A year ago I set a goal for myself. I promised to write a blog post each week for an entire year.
And this is post #52!
I want to be able to tell you that’s it’s all good. That reaching this goal feels nothing but amazing. But…that’s not quite the truth.
The truth is it’s a mixed bag of emotions.
Part of me feels excited + proud. In awe of what I’ve done. And happy finally it’s over.
And part of me feels…well, kinda yucky. Stuck. Alone. Anti-climatic. Not sure what to do next.
I’ve felt this feeling before.
This now-what-emptiness that can come with achieving a long-desired goal.
I felt it when I completed grad school. Passed my licensing exam. Got dropped off at college. And, when I got married.
All of these things I desperately wanted. Put everything I had into making them happen. When they finally did I felt…empty. And the only thought going through my head was, “Now what???”
I’ve come to understand that this emptiness is a natural part of the process.
It’s the ebb of ebb and flow.
The winter of personal + spiritual growth.
The rest days of life as a seeker.
This emptiness is a sign that we need some down time to regroup, restore, integrate. And then refocus.
Way too often we skip this step.
We stop listening to ourselves. To our bodies + souls. We’re in a hurry to get on to the next thing. To avoid the potential discomfort and loneliness of winter.
So we skip integration all together.
We don’t allow ourselves the time for what we’ve learned, experienced + discovered to sink in, digest and become part of us. So we end up making the same mistakes. Over and over again.
Because without integration- without letting what we’ve learned settle into our bodies and shift our energy- we don’t shift.
We stay the same.
Which means our old patterns still feel comfortable. And are what we still do. Automatically.
We’re still attracted to the same type of guy, job, friend or saboteur.
Without integration we’re not different. We’ve just done something different for a period of time.
And when our goal is to go within and change what so desperately wants to change, so we can create a different life…there’s nothing more frustrating.
5 keys for embracing winter and letting integration take hold
Rest days are critical in any physical training. Without them you end up weaker due to fatigue and strain. Same for emotional + spiritual training. Plan this key downtime into your timeline or journey from the get-go. Embrace it for what it is: a chance to rest, restore, recover and integrate all you’ve learned.
Pay attention to how far you’ve come. Not how far you still want to go. When you look back at your life this way your progress is undeniable.
Process your journey in whatever way feels good to you. Give yourself space + permission to look at it from many angles, in many ways and at several points along the way. Put into words what you learned. Both what worked and what didn’t. (We learn way more from what didn’t work than what did.)
Being in this space, in this ebb of NOT doing, is an act of receiving. We only have in our lives what we can let ourselves receive. Intentionally + purposefully practice receiving to increase the amount of good you can comfortably allow into your life.
Don’t let your head- or anyone else– diminish what you’ve accomplished. Celebrate it! No matter how big or how small the celebration do something- anything– that honors how far you’ve come. Especially when those negative Nelly’s show up in your head.
Your turn. Do you let yourself integrate after big life changes or do you hurry on to the next thing totally skipping your rest days?