If I could use one word to describe the last month of my life, it would have to be –> WHIRLWIND.
December 5 – Kristen leaves for Africa
December 16 – Kristen returns from Africa
December 18 – Kristen goes back to work
December 23 – Kristen drives 18 hours to Massachusetts for Christmas
December 29 – Kristen drives back to Charleston in a record breaking 15 hours
Enter the month of January and Kristen finally gets a moment of downtime and thinks, “What the hell happened over the last month?!” Waking up in the morning I feel ‘off.’ After dealing with vertigo for the last part of December and beginning of January, and feeling very stagnant, I willed myself to return to the active lifestyle that I missed so dearly. But even after honoring my body, I feel emotionally volatile. My emotions going in circles and the inability to pinpoint how I feel other than wanting to cry while simply filling my coffee cup at Whole Foods. And then, during a routine trip to my favorite nationwide establishment, standing in the checkout line, it hit me: I had been to Africa and back and had yet to piece the whole trip together. The events, the lessons, the people, the emotions, the success, the fear and the love; it has all been pent up inside since returning to the US.
My heart and mind were busting at the seams and the only way they were getting my attention was to let the tears roll out over Whole Food’s coffee. [Hey, at least it wasn’t spilled milk!] One major aspect of the trip that I have focused A LOT on, because it has come up for me on several occasions, is the simplicity that I experienced in Uganda and what I have thought to be the lack there of here at home. While in Uganda, I was there, 100% in the moment, effortlessly, every. single. day. My deranged thoughts of, “I can’t because I’m not good enough,” or “They are laughing at me because I’m different,” never came up. It didn’t matter how good I was yesterday or what could go wrong tomorrow. The moments of sadness, fear and anger, though very few, would filter in and then dissipate, allowing me to return to the ever-loved state of joy.
It was easy, almost too easy. And now I know why…
The distractions were few. The intent was whole. The love was present.
What I am wrong about is thinking that this idea of simplicity and joy is far out of reach here at home. It is certainly more than obtainable but there are far more obstacles in my way. Technology is the biggest hurdle. We live in a world where, with the simple click of a button we can become immersed in what everyone else is doing, worried why this person won’t call us back, every shooting and bank robbery happening around the world etc. WHY?!
As I continue to piece together my second journey to Uganda I become more and more driven to implement the focus and immersion into every moment, the love and intent into my passions and disconnect more often, leaving the distractions for others to finagle with. It all comes with slowing down. I have said it a million times and remind myself every day: s l o w d o w n. But it’s true. When we really want to do something right, speak with compassion, manifest a dream; we slow down. Joy is just too good to miss out on.