“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled.” – Ray Bradbury
“Relaxed” is a word that has wormed its way into my heart this year.
I don’t typically describe myself as Relaxed. I want a full life. I want to be a dizzying ball of light who generates beautiful writing to share. I work best in bursts of fiery passion that keep me thumping with possibility. Everything excites me.
But I recently read an article that described Lagunitas Brewing Company as “fun, creative, unorthodox, relaxed, and proudly independent.” Maybe it was the fact that I love Lagunitas, or maybe it was a bigger divine nudge tugging at my heart, but when I saw those adjectives strung together on the page, something inside of me heaved a sigh of relief. I wondered what it would be like to live a life that aligned with these words, what my days might look like if I tried to embody these qualities. Relaxed was never part of my plan, but seeing the word on the page made me wonder if it’s possible to feel my own version of Relaxed.
I want to give myself a break and let Life lead for a little while. I want to remember that I am engaged in a rolling partnership with the force that holds planets together. The moments when I have let go of the outcome have been the turning points in my life where everything falls together, and I want more of those moments.
I want to feel nonchalant when I see a crooked eyelash. (Yesterday, I pulled out almost all of the eyelashes on my right eye because they were crooked. Most of them were only crooked because I had messed with them so much. Consciously, coldly, I pulled the eyelashes out one by one. Usually this doesn’t hurt me, but this time my follicles were throbbing. I kept going.)
Relaxed doesn’t need to involve lounging in pajamas and napping in hammocks. My Relaxed is brave, and it means facing life full-on without letting our internal chatter drown out the truth of who we are.
On New Years Day, I spent my evening at a blessing circle. The whole experience was a rich adventure that I wanted to write about – from my lonely bootprints in the Chicago snowscape, to the snowflakes freezing to my purple scarf, to the moment when I cowered in the corner of a strange church basement and came face-to-face with my fear of dancing.
I felt the words write themselves in my heart, and when the night was over I rushed back to my apartment to get the story down on paper. I wanted to share it on my blog and broadcast its message to the world, but the more I wrote, the more I realized I wasn’t going to be able to fit what I wanted to say into the 800-ish words that captivate a reader’s attention online.
To cut back on the length of the piece, I tried to breeze over the warm and sacred details. My writing became disjointed, and the meaning was watered-down. I felt like an amateur camper knocking two stones together in the forest – hoping to make fire, but ending up with nothing but frustration and broken flecks of rock.
I could tell my writing was coming from my logical mind, not my heart, which is why it wasn’t working. Because I was so attached to sharing my story immediately, I considered publishing the piece anyways. The dry one. The one that needed work.
Then I remembered that I want to feel Relaxed.
Would Relaxed prematurely publish something just because she wanted to be done with it? Would she shun the deeper discoveries that the longer story could unveil because a few facebook likes would momentarily boost her self-esteem?
Relaxed wouldn’t mind whether she published a blog post this week. She would be more interested in letting the words compost until they were ready, and in the meantime she might work on journaling or cleaning out that box under her bed or finding the holiness in the life in front of her.
I shelved that story I was writing about New Years Day. It will come out of me when it’s ready. I wrote this instead, my fingers flying on the keyboard with raw honesty instead of sunken-hearted frustration.
Letting ourselves blossom and unfold in our own time is an act of self-respect. When we let go of the need to micromanage every moment of our lives, miracles unfold. We allow. We flow. Opportunities careen their way towards us when lightheartedness reigns.
What does your unique version of Relaxed feel like? How can you let go a little more this week and open up to the unexpected? What would it look like to allow your good to unfold in whatever way it chooses?
Love and Eyelashes and Snowy Bootprints,