Dear Cabin Diaries,
I was raised by a single mother who taught me to be spiritual and appreciate nature and signs. I believed in the universe and a deity that loved me. I followed the moon and stars and the zodiac.
But a few years ago I got into a relationship and lost it. He was a wonderful man, but didn't put any weight into that stuff. He felt it was hokey and silly. He thought I was being impractical and ridiculous. At first, I fought him on it, but after so many arguments that I couldn't win, I found myself agreeing with him. There was no support or proof for anything I believed in, so why did I believe it? I felt dumb and embarrassed.
We aren't together anymore but I still haven't been able to feel the joy and peace of magic and spirituality. I miss it so much, it makes me cry. I try to read the books that used to inspire me, but I just end up feeling self-conscious and awkward.
Do you think there is any way to get it back?
Kindest regards and love,
Dear Spiritual Seeker,
It’s funny how much relationships can affect us, isn’t it? How even our very beliefs can come into question, and how sometimes we can give them up. I remember once many years ago having a shirt from my mother that I loved. It was a beautiful blouse from the 70s, and my boyfriend at the time didn’t like it. I got rid of it, even though I knew that I loved it. I thought that I should give that attachment up for some reason, because it wasn't validated by my partner. I was so wrong, and hardly a day goes by where I don't regret that! A blouse is much less significant than your beliefs, but the story line is similar.
But here’s the best part: There is a way to get it back. And in fact, that’s why giving up your beliefs can sometimes end up better than giving up your mama’s 1970s lace blouse. Because the blouse is gone for good. Your beliefs? They’re just hibernating inside of you.
This is the key—there’s no going back. You can’t go backwards, especially with beliefs. Beliefs are constantly changing and growing (or at least they should be, in my opinion). Questioning beliefs is always good, and even giving some of them up sometimes can be good.
You say, “I try to read the books that used to inspire me, but I just end up feeling self-conscious and awkward.”
This means it is time for new books. New inspiration. If you are a believer and you were raised by a badass, believer mama, then don’t you worry. It’s in there. But it won’t be in the old books. One thing that has always baffled me is how certain books can blow our minds and hearts open and inspire us spiritually so profoundly… and then we keep them on our shelves forever because of that feeling… but as time goes on, the book doesn’t do that for us again. It’s a one-time kinda deal in many cases. This is—in fact—part of the magic. That perfect book at the perfect time that unlocks your heart in the perfect way.
So where can you find new inspiration? I see that you come here, to the Bohemian Collective for inspiration (thank you). Where else? It is time to seek it out and to surround yourself with people and events and resources that inspire you in the ways you want to be inspired. Are there any talks or lectures near you that touch on things you might want to learn more about? Can you go to your local bookstore and peruse the spirituality/metaphysical section? Ask a worker to recommend one … see what ends up with you this time, at this point in your life. (See the end of this letter for my recommendations.)
Your spirituality belongs to you and only you. No one can take it away from you. And you know what? Non-believers (like your ex-boyfriend) have been challenging believers since the beginning of time. It will continue to happen. But that’s okay. Next time a “logic” person challenges you, feel free to quote Albert Einstein, one of our nation’s most beloved scientists. He said,
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
And he also said,
“I believe in intuitions and inspirations...I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.”
Entitlement to our inner knowing is totally radical. So many people will, time and again, try to take it away from us. It scares people. Many people envy it. There are also many partnerships and marriages where people have totally different belief systems that coexists. I always like to see those relationships and admire what they’re doing. Keep your eye out for those people, and learn from them.
The magic of faith lies in many places. You can go hear a church choir sing. You can go into nature and wait, and listen. You can write, and you can pray. You can learn prayers already written, or you can devise your own. You can pay attention to synchronicities, and allow them to activate those secret senses that you quieted down during that relationship. I truly believe that when you ask for it to come back, and if you pay attention, it will.
