When Little or No Progress is Perfectly (More Than) OK

Friends, I’ve imported all posts from my wine blog, Graperiot, into Exhale Gratitude because I will be shutting down my other site. Feel free to check them out by selecting Wine from the drop-down menu!

It’s impossible to strive for greatness every single day. Life, jobs, and relationships all demand different parts of us. I know that I can put an immense amount of pressure on myself. To write more. To be the perfect girlfriend. To be the best sister and daughter. To find a fulfilling career. To make an impact in my community. To create something of value in this lifetime. To settle down one day and start a family. I feel the stress of all of that each and every day. I have yearned to find a balance and have found that semi-achievable through yoga, writing and reminding myself to not miss present moments by stressing over future anxieties.

I recently returned from visiting my nephew and sister in Georgia. The week leading up to my trip was crazy busy. Work, social engagements, and plans to maintain my sanity filled up my schedule. I had no time to pack for my trip and wound up doing it the night before I left, after working a 14 hour day between jobs. Finding time just to breathe seemed almost out of the question.

The weekend before I left, I was cleaning my apartment and internally reprimanding myself for not doing MORE writing. Not having MORE time. Not having MORE money to achieve financial freedom. More, more, more. Finally, I stopped to take a moment and look around the adorable space I call home. It wasn’t incredibly spacious but it was cozy. It wasn’t filled with the fanciest of things but it was filled with memories. Of friends, relationships, and a chance to start over. Yes, I didn’t have it all figured out but I could see that tiny changes had happened over time, igniting a movement within me to seek out what sets my heart on fire.  I didn’t quite understand how it all fit together but, somehow, I knew that it did.

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“Let her sleep for when she wakes, she will move mountains.”                 -Napoleon Bonaparte

I read Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst while traveling to Georgia. She is one of my favorite authors and I love her insight. One of the most uplifting takeaways from the book for me was, “A soul who believes she can’t leave….doesn’t.” When we give in to self-defeating labels or unrealistic expectations, we become prisoner to them. Ultimately, progress achieved in times of stress or uncertainty will not allow us to reach our full potential. It’s important to create time for you so your best self will do creating. Fueling failures and negative self-talk arises in those moments where we don’t take time to reset. Slowing down doesn’t mean stopping forward motion by any means.

So, I didn’t accomplish anything astounding that week but I did have small victories. Conquering my battles with technology (which excited me more than I’d like to say) and enjoying coming home to a sparkling, clean apartment, just to name a few. I didn’t write the next best-selling novel or put myself out there in the writing world as much as I would like. However, I know that when I do accomplish those things, it will be because it’s in the right time and because I am in the best position possible to achieve those tasks.

 In the moments of stillness, I am able to gain the greatest clarity. When I took this time to heal, this year to find the woman I had lost, I really had no idea where it would lead me.  As it became more apparent that what I desired most was to create while also having a positive impact in my community, I realized that I had been doing just that all along. I didn’t need to rush around. I didn’t need to long for more. I didn’t need to push myself to the brink of exhaustion. What I needed was to slow down and remind myself that healing doesn’t happen overnight, in a few weeks, or even in a few months. This was a time for discovery, but also a time for renewal. Right where I was at was exactly where I should have been. I know, doing dishes, laundry, or taking time to unwind might not make you feel like you’re accomplishing something worthwhile. But, in the small, everyday tasks, we can hit the reset button in order to eventually set ourselves up for greatness. 

 

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