Change is a part of life. And, with change, we must often go through a period of personal transformation, self-reflection, and growth before settling into our new identity on the other side of any transition. "Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it." (Quote by Ann Landers) So, today, I'm going to share with you a personal story of letting go.
You've probably noticed that I haven't published any new blog posts since May. Perhaps, you noticed my Instagram posts ceased around the same time. Or, maybe, you took note that I am no longer seeing individual clients. Over the last ten months, my practice has been shifting. But, it isn't just happenstance. You know I'm committed to self-care and these changes reflect that commitment. I have discovered that a vital part of my self-care routine is learning when and how to say "no."
After much deliberation and self-reflection, I decided to close my private practice earlier this year. While I love working with clients and helping people connect with the most authentic version of themselves, I also recognize that I have spent my career being the person everyone else needs me to be, while ignoring my own needs. There has been a little voice in my head screaming at me for a while now, demanding time and space for reflection, healing, and discovery. And, that little voice belongs to my authentic self.
So, in a great move of self-care, I decided to finally listen to that voice. I gave her time. I gave her space. And, I was present to listen. It wasn't always comfortable. And, it definitely wasn't pretty when she told me truths I didn't want to hear. But, I am better for having listened.
Over the past ten months, I have challenged myself to climb mountains, both personally and professionally. I took a good, long, hard look at the skeletons in my closet that were shocked back to life by the mass shootings in Las Vegas, NV on 10/1/17 and in Parkland, FL on 2/14/18. I've reflected on the relationships I've been nurturing and those I've let fall to the wayside, identifying my role and responsibility in maintaining healthy, meaningful relationships with the people I love and letting go of relationships that have run their course, finally embracing the age-old adage that relationships truly are two-way streets. I made the difficult decision to stop seeing individual clients and to transition my practice by continuing to provide group art therapy services as an independent contractor, while guiding kayak tours a few times a week to find a better balance in my weekly routine. I checked my ego at the door and pushed my body to its limit, summiting Yosemite's famous Half Dome in July, and expressed deep gratitude and love for the healing powers of nature while star-gazing in the back country lands of Death Valley during a week-long camping trip in October.
I have learned that self-care comes in many forms. If we allow ourselves to recognize and listen to the voice of our authentic self, it will guide us in altering our self-care routine to fit our needs at any given time - even in periods of transition. I've always known that self-care is important, but now I recognize, more than ever before, that I need to take care of myself to sustain myself.
For more details on this period of transition and what I've been doing to maintain my self-care, check out this episode of the Leadership Looks Like podcast! Kri and I had a great time chatting about life, self-care, and what's next.