Oh! And one last thing: begin making peace with yourself around believing in things for which there are no proof. You are not the only one.
p.s. I have a few recommendations of my own that come to mind! The first is a book called Love Your Lady Landscape by Lisa Lister. It just came out and it is filled with information and tools about reconnecting with our divine feminine source of intuition, which is a HUGE part of spirituality. I have a feeling this book will inspire you. The author is a sassy British woman who weaves humor into all of it as well. Second, if you have not yet read Marie Kondo's book about clearing out your space, I encourage you to read that as well. It's very brief, and I think it will provide some much needed cleansing and examining in terms of letting go of old and bringing in the new, as well as connecting with your core being.
Dear Cabin Diaries,
After a long year of soul searching in sobriety, I took a machete to the weedy and emotionally tangled “friendships" and social connections I had. I willingly and very happily pressed pause on many of my female relationships. If it felt forced, I pressed pause. If it felt one-sided, I pressed pause. If I felt they never listened, I pressed pause. If I felt it was toxic or negative, I pushed stop. If they made me feel hard to love, I pushed EJECT! Am I selfish? Am I incapable of long-lasting relationships? I think not.
Not a single woman I know can have 100 friends and equally give herself to each. Even 25 friends is challenging! I asked myself, “What's wrong with sharing simplicity? What’s wrong with curating a beautiful collection of 1-5 friendships? Why does having more friends mean more fun, more happiness?” Friendship isn't something we can just pin into our lives. The perception we curate on social media about popularity and being loved or having oodles of true companions and contentedness in our lives can be a masterful deception.
Sadie—shine your light. Share with us your wisdom on choosing powerful female relationships. I would L-O-V-E to read your words on positive, powerful connection. How do you feel we should weed out the musts and shoulds and have-tos in friend relationships? We owe it to ourselves to pull out of our old friend foundation and plant anew! Don't you think?
Less is More
Dear Less is More,
What a wonderful letter, and such an important issue. Indeed, the alarming grip of social media is not only relentless, but it spreads many misconceptions, as you mention. In order to be healthy users of social media, we must remember that it is always false—that every person projects their avatar state, and so that’s what we see. The term “curated” is in wide use these days, and with good reason. Thanks to Instagram, we can actually curate our lives. Remarkable!
The best defense against this is self-imposed reality checks. Sometimes a break from social media is in order (delete the apps for a few days—it’s a game changer); but we also must consciously remind ourselves that what people post is not how they truly feel or how their lives really are. No one posts on social media the same way they’d post in their journal. It’s always for display. And remember, for every perfect flatlay, there’s usually a big ugly mess surrounding it outside the frame. I’m sure you know this. Still, it’s my duty to remind you.
I, too, have been long baffled by the bazillion-best-friends myth. I’m not sure if someone really can have 100 best friends. You can have 100 people with whom you bond over a central theme or goal, but the relationships aren’t the same as having a true bestie with whom you share your heart, your underwear, the last bite of chocolate, and your secrets. In my own life, I’ve always been a quality-over-quantity kind of girl. I’ve always had a couple BFFs, and they mean the world to me. I have other friends, sure, but my BFFs are different. And there aren’t many of them. They are more valuable than gold.
In your letter, you ask, “What’s wrong with curating a beautiful collection of 1-5 friendships? Why does having more friends mean more fun, more happiness?”
To this I say: Nothing is wrong with it! But I will ask you to ask yourself—who is making you feel like this is wrong? Where are your beliefs coming from? This might be something worth looking into. There is nothing quite so good as a personal belief evaluation. Every time I do one, it’s deeply uncomfortable and then liberating. (I’m probably overdue as well).
And of course, if you are finding yourself surrounded by “friends” who make you feel guilty or bad about yourself… then it certainly is time for some serious weeding. You don’t need that sort of thing—no one does. Saying no or goodbye to certain friendships is a tough and important part of a healthy life. (Another project that I help with is called the Fierce Grace Collective. We recently designed a free mini course that’s available to anyone. Part of it is a “Weeding the Garden” workbook that might be beneficial to you in this process...you may need to replace "things" with "people" in the prompts, but I'll leave that up to you).
