Living on acreage overwhelmed me.
Suddenly I went from a fenced-in suburban yard to vast open spaces of land to tend and tame. The endless potential and possibility were invigorating and inspiring, until we could no longer refuse the invitation to always be working, landscaping, cleaning, creating, and digging into just one more project.
Too much on my plate, literally and figuratively, leads me to a state of paralysis.
It’s why you’ll rarely ever find me roaming through Costco, the home of giant boxes of chicken nuggets, 12-pack cases of tuna, and oversized bags of quinoa. When I returned from Europe, I remember crying in the cereal aisle of Walmart because I couldn’t decide which one out of the 40 varieties to buy. I grieved the simplicity of strolling through a quaint Billa or Spar.
The limited options always made decision-making a delight.
It’s why I declutter my house every day. Bagging up unused toys, clothes, and books to give away is a favorite hobby. When the spaces I inhabit are free from scattered stuff and I can see my countertops and floors my breathing steadies and I sigh in relief.
It’s the same reason why I toss old journals, erase years’ worth of blogs and Instagram posts, and keep only a computer and a clipboard of notes on my desk. It’s why I remind myself daily to focus on the task at hand, and why I forfeit my hundreds of creative ideas in favor of pursuing two or three at a time.
It’s why at a social gathering a single satisfying conversation with one person is enough to make it feel like a success for me.
It’s why, recently, my morning journal with its 8.5 by 11-inch pages started to intimidate me with all its blank spaces to fill, so I pulled out the scissors and snipped a temporary 2-inch by 2-inch handmade tiny diary for jotting down a revelation or two.
Not only do I recognize, but I honor the need I have for boundaries.
I stumble upon spaciousness when I embrace smallness.
I am surprised by abundance when my aim is for less.
I meet new layers of my creative potential when I love my limitations.
But many times our culture celebrates the opposite. Embrace more. Grow bigger. Reach for the stars. Step into your limitless potential. Instead of hopping on the hustle bandwagon, I’m hyperventilating.
When I feel cooped up, caged, or held captive, twitching with dreams of being untamed, I look closer and hear my soul begging me to slow down and sit with the tension of my tender humanity.
Often what seems to us like confinement, our capabilities possibly constricted, is the very place we discover what we are truly made of.
Deep inside this frail and soft, sparkling stardust-infused body is everything we need to flourish and live in fullness. This grain of sand, called me, is actually seeping with galaxies.
Boundless Mystery is locked up inside our trillions of microscopic cells. Maybe we change the world when we stop trying to reach for the stars.