In many of my conversations lately, the topic of doing something big has come up.
Creating big waves, reaching big audiences, having big travels to do big work.
For a long time, I thought this was what I wanted, too. So, I gave myself goals. I made plans. I structured my life.
A few weeks ago, with an impending birthday on the horizon, I felt like I had to do something to commemorate this time. I had to have some goal in the weeks leading up to it: an increased meditation practice, painting daily, and, of course as it always does, the idea to lose weight came up with a quick veto from my husband. (Thank goodness for him.)
Every idea I had felt like a trap. Like I was putting a cage around myself. What if I didn’t feel like meditating on a particular day? What if I didn’t feel like painting? What is the purpose in forcing myself to do something if my entire being is pushing against it?
So instead of making a goal, I made none.
And I’ve been doing things that have really surprised me.
Lifting weights, for one. I’m not sure where this motivation came from, and I have no idea why I’m doing it. I don’t care to get stronger, I don’t care to look more muscular, I don’t care to track my lifts and progress.
It just feels good. So I stopped thinking about it and just started doing it.
I’ve also stopped wearing makeup. Not really intentionally. One day I just didn’t feel like putting it on. That day turned into a week, and though I’m sure I’m not quitting makeup forever, right now it feels good.
And it’s changing me, even though I really didn’t mean it to.
Like today, in between sets, I looked at myself in the mirror. I saw my tiny belly – not a six pack abs, not particularly flat – just sitting gently on top of my hips. I thought it looked adorable. Who thinks their belly looks adorable? In it I could see that second glass of wine I had last night, the peanut butter cereal I ate in the morning, and the happy roundness of someone who wasn’t paralyzed at the dinner table.
That belly looked like freedom.
And my face showed a gentle pinkness with the exertion of the weights. Something I probably wouldn’t have seen with the foundation I wear to cover my acne scars, and to hide my acne that shows my hormones are not quite balanced. I could see the blemishes, but I also saw bright eyes. I saw skin that was breathing, that had air. In my skin, I saw freedom.
Right now, freedom is more important to me than anything else. If someone likes what I do, great. If someone wants to come to my classes, fantastic. If someone wants to buy my art, I’ll happily let them.
But I don’t want to grow it, right now. I want to breathe. I want to sit. I want to be still, and enjoy my second glass of wine, and do things without thinking. I want to find flow, I want to be in that space where time stops and you just are, in the throes of creation and the ecstasy of movement and the stillness of breath.
I want freedom. And that’s exactly what I’m getting.