You also ask: How do you feel we should weed out the musts and shoulds and have-tos in friend relationships? This question, I know, sits in the hearts of many women and humans. The simple answer is: boundaries. Say NO more often. Both of these sound simple, but they aren’t easy to implement, especially when you first start learning.
In light of that, I encourage you to read this article at Annapurna Living, which discusses leaving or ending friendships and addresses those feelings of “musts and shoulds”. It may prove useful to you. “Sometimes, as things move and shift, friendships that once seemed anchoring and powerful will become the inverse of these things. They will become draining, unsafe, negative, uncomfortable. They might leave us tired after we spend time in them or leave us with a vague feeling of discomfort. Certain friendships can suddenly not be right for us anymore, and this phenomenon requires graceful navigation, the likes of which can only come with self-love, trust, and compassion.”
Second, this article by one of my creative heroes, Anna Lovind, totally nails it with the call to simplicity and how spiritual it can be. It’s not just in our friendships (although that’s a big part of it). “I’ve learned to say no. I say no to so much these days, you wouldn’t believe it. Over the last three and a half years, since we decided to leave the city and have our second baby, I’ve said no to speaking gigs, leading workshops, giving sessions, coaching writers, big beautiful book projects; I’ve said no to exciting travels, to parties, to weddings, to hanging out; I’ve said no to buying new clothes, to renovating the kitchen, to shiny magazines, to television, to social media. Honestly, sometimes it amazes me that there’s anything left. But there is. There’s plenty.” In my own experience, Saying No is often what puts us in line with our best selves, rather than Saying Yes.
Bottom line is that your time is precious. You are precious. A friend is someone you love and who loves you back. Love is an action. You can see it in how someone treats you, what they say to you, the effort they make. And vice versa. Above all, we must each always be the type of friend that we would want to have. Each of us as human beings must act in love in the truest sense. It is only in this way that we can truly experience friendship. Give and you shall receive.
S.E. Hinton, author of the famed novel The Outsiders wrote, “If you have two friends in your lifetime, you're lucky. If you have one good friend, you're more than lucky.”
I wholeheartedly agree.
Dear Cabin Diaries,
I think often of moving to another city to start my life over. I want a job in a different field, and I admit: sometimes I want a new, less grumpy/more outgoing boyfriend. I am also just excited about the possibility of new natural scenery. I would miss my friends dearly, but I would visit them often and I believe I would make new ones. Is this selfish thinking? Impulsive maybe? Is the grass always greener somewhere? I've been in this town for over 13 years and have a great job, but it's not my forever job, and I'm beginning to feel trapped in my relationship, and well, here, in this town.
Thanks for your advice!
I hear you. I know these feelings. While there is not an easy answer, I’ll tell you what I know, and—as always—link you to some people who know more than I do.
In my own life, I’ve had the feeling you describe again and again. The thought of moving somewhere new and starting fresh appeal to us humans, I think, on a very deep level. Our love for “story” runs deep. We are raised on stories, be it through television, books, movies, tales from relatives, etc. The desire to write our own story, for many of us, is very strong. And of course, while we are writing our story daily, the desire to rewrite our story when we end up somewhere boring is even stronger ... because boredom and unhappiness seem like opportunity for change. For something better. For—yep, you said it—the greener grass on that elusive other side.
Here’s what I know: as adults, making new friends is not easy. It’s possible, and we do it all the time, but the only thing that equals time? Well—it’s time. If you have friends who you’ve loved for years and years, you won’t have friends that good again until some decent years pass in a new place. You’ll make friends, of course. But that late-night-wine-sesh, shoulder-to-cry-on, clothes-sharing, boy-talking crew you might have? It might take a while to replace that. In fact, it might never happen. I’m speaking from experience. 6 years ago, I moved away from my best friend in the whole world. And I still miss her every single day. There are many different types of friendships. The deep-comfort ones are incredibly valuable and are immeasurably precious and rare.
