I am at the tail-end of a very FULL week as I sit here writing to you. I am about to depart on a two-week trip to Europe, which is a luxury I definitely would not have created space for in my life a few years ago. Heck, let’s be real, it’s something I probably wouldn’t have created space in my life for even one year ago!
Why? Because for as long as I can remember, I’ve been living in the story that to be of service and to make impact–to have value–I must always be available. That if I don’t respond right away, or if I am not there at a drop of a hat for someone who needs me (doesn’t matter who it is), I’ll somehow look irresponsible…like I am not doing enough.
In my life, this belief has often looked like me making choices from a space of urgency and disregarding my own needs in the process. In the past it’s meant de-prioritizing myself in service of others, meaning that even when I do arrive at any scheduled “me time,” I am totally exhausted when I get there, maxed out, and not able to fully enjoy it.
So how do we begin to do it differently? For me, it’s meant moving through this week leading up to vacation differently that I would have in the past: creating space for myself in mini-moments and setting a commitment to value my time and energy above all else, even as I’ve prepared to be “out of the office” for awhile. While it’s still been a very full week, I’ve resisted the old urge into rushing, pushing, and cramming to get it all done.
That has looked like creating space to workout, knowing that when I do, I feel more spacious to accomplish the tasks on my to-do list. It’s meant saying “no” to anything extra. It’s meant saying “fuck it” one night and ordering take out, even though I’d originally made a commitment to eat at home. It’s showed up as allowing space for my anxiety to arise, and knowing that when it does, I don’t need to “fix it.” I’ve allowed myself the few deep breaths (or whatever else it is I need) in order to let the big energy I am feeling move through me. It’s meant asking for extra support in both my business and personal life…knowing that I am human and not meant to do it alone.
So, what have I learned in approaching things differently? It’s that even if you think there’s no space for you, there is. Even if your schedule is truly jam-packed with preparations and to-dos, kiddos, family, there is always the possibility of creating space for yourself too amidst all that is going on because I truly feel it begins by shifting inside ourselves how we are occupying our space. That we can still have full lives, and shift our inner experience of how we hold space for ourselves.
So, I am turning it over to you.
Where in your life are you wanting to create space for yourself and yet you’ve been resisting doing it? Where are you cutting yourself off from the space you need? And what’s going on underneath that? Get curious! What long-held belief or pattern about who you need to be in the world in order to be valued is driving that action? Is there something you’re afraid you’ll have to look at, feel and “deal with” if you truly allow space for you?
I’m not asking these questions to shame you for not “being better” at creating space for yourself. I’m also not trying to downplay or minimize the fact that every one of us has incredibly full lives and are juggling what may feel like a million responsibilities.
Rather, I’m inviting you into an honest inquiry. Where you can begin to unwind that feeling like you always have to be “on,” always have to be doing, always putting others first? Where can you admit that you’ve not been creating space for you and set an intention to transform that way of being?
My motto is that transformation always begins inside of us, and that one of the best ways to invite it in is by bringing curiosity to what maybe isn’t working so well, so that we can open up to new possibilities. Be gentle with this inquiry and keep in mind, it’s not about “fixing” anything. Self-inquiry is always about bringing gentle awareness to yourself and to your actions in a whole new, life giving way.
This week, I invite you to consider where you need more space for YOU in your life, and to play with the mantra “There is space for me too,” or you might even try on, “There is plenty of space for me too.”
Pay attention to what shifts. Notice what comes up in your body. Sometimes it might take a hot second for our minds to catch up, but often, when we tap into curiosity with the intention of creating space, our body feels that new space and awareness instantly. Notice if there is a spreading or an opening somewhere inside you. Also notice if you feel any contraction or tightening, as this may cue you into what your doing, doing, doing has been masking. Whatever comes up, allow it to be there. Allow your body to guide you as you’re cued into the signs, symptoms and sensations that arise when you’re calling in and creating more space for you.
Personally, I’ve noticed that when I intentionally tune in and create space for myself, even in the most hectic and frantic of times, my breath gets wider and deeper and more expansive, the energy of my forehead spreads, releasing tension, and I feel myself leaning back into my me-ness. Coming home to myself in a way that allows me to realize I was gone.
I look forward to hearing what arises for you, dear one. There is always space for you.