On Looking Back

new year

I wrote a whole spoonful this week about looking back before looking forward.

[I'd love to have you on those weekly encouraging emails by the way. Click here to join the tribe.]

I wrote how I haven't quite felt ready to dive into making goals and intentions for this year and how I think that's okay. I think it's okay to recognize that while winter is a beautiful season for drawing inward and reflection, it's a harder time to crank out some big dreams.

Though, if I am being quite honest, due to some comparing my story to others, I was beginning to wonder if it was in fact okay. I wondered if maybe my lack of intention setting was due to laziness or poor time management rather than simply not feeling ready.

I read this post and it all became clear.

Her words resonated so much because it seems 2015 still needed some recognition, it wasn't ready to be tossed. So, I've decided to use January to do just that - to look back. Even though, looking back seems uneasy and foreign. It seems a little counter-culture.

So much of our time is spent envisioning how we want to live better, the things we want to try and do, who we want to reach out to for a cup of coffee.

And we can still do that, but I think it's really hard to decide on a path to walk on when you aren't quite sure where you've been or how you're really doing.

The hubs and I do a "temperature check" once in a while. A way to see how our relationship is going and a safe place to ask, "Am I loving you well?"

So that's what this month will be for me friends. And then after that, I'm just not sure. But I'd love to walk in this together. I'd really like to encourage each other as we look back and talk through the best and hardest parts of 2015.

I'd love to make this a place to dream together.

If you're feeling a little out of sorts or behind this year - I feel you friend. I am right there too. It's sort of why I haven't written in this little space in a while. I've thought of you & words but I just couldn't get myself here. I needed to give myself permission to slow down, be still, and curl up with a good book.

[By the way, currently I am reading For the Love, by Jen Hatmaker & Make it Happen, by Lara Casey. Jen's book is a gem - you'll literally laugh out loud. And Lara's has already hit my heart in chapter one. She encourages us all to chase present over perfect and abandon all those "shoulds" in our life. I have a sneaky feeling most all of us can relate to that.]

If you aren't sure where to start this year, maybe start here with these questions. The hubs and I talked through a few of these together before company came over. And then again on a hike. It's really good to do these with someone you love - a friend, sibling or spouse.

One of our favorite questions was, What were some of the unexpected joys of 2015?  I love the idea of taking a few moments to celebrate all you've done & experienced this year. Because chances are, once you write it all down or say it out loud, what might seem like a little, adds up to a lot.

I'll go first, okay?

// Unexpected joys of 2015 //

Phew. It's been a good year y'all. And I don't say that to pat myself on the back, I say that because there were moments through all the good that felt really hard and I wondered what the heck I was doing - if anything at all. Have you felt like that before?

I urge you to jot down a few of your unexpected joys from 2015, share them below - I'd love to hear them. Or if you'd feel more comfortable - send me an email (maeve.gerboth@gmail.com).

I'd love to read what made 2015 a year to remember.

We're here to cheer each other on loves. We're here to do this life thing together.

Thank goodness for that.

xoxo

Boxes

FullSizeRender (2) A few months ago, I wrote this post.

It was all about direction and discipline, about taking small steps to achieve big goals.  And I'm glad, so glad, I did this.  I'm grateful I took the necessary and so often overlooked time to sit down, set aside to do lists and should lists and have a conversation with myself.

Because sometimes, we just need to sit down with ourselves and ask some good, honest questions.   

"What I am doing right now that is life-giving?  What makes me come alive?"

"What hurts?"

"How am I feeling?  Like really.  Not how I want folks to think I'm feeling.  How am I doing in the thick of it?

When I asked myself questions like these, the steps to take just sort of fell out of my head.  So I wrote them down, I laid my heart out, I gave it my stamp of approval and said, "Alright, enough talk Maeve, go do it.  Go be it."

But don't hold on too tight.

You see, looking back, those steps sort of boxed me in.  And I hate boxes y'all. Not like pretty ones with bows.  I'm talking about the ones we put ourselves and other people in. The ones where we think we have folks all figured out and don't give them a chance to be anything more.

Oh, you work a 9-5?  You must be pretty boring.

Oh, you write and post about happy things all the time?  You must have it all together. Your life must be pretty darn perfect.

You only eat organic?  You must be one of those crunchy, granola types.

We make folks one dimensional.  When really we're layered and multi-faceted, we're emotional and creative.

We work a 9-5 and paint at night.

We fight for the goodness in the dark.

We eat kale and french fries.

So I took these steps to heart, I weaved them into my day.  And looking back, three months later, I can say - I didn't fully accomplish them.  And the funny thing is, I think a few years ago, maybe even a few months ago,  I would have been upset by that.  I would have been so hard on my tender heart.

There you go Maeve, starting something you didn't finish. AGAIN. 

But I don't think goals of the heart ever really have a firm start and end date.  We don't simply arrive.  We evolve and change and mess up and grow - every minute of every day.

Every second we get a choice.  A choice to start fresh, to say we're sorry, to look shame and guilt in the eye and say, "You're not welcome here."

When we let go of being so strict, we make room for growth and purpose and intention.

I made room for actually reading my bible more.  Sure, I wasn't always on track and would run over my two week deadline, but sometimes, you can't fit a book into just two weeks. Sometimes, you need time to praise God AND to wrestle with Him.

To go from, "Why would you ever let that happen Lord?" to "Okay, I see it now, I see your goodness."

You can't put a deadline on that y'all.

Did Matthew and I stick to our date night each week?  No, not always.

But more often than not, I remember the times we needed to be there for people, we needed to reach out and welcome them into our home.  We needed to respond to the needs of our tribe.  We needed to finally invite our neighbors over for a meal.

As for exercise, as for wanting to sweat each day.  That didn't really happen either.

BUT in between the gym time and walks I found a new appreciation and love for yoga.  I found myself not being so scared to go to a class because I struggle to touch my toes.  I found myself saying yes to a lot more poses - even the ones that hurt.

And I listened to myself when I needed sleep, instead of waking up early to sweat.  I listened when all I really wanted and needed was to cook and write.

Don't get me wrong folks, motivation and direction and goals are good.  I believe that with all my heart.

Although, when we forget to listen to our mind, body and spirit - because we're so busy achieving and performing and doing - I think it hurts us.  I think it does more harm than good.

And maybe that's you too?  Maybe you needed to hear: unclench your fists and give in to what you need in this moment, right here and now.

Is it rest?  Do you need more rest?

Is it a home-cooked meal?  Make yourself something really tasty.  And, if you don't know how, find a friend who cooks really well and ask them to teach you.  [It'll bring them joy - trust me]

Itching to be creative?  Get out the paintbrush, the canvas, the camera, the music book, the journal, the thank you cards.  Whatever it is - just do it.  And trust that even on the days you might not feel creative, you are.

No more excuses.

No more - I'll get to that thing I really want to do tomorrow.

No more boxes.