I had a boss once who warned me about this “condition” of which we are speaking. She had a word for it that I wish I could remember. “The thing is,” she said, “is that even if you move to a new town, you’re still the same person, so all the same problems come with you. It’s an expensive solution that doesn’t really work.”
I’d also like to say, however, that wanting to enjoy your life doesn’t make you selfish. Not at all. If you don’t ensure that your life is enjoyable, no one else will. That’s the cold hard truth. Even the most loving boyfriend could never do it. We have to do that ourselves. You have to do it yourself.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get to the heart of the matter: you don’t like your job, and you kind of don’t like your boyfriend. (I spoke to another reader about job stuff in this letter. Did you read it? If not, please do). She, too, said the exact same thing: this is not my forever job. Because I’ve already addressed this issue, I won’t get into it too much here. The bottom line is that the rest of your life starts today. Forever is now, as weird as that seems.
I’m guessing your job and your boyfriend take up most of your time. Meaning they take up most of your life. Meaning you aren’t fully ensuring that your life is enjoyable.
I don’t have too much information here, but I will say that compatibility is a thing. In relationships, we have to first say what we want. In a perfect situation (so rare), our partner will then say “yes! I can give you that,” or “I’m sorry, I’m not capable of giving you that.” What happens more often, though, is that it’s hard for us to say what we want, and it’s hard for partners to know if they can give it to us. And if they can’t, that’s a really hard thing to admit. It sounds like you need to begin this quest with your man, but first you need to begin it with yourself. What do you want? In a relationship? In a job? In a town? Write it down in your journal. If you don’t have a journal, this would be a good time to start one. Take your time, and sleep on it all a few times. Once you have your list, look around. Do you already have some of these things? A lot of them? None of them? The list will help clarify things for you.
For extra support, I recommend picking up the book Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, or tuning into her podcast with Steve Almond—Dear Sugar. They run the gamut of relationship questions in there, and they both have some good thoughts on it. Hearing other people’s stories will help you.
Again, I encourage you to examine your life where you are, first and foremost. Address what’s knocking at your door right now before you pack up and move. Listen to the whispers, and don’t silence them. The whispers will tell you where to start and where you need to go. It sounds like you might need to dig in and do some dirty work in your relationship and your chosen work life. Changing or leaving one or both of these will be tremendously hard, no matter how you slice it. And if you need to change one of these enormous things, you will likely be much better off in a town where you are surrounded by your friends of 13 years.
Once you are on track with creating the life you want, the geography will fall into place. The whispers will get you where you need to be. It will require great courage, but like Anna Lovind writes in this article, “Fear is not a roadblock. It’s a roadsign, showing you where your current borders are. It’s an invitation. A point of entry.”
Write down what you want. And then once you write it down, you have to tell it to the world. And to people who love you. And that can be really scary, and it can change things.
All the love,
I am a 16 year old girl and sexually active, and have had sex with a couple of guys. But recently I’ve been feeling really down and bad about myself for not controlling myself more. I feel like I’m losing respect for myself and so are others. I just want to know how to maintain my self respect and confidence and how to control my body more. I almost want to recreate myself, have a fresh start.
Learning to Love
Dear Learning to Love,
Good for you for writing this letter, and I applaud you for your vision of knowing that you want to be both confident and self-respecting. This is not always an easy task, not ever, and especially not when you are 16. But it does get easier over time, especially if you start now.
In your letter you say, “I feel like I’m losing respect for myself and so are others.” I hear two things here: first, that you feel bad about some decisions you made, and second, that someone else is making you feel bad about decisions you’ve made. I encourage you to examine your relationship with whoever is “losing respect” for you. Women and girls are often shamed over their sexuality and sexual choices in our society, and it is an exhausting race to the finish line where the imagined “respect” award awaits. It is important to surround yourself with friends who understand your process and can be supportive of you while not judging or shaming you. Brené Brown talks about this extensively in her work. (If you have not yet discovered her, go explore her now! Here is a list of quotes that I encourage you to read through, and also, this clip will be beneficial to watch. Please watch it. I was very glad when I did.)
