As I was wrapping up Season 2, I had the joy of speaking with some of the most beloved guests, all dear women who I adore. At the end of the discussion, we did a flash round where I asked everyone what their favorite recent book was. (you can see the list at the bottom of this post.) This episode is all about how to