Oh, friends. I have been feeling so HARD lately. When I look at my country, when I look out at the world, the surface of my skin turns to rock, and I am hard. In every direction I turn, I can feel it: that brittle, rough and steely surface forming and forming fast. It is wrapping me up, and I am wrapping myself up in it. And, oh my goodness. It is not the way.

Listen, if I have learned anything from moving slowly and hardly at all last year, it is this: Gentle is the way.

What I learned (and forgot, so thanks for that shame spiral) was that gentle is also STRONG, because it can FEEL without immediately walling off, without ultimately shutting down. Gentle is open, while hard is closed. Gentle is deliberate. Rough is reactionary.

It isn’t just the world, either, that’s turning me to stone, lately. It’s my personal life. It’s that I’ve grown and changed, but then, I still have more growing and more changing to do. It’s that I’m awake to what works, and I can’t be asleep to what doesn’t. It’s that finding myself doesn’t mean that I figured everything else out. It’s that raising small kids can be relentless, and marriage is work, and I want to lie down and rest.

Rather than let myself lie down and rest, I’ve been pushing onward, steeling my face and my senses and my nerves against the wind, and barreling on like some kind of stoic soldier. This is a fool’s errand, because friends, of all the things I am in this world, I am farthest from being an actual, successful stoic soldier. I am literally a photo of an antonym to a stoic soldier- all warm hugs and tears at commercials and poetry over punishment. No, friends. The way for me is GENTLE. It is touching down and lifting up.

The voice was nagging at me this morning, and I realized I hadn’t heard from her in a while, so I shut up. And, I listened. Here’s what she said:

Do you know why you are angry? Because you’re being too hard. On everything. On everyone. On yourself, most of all. Do you know why you feel squeezed? Because you’re squeezing. Everything. Everyone. Yourself, most of all. Do you know why you’re squeezing? Because you are tired. Afraid. In need of rest over answers. Do not continue this search you’re on for the culpable party in every room. Doing hard things doesn’t mean YOU have to be hard. Doing hard things isn’t someone’s fault. Put down your sword and your shield. Walk over to that open window, climb through and walk into the light for a moment. There, there. Gentle, isn’t it? That’s your way, little one. Now, lie down. Take a rest.

Since the voice gave me a tender talking to, I have decided to hit a reset button on myself. I am going to unplug and restart, and while my data reloads, I am taking a nice, peaceful breather. I am going to plan a night away from my family, all by myself. I am going to take a morning and write and read and listen to music and not rush about. I am going to remove the finish line from my hip recovery. I am going to remove the scoreboard from parenting. I am going to let a few things figure themselves out without me doing all of the figuring. I am going to let the world be a mess. I am going to let my country be in upheaval.

I am going to clear the sweat from my brown, wipe the mud from my boots and cultivate a quieter, less resistant frame of mind. This is what I need right now. TO BE GENTLE.

Also, while taking this time to reboot Mira, I have considered loving and embracing all of these things I have felt steeled against. I have an inkling that if I can let be for a moment, then I can bring back my connection to what is broken without all of the baggage of immediate solutions and constant fear over what may be and what must be changed immediately. Patience, child, is what the voice says. You are not a stoic soldier.

No, I’m not. I am a gentle warrior. A fighter who cries. A woman who cannot do life like a rock. Back to it. <3