Brené’s work will help you cope with the world of shame, which unfortunately is a big part of the world of female sexuality. When women become sexually active, they begin navigating not only the world of safe sex and good choices, but also the world of oppressive shame that surrounds them. Please know that you are not alone, and that many, many other girls your age are in the exact same boat. As you continue to grow, you will learn to form allies in this area. Something that changed my life very much when I was 18 was that I met another girl who could relate to and empathize with my own sexual path. She and I both found tremendous relief (and safety) in each other because we could share our stories and understand them without judgement. It was freeing and exhilarating to us both, and very essential as teenagers. To this day, she remains one of my very best friends.
Now, moving on. You also say, “I just want to know how to maintain my self respect and confidence and how to control my body more.” And what I hear in this is that by controlling your body more (and being 100% in control of your choices), you feel like you will be able to maintain your self respect and confidence. Perhaps by sleeping with multiple partners, you’ve ended up feeling badly about yourself. (Remember: you are not alone in this feeling.)
The answer to this is simple, but it is not easy: You must learn to Say No.
Saying No to sex does not start, actually, with the sex itself. It starts much earlier than that. And this is the important part. You must decide for yourself and commit to yourself. If you are going to hang out with a boy, you decide before you even leave your house. Say it out loud to yourself: I am not going to have sex tonight. And then, be ready for the steps that this will involve. Saying No and avoiding sex is a series of actions, not just saying a few words. Based on my own experiences and what I’ve learned in the past two decades, here are some tips to make this all easier.
Don’t take your clothes off. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will “Say No” after you are completely naked with a naked, horny young man next to you. The pressure is too great for you both. It is much easier to Say No in the beginning, when your clothes are still on. It’s simpler. “I don’t want to take off my shirt.” “I don’t want to take off my pants.” And so on. The rest is implied. If you don’t want to have sex, do not take your pants off under any circumstances. This alone will completely change your interactions. And again, you commit to yourself. You will likely be pressured to take off your clothes. Even your own body and desires will want you to do it. So you have to be totally committed and own your choices. No one else will do it for you.
Create a “guideline” for how many dates you want to go on before you sleep with someone. Be old fashioned about it. 3 dates, 5 dates, 10 dates. And what is a date? Maybe have a guideline where you won’t sleep with anyone who hasn’t bought you dinner and/or flowers. Maybe you want to make sure these guys give you something before you sleep with them. What exactly is it that makes you feel respected around sex? Aside from these material things, there are other factors that make women feel valued: does he listen to you? Does has ask you questions? Is he interested in what you love to do and how you feel about things? Likewise, you can ask yourself things about him: do you like how he treats people? How does he act around his friends? Do you share any common ground with him? And so on. In valuing ourselves, we must also surround ourselves with people we value. Write any rules and desires you come up within your journal so you can remember and read over them when you need a reminder.
The decision to be sexually intimate with another person is a decision to be extremely vulnerable with them. Supporting yourself in your vulnerability will give you more clarity and power in the decisions you make. If you have a girlfriend who you can trust, and who doesn’t shame you for your sexual choices (even for your bad choices), use her as a resource. Tell her where your weaknesses are and ask for advice and help. If you don’t have a friend like this, I encourage you to consider finding a safe adult to talk to about these things. You will have to be discerning, as many people, adults and peers alike, will probably be slightly shameful (again, society has encouraged this). But keep looking for that person who is not. They are out there. A great option is to go to Planned Parenthood and talk to one of the staff members there. They will provide excellent support for your physical and emotional health, as well as offer you additional resources. Saying No is a long, hard process of education, self-esteem building, and confidence. You can begin to gather all of these things from your community, and away from the bedroom.
