How often do you pause and ask yourself, “Who am I?” and, “Where am I going?”
Self-reflection is a powerful tool that allows us to listen to our internal compass and stay true to our path and purpose.
For a long time, I hated pausing.
I hated breathing deeply.
I hated walking slowly.
I hated waiting in long lines.
I hated listening.
I was, as my father told me many times as a kid, a teenager, and a young adult, always on full send. Only when my running injuries knocked me down and the pandemic in 2020 hit was I forced to stop and confront myself.
I was so uncomfortable with being present. When I sat still in solitude, I recognized how afraid I was of everything in my past leaking into my mind. If I had made peace with my past and felt content with my future, I would not have been met with fear when I took a break from go-go-go, hustle-hustle-hustle, rush-rush-rush.
The more I was forced to take rest, the more I was being awakened.
Suddenly, I was given time to do some serious self-reflection. That is when the words came out of my mouth, “Who is this person I have become?” and I struggled to find answers. All I knew was I was a runner, but I forgot who I was in the depths of me.
I lost track of time. I lost my existence. All in the pursuit of a passion. This is not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong, but when that one thing you invest everything into is taken—suddenly your state of flow, your routine, and your motivation come crashing down.
However, when we break down, we are really cracking open. We are allowing ourselves to have broken pieces and fractures to finally let more light, more love, more joy, and even, new meaning fill those empty spaces.
What a tragedy it would be to continue living in such a rigid, protected way. To never slow down. To never take a breath between actions. To always be pushing forward. To never be capable of appreciating the beauty of sunsets, sunrises, blooming flowers, birds chirping, the ocean breeze, the stillness of the night.
You can only go through life with such intensity and focus for so long, until something will get in your way and the only way to get around that obstacle is to take the time to figure out how.
To overcome any storm, we must feel it in every way. No running. No hiding. We must surrender and let it shake us hard, while we stand strong and embrace it. In doing so, we gain so much insight into who we really are and what we are really made of.
The moments in our lives that are dark are times for true introspection. We can repair. We can rebuild. However, it starts by being okay to take a step back and slow down.
Allowing scheduled breaks in our journey of life will enable us to be mindful and authentic in the choices we make, and prevent us from going nowhere fast.
In the midst of uncertainty, the best thing you can do for yourself is go within.
Uncertainty provokes inquiry.
So go ahead, slow down, and check-in with your mistakes, your regrets, your bad habits, your detours, and then close your eyes, and say:
“This is me, I am an imperfect mess, but I am showing up each day because I believe in myself, and I want to create a magnificent life, and I won’t let the pain, fear, or wrongs that I have done push me under.
Instead, I will keep smiling, keep laughing, and keep finding space to ponder the world around me and admire all that is within me as I go slowly forward toward success, beauty, and magic.”