some of the old places no longer fit.
At one point you might be threatened with consequences for your choices, but maybe you have already been living the ugly consequences. Maybe the best consequence you will find is what your life will look like after you let go of the people who threatened you in the first place.
Good consequences can come from letting people & places go.
You get your life back. You get your story on your own terms. You get your future without toxic commentary. You are allowed to own your truth because no one is standing there calling you a liar anymore. Your truth has value – their words and stories about you are no longer the only ones. You do not have to live with poison.
No matter how hard you try sometimes you have to let people and places go. That can be so hard because you will feel like perhaps you failed, maybe you could have done more or loved better, maybe you should have spoken up more (but back again to helping people listen – they are either able or unable and you can’t help them. Listening is a choice. Hearing someone’s truth is a choice. Understanding is a choice.), but when you own it, when you step back and stand in your truth you recognize that there are some things you can not fix, change, or make different or better.
All you are responsible for is you.
Can I also add that sometimes when you let people go – it is really, really good. Life on the other side of all that violence is beautiful.
When People are Unable (that’s a real thing)
It is not always about having hope and being willing… it is facing the fact that some folks are simply unable to do life differently with you. When you change – some people refuse to keep up or they are unable to be different. That’s OK. That isn’t your fault. It simply is and the sooner you face that they are unable – the sooner you can take up healthy, and whole, kind and loving and move on.
Believe me – I wasted too much time thinking that if I said or wrote just the right thing or showed up with my perfectly dressed and cooperative children in just the right way perhaps things could be different. NOT TRUE. A waste of time – people have to be ABLE first. If they aren’t able to hear you then no amount of speaking, writing, or sharing your truth that is going to matter.
If they are unable it won’t matter HOW you show up. Sometimes the healthiest choice you can make it to just stay home.
It can be very hard to let go of voices that you had for perhaps too long allowed to have too much say. It can be bittersweet: a relief to your spirit that has been hurting and struggling for so long and also a deep sigh of sorrow that you couldn’t through your own actions or words help anything to change. That even with all your hope and best intentions, even with all those prayers and wishful thinking, even when you repeatedly give them the benefit of the doubt – they are simply unable.
I think our life together has gone through some major detox trying to sift the healthy, whole voices from the spiritually, emotionally suffocating noise.
“When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t.” – Steve Maraboli
As the weather warms and I raise on up out of the tailspin of an autoimmune disease flair – it is exciting to face forward.
Forward is good. Forward is healthy.