Finally, in your letter, you also say that “I almost want to recreate myself, have a fresh start.” I cannot tell you how much I know this feeling. I understand it so well. Let me tell you what: you are not your bad decisions. You are not who you sleep with. You are not how many people you sleep with, or have slept with. You are none of these things. You are you and your sweet heart. Your fresh start is offered to you each morning you wake up. We all get an opportunity to begin again each day. I used to have a boyfriend who would always say to me “don’t be sorry, just don’t do it,” when I’d apologize for doing something lame. That really struck me the first time he said it. Because essentially he was saying that what was in the past really didn’t matter. Only what I chose to do next. And there’s a lot of freedom and forgiveness in that.
I hope that in this letter i have provided at least some small glimmer of something that helps you. This topic is very close to my heart. I was also a sexually active teenager who struggled with major guilt over some of my choices. I was shamed by lots of people, but mostly by young men and boys who drew power from shaming women. You will encounter these kinds of men over and over again. Kick them to the curb as soon as you can. Eventually you will start to recognize and choose men who don’t do this. However, you must guard yourself. This is one of the hardest tasks given to girls your age. The only person who can protect your inner self, your sexuality, and your heart, is you. There are no knights and princes anymore, and even if there were, I’m still not sure they could protect us. You are on your own, and that’s a big burden to bear. But you are valuable.
Another thing to remember is that you are the gift. You choose who you give yourself to. It is not a compliment when someone wants to have sex with you. I wish someone had told me that when I was younger. Now that you are sexually active, you will spend a lot of time and energy learning how to maneuver attention and pressure from men. Let them flatter you, but don’t put too much meaning on it. You are the pot of gold and the rainbow. By learning to Say No, you lose nothing and gain everything.
To wrap this all up: Learn to Say No by supporting yourself with loving peers or adults, being honest with yourself, and staying committed to your agreements that you’ve made with yourself. Saying No also has a snowball effect. The more you do it, the easier it gets. So once you get through that first time, the road will just get easier.
Learning to Say No will make you feel much more empowered about the times you decide to Say Yes.
Dear Cabin Diaries,
I'm stuck in a funk. I've been working in my career field for going on 6 years now, and my current job in this field offers me amazing benefits that I couldn't get anywhere else. The problem? It's a very negative and stressful environment, both from the people and from the nature of the job. I've considered leaving this career field for a while now, but I've stuck around my job because the benefits give me time to spend with my family that most corporate jobs don't, and the pay is fairly competitive too, so I can set aside for the future (both financially and mentally). I know that this isn't my "forever job", but the more time goes on the more it seems like my "almost forever job". What can I do to shake this feeling and remind myself that it's only temporary, and that I'm saving up for something better later on down the line?
Dreaming of Something Different
Dear Dreaming of Something Different,
Thank you for writing in. I applaud you on voicing your truth, and a fear that many people will face at some point in their life: this isn't what I want, but it's what I have. It can be utterly terrifying to really look at that sometimes, a certain dissatisfaction with where we've ended up.
What stands out most to me in this letter is that you say it is a very negative and stressful environment. To balance out the negativity, however, you have great benefits and a decent salary, meaning that you can be safe and also have "savings" for an unseen future. You also get time with your family, which is, of course, priceless. But is the balance feeling balanced?
You also ask, what can I do to shake this feeling and remind myself that it's only temporary, and that I'm saving up for something better later on down the line?
This is where things get tough, Dreaming of Something Different. Is it only temporary? How long did you anticipate being in a temporary job before you got your "forever" job? Do you want a forever job? Is the line of work in line with your heart and with your happiness? Do the benefits give you enough time with your family, or are you still missing them and lacking a sense of peace at home?
Although in life it sometimes seems like we don't have many choices, we often have more choices than we perceive. It sounds to me like you could benefit from some exercises with a pen and some paper. I recommend creating some quiet time for yourself and writing down a few things so that you can sort out your thoughts. This will take longer than a day. If you can, buy a special journal just for writing about this—about your job, your future, your happiness. When you look at that future of yours, what do you see? What are you saving that money for? Security? A house? A trip? Etc. Write it down.
