By now you may have gathered that I’m super pregnant (2.5 weeks to go!!), and that obviously brings a lot of changes. I’m always hot, I’ve gotten stuck on the couch, and I’ve been waddling for, like, a month.
All of this led to a funny little epiphany about change yesterday as I walked slowly up the stairs to work, and I wanted to share it with you.
I had to stop and take a little break walking up the stairs…and let people pass me. Now, this might sound like no big deal, but I have to confess, I’ve had my competitive (stubborn?) moments. And I do NOT take breaks like that.
But here I am at 37 weeks pregnant, and I just had to stop. Obviously, this is totally normal, but it got me thinking of all the other changes that happen in our lives and how many other times I could have been more open to the change.
I thought to myself as I caught my breath and said good morning to the people passing me by, it’s okay to be affected by change. It’s okay to be moved.
I can’t count how many times I needed to ease into the change, and maybe even take a little break…but didn’t.
Have you ever felt that pressure to keep on going without missing a beat?
You could be sick, the kids could have been up all night, you might have spent 15 minutes wiping up milk from the floor before leaving for work, and you feel this pressure to act as if nothing’s happened.
And the planning. Oh, the planning.
It can feel like you need to know all the details to feel sure that it will all be okay.
This summer will be a big period of transition in our house. My work schedule changed (and I have NO IDEA if it will work once there’s a newborn at home), obviously, the baby, and my daughter will be starting kindergarten in August. So much is good, but that doesn’t always stop the worrying about what could go wrong.
Through it all, I’ve pressured myself to figure every last detail out and keep on going as if nothing’s changed, but not only is that unrealistic, it’s not even honest. Because the truth is, everything will change and there’s no way to know what it’s all going to look like in the end.
Life (and motherhood) are full of uncertainties like this (so you’d think navigating them with ease would come more naturally by now).
You’re always in some kind of transition. Through the ups and downs, firsts and lasts, everything’s always changing, and you have no idea what it’s all going to look like when you get “there.”
In between wondering how everyone’s growing so fast, you’re desperately holding on to naptimes a little longer and wondering what this is all going to look like when you add homework or sleepovers to the routine.
And that’s where my epiphany comes in. This is not the time to be hard on yourself (and when is it ever?). It’s not the time to be hard, period.
Let me explain. My typical way of approaching change is to be hard like concrete, unyielding and fighting to stay exactly as I am and keep things exactly the way I planned them, but it’s really the time to be soft like sand. Or maybe a big, fluffy pillow.
Being soft is how we ease into these new and ever scary things. It’s how we keep it all together during the transitions and make it out okay on the other side.
I think we confuse being soft with being weak or timid, but as I see it right now, soft like sand is the strongest way I could be.
When you fall into sand, all the grains of sand move out of your way to make space for you. Sand wraps around you and cushions your fall. It’s like a big shock absorber.
And that’s why things stay (mostly) intact when they fall into sand.
Think about falling onto concrete. It’s no fun and bangs you up pretty good.
So when you’re facing a change or stressing about the uncertainty of it all, remember these three words: soft like sand.
Let it be fluid. Let it change. Let things shift. And maybe most importantly, let yourself be moved. Give yourself permission to feel the change and respond to it – even if that means letting go of a few plans or taking a little break.
This is also how you make room for the good stuff, by the way.
You can’t very well squeeze a little “me time” into a permanently packed and unchangeable schedule, and your heart can’t expand to love every new member of your family if you’re stuck in place like concrete.
During the changes that life throws at you, allow there to be a transition time.
Build it in if you must. Block out a few days on the calendar and write in “SAND DAYS” in big letters across them.
Then, let it be soft.
Bring ease to those days by being more mindful of the kinds of expectations and pressures you’re adding to the situation.
Clip things back to the essentials and allow yourself the time to rest so that you can be alert, present, and calm through all the awkward bumps along the way.
When you most want to hold on tight to something concrete, at least hold on tight to the things that are actually most important. Choose one, maybe two, maaaybe three things to try to keep up with. And give yourself permission to do the rest of the things the easy way.
On those days, remember this: strong, resolute, steadfast, even persistent are very different from inflexible. Even concrete needs to be fluid when it’s poured into place.
So, soft like sand is my goal for the next few months. That’s what’s written in bold in my planner. That’s what I’ll remind myself when my plans inevitably change and I just need to take a break.
It feels better and stronger already.
Where can you be soft like sand in your life?
Looking for a little more ease in life? Grab the Ease Inventory from the Free Library and give yourself a simple, 4-week challenge to bring in more ease. Get it in the Worksheets section today.