I find myself very reflective this morning, as I sit here, caught between chapters. Big changes and bold moves call for a little bravery as my little family of three embarks on a new adventure. We’re moving from our Norman Rockwell-like village in Pelham, NY, on the outskirts of one of the greatest cities in the world, to a bedroom community in Austin, TX.
I viscerally remember the first time we drove into Austin on a weekend get-away from our then-home in Dallas. Having moved to Dallas from Seattle about six months earlier, both my husband and I were feeling a bit lost. We hadn’t yet plugged into our new community in Dallas and we were searching for a feeling we couldn’t name. As we aimlessly drove into Austin and wound our way down Barton Springs road, windows down, breathing in Austin for the first time, it hit me. That feeling. The feeling of home. I remember spontaneously bursting into tears, much to my husband’s surprise, with my then just-turned-two kiddo in the back seat saying, “Mommy okay? Mommy okay?” It took me a good ten minutes to gain control of myself. Thus began my ten-year love affair with Austin.
Fast-forward and here we are at the precipice of moving “home”. These days my emotions feel like they’re lying in wait – looking for the chance to burst out of my skin. There’s joy and excitement, yes, but something else. It’s raw and real. The deep sadness I feel in saying good-bye to dear friends. The vulnerability that comes with change; with leaping into the unknown; with making a bold choice.
As we’ve moved before, we know what’s ahead. The endless flurry of meeting new people, finding new doctors, setting up new accounts, unpacking boxes. So many conversations that start with, “So what do you do?” It’s enough to make this introvert want to go hide under a safe rock.
I’ve come to realize that having a hunger for life, for living out loud, means dancing with intense and often contrasting feelings. That the price we pay for finding our true path is the discomfort we’re willing to endure.
What I know to be true is that the secret to being brave is focus. If I were to focus on the discomfort – the sadness, the uncertainty, the vulnerability and fear – those feelings are certain to grow. They would rob me of being present, of my ability to step into the unknown and take bold risks. Left to their own nefarious ways, they would stop me in my tracks. Stuffed or avoided, they’d burn me from the inside out. Yet they are there and they are real.
If instead, I were to shift my focus onto why we’re making this move – what is our purpose – it frees me to show up differently. The contrasting feelings are still there, but they lose their power.
Why do you need/want to make this big change or bold move?
Every day we face challenges, difficult decisions and have an opportunity to either take a step toward living our truth or not. The feelings we feel are real but they’re like spoiled toddlers – they just want our attention. If we can just let them be and mindfully focus on the bigger picture, they’ll stop acting out.
What is happening in your life where you could benefit from shifting your focus? Why is the conversation you need to have, or the risk you need to take, or the change you need to make important? Let that shift in focus be your compass and free you to step into your best, most authentic and powerful self.
You are more brave than you know. We all are.
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