More important than writing down your future vision is writing down a few things about the present moment and where you are at in your life right now. How do you want to feel in your life? Each day, I mean. What is the primary feeling you want to embody and emit to the world? How does your work contribute to your current state of being?
When it all comes down to it, all you have is the present moment. If you are unhappy in a not-forever-but-maybe-forever job and you think that the future holds something better, it's time to shake things up a bit and look at the cold hard facts: the future is actually now. Any changes to your future start today. The future doesn't happen without you taking firm hold of the present. No one says this better than Queen Oprah herself (the important part of the video starts around 40 seconds). Bottom line is, you are responsible for your own life.
In order to shake your feeling of stagnation, my dear, I think it's time to start making some changes. Start working toward that shimmering future that you hold so dear. You can start small, very small. But each day, do something to start changing your life. Spice up that rèsumè, have a friend proof read it, send it to a few places. Start journaling daily. Set some goals, really clear ones, about what you want, why you're saving, and where you want to be in 6 more years. Time happens, no matter what you decide to do, so you might as well get in the flow along with it. All of these small practices will start getting your energy moving, and then who knows what will unfold after that.
Last thing: be good to yourself. Allow yourself to feel good. You deserve it. Treat yourself kindly, and ask that others do the same. The more that you can begin to have boundaries around negativity, the more clear your own path to positivity will become.
Dear Cabin Diaries,
First off I'm very thankful for the cabin diaries and that you are here to inspire, motivate, educate, empower, and guide women.
Now that we are in a new year (yay!), I have decided my resolution is to love myself more, have a beautiful wedding, start a family and further my career. I will be experiencing some exciting but scary changes this year. First off, this summer my fiance and I will be having our roommates move out so we can renovate our home and make it our sanctuary. We have never lived with just the two of us, we've always had roommates. We will be getting married this Fall, and while I'm excited about all of this, I'm also a bit scared. All I want is for us to have a home we can call ours and have our love be stronger then ever.
My question is how can I fully embrace these changes? I'm ready for this next chapter in my life but I'm also feeling nervous.
New Year Woman
Dear New Year Woman,
Thank you for the kind words. And congratulations on all the exciting changes in your life and for your upcoming wedding. You must be excited indeed. There is so much powerful ritual in creating a sanctuary with someone we love. The process is full of cooperation, visioning, collaboration, and building. It is a wonderful way to build a tiny piece of a collective future with someone you love. I think going through this process with your sweetheart will make you feel more rooted in the larger changes that are yet to come.
You ask me how you can fully embrace these changes. This is a tough one. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to embrace changes, even when they are the changes we so desperately want. The best advice I can give you here is this: Do not think about the outcome, dwell only on what surrounds you right now.
Change is a process. It is a period of time, a slow unfolding and revealing. If we spend too much time focusing on the "final outcome" (which is a myth anyway') of certain changes, we effectively remove ourselves from experiencing the change fully and digesting it.
A lot of this comes down to faith and trust and letting go. A lot of your nervousness, I'm guessing, is coming from anticipation about the future and how it will all play out. Will you like living together and without roommates? How will the wedding be? When will you start a family? And so on.
But for now, none of that matters. You must take it one day at a time, making sure that each day you live in love and that you act in love and compassion. I found this quote that feels appropriate:
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” (C. JoyBell C.)
So you see, New Year Woman, the time has come not to land anywhere in particular, but simply to unfold your wings. Fearing change is natural. As long as you don't let it deter you, it can be good. Embrace the fear as part of the process. Don't feel bad about it, and don't push it away. Just acknowledge it, and continue building your sanctuary. One step at a time, and the answers will all reveal themselves.
Best of luck as the winds of change blow in. I hope you enjoy the ride.