It’s raining this evening.
I have multiple places that I could be, that I should be, but I chose to go home and sit with my thoughts and a cup of warm tea. It’s something that I learned from Lesotho – when Mother Nature sings with a storm, and your heart feels it, then it is time to be still and let it thrash about you.
I need to stop. I need to crawl into my bed with something steaming and watch the scented candle flicker. I need to listen to the chorus of rain drops and thunder. I need to just be alone.
The last few months have been crazy busy. I spent a week in South Dakota and Oklahoma, both for work, then two wedding weekends in Minneapolis and another two weeks in New Zealand for the vacation of a lifetime. The few days I had in Chicago were spent socializing and moving from one dinner to the next. I came home some nights so exhausted that I couldn’t put pajamas on.
One night last week I woke up in a foul mood. I hadn’t slept well the night before and my mind was buzzing with all of the things I would need to do. Our office was having a staff retreat, and while it’s usually nice to see all of my coworkers and think big together, it takes us away from our day-to-day work and to-do lists and email boxes overwhelm me. My nights were just as busy with activities and outings scheduled each evening. On top of that, I had just started an online spiritual class, was in the midst of my second week of marathon training, and trying to find a place to live so as not to be homeless by the end of the month. All I wanted was a few hours to just be me and I didn’t think it would come for awhile.
That night I met some friends at a bar to watch the Blackhawks game. I had just looked at an apartment – for which I will sign the lease this week – and felt mentally exhausted. I had wanted to go home, but something told me to go so I did. Although I work with these friends, it felt like I hadn’t seen them in ages. We talked about the goal setting we did at work that day and what we truly want from our lives. We cheered when the Hawks scored and moaned when Tampa Bay did. Soon, other friends joined us and we had a full table. When the evening ended, we all walked into the street and scattered into different directions. It was slightly drizzling and the street lights danced throughout the quiet road. A wave of emotion came over me as I thought about how broken and lonely I had been just a year ago, when I first moved to the city. I thought about the amazing work I get to do with incredible people and the wonderful individuals who support me each day. I thought about this city, which at one time felt as unfamiliar as a foreign land but is now engraved into me like home. I thought about the dreams brewing beneath my skin and how they felt attainable. This was a feeling that I had recognized from other times in my life – a run on the campus of South Dakota State my junior year of high school, a month or so after I moved back to South Dakota from Idaho, countless times when I would stare out into the river valley while fetching water. I knew that at that moment I had all I needed and was right where I was meant to be.
It’s probably not a surprise to anyone reading this that I don’t often trust myself. Little decisions like whether or not to purchase a new dress or what movie to see plague me. Just today I was worked up about whether I should go out with friends to watch the Hawks game or go to meditation. I am so convinced that each little decision I make is representative of who I am and I am terrified I won’t chose wisely.
Sometimes I forget that I have chosen wisely before and that I am not always trying to sabotage myself. There have been times, such as the Peace Corps and running an ultra marathon, where I was the only who believed that I could achieve my goal, and that my belief in myself was enough to get back up after the knock downs. Leading up to that moment on the street, I felt like I was running so quickly and frantically into a direction that I wasn’t sure I was meant to go, but the stillness of the moment reassured me. How lucky I was to be with such great people and to have developed such a flourishing life in an amazing city, I was thankful and within that gratitude I saw the trust that led me there.
Tonight, I needed that again. I needed to take a slight step back to see the things I can’t up close. I needed my own soothing voice reminding me that all I need is all I have and that I do know what direction to soar into. What’s beautiful, though, is the recognition of this need. It’s natural to not trust yourself and be uncertain and the growth comes from when you can see the hesitation and lean into it.
You need the storm to come so you can listen, take it in, and trust that it will pass.