It finally feels like summer! For many folks summer is all about longer days, BBQs, fun-filled festivals, music concerts, swimming pools, beaches, long boarding, camping, water parks....the smell of fresh cut grass on a hot summer day, bike rides, lemonade, and popsicles.....to me summer feels like the ultimate freedom. Summertime is playtime and playtime feels so profoundly freeing! My inner child comes out to play a lot during the summer!
I also love the freedom that I am afforded by being an American. The 4th of July has always held a special place in my heart. I have very fond memories of lighting sparklers with my siblings and our friends as we ate hot dogs and celebrated the freedom in our country. I think our literal freedom is so easy to take for granted especially in this day and age.
With that being said, it seems like people take all kinds of freedoms for granted these days. Many people get caught up in worrying about what others (especially their loved ones) think so much so that they end up not being true to themselves. Or, they tip toe around the real issues, acting disingenuous or completely fake. Or they escape into some sort of mental or physical "abyss" (addiction, etc) to avoid living life the way they want; authentically.
This blog post is being written by Candice and her husband Chris.
Candice: As I have shared in previous posts, Chris and I are in a life transition. This indeed has brought up an array of emotions, from feeling sad and grieving the loss of my mother (again) while cleaning out our closets to feeling excited and hopeful for the new, fresh experiences that are to come. We are currently living in a very small basement apartment while our new (and smaller) home is being built somewhere along the western edge of the rocky mountains. And for some reason (it's hard to explain), we both love it!
Chris: I am really excited for this new adventure! Living in our cottage house, as we have decided to call it, has actually been a lot of fun. Sure, we step over each other, the dogs are next to our side 24 hours a day, and we can hear the neighbor's son up at all hours of the night playing his VR video game. But Candice is right, there is something about having the simplicity of this small space and this time in our lives that feels like a reprieve.
Happy New Year! We made it through 2018 and for many people (including me) that was not not an easy under-taking. If you take a moment to reflect on the past year and what you had been holding onto, what do you notice? For me, I was holding onto A LOT of baggage. LITERALLY. My husband and I sold our home deciding to simplify, downsize and find a way to live in such a way that sparks joy for us individually and as a couple. As a dear friend told us during our move, "We realize we love the life we have when we don't have to go anywhere to feel like we are on vacation."WOW. Did that stick with me or what?! During our packing process, I had three people (indeed a magic number) ask me if I had read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
Many people don't know this but 2018 has been an incredibly hard year for me personally. I am learning that sometimes growth and expansion show up this way-the polarity of opposites perhaps? Maybe you recognize the term, "With pain comes growth"?
In my process of going through some parallel experiences similar to what I witness each and every day in my career, I quietly, slowly, unintentionally though absent-mindedly had moved away from my SELF. Specifically, I had moved away from taking care of me.
It is actually quite fascinating how growth and expansion shows up in our world. Historically, when I have felt out of control in one area of my life I typically would focus on what I could control. This brought me a sense of ease and inner peace. However, this year I learned that I had to let go of external control and go inward. Go deeper. There was no amount of control that would help me heal this wound.
In any relationship, especially when things are challenging, we are often asked to listen to our heart or listen to our head. But what about listening to your gut?
For instance, have you ever had a "gut feeling" about a person or situation that, when it came true, you were glad you had felt it prior? How about waking up with a sensation in your gut (such as anxiety in your stomach via "butterflies") then having something that you felt come true?
These are examples described by researchers in the field of medicine who are now referring to our gut as our "second brain." New research is showing that the "brain in your gut" is revolutionizing the way we think about our moods, digestive system, and overall health. Research is also finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes such as depression, anxiety, and irritability. Along with this, there is discussion that the second brain is impacting our cognition including memory and thinking (John Hopkins Medicine, hopkinsmedicine.org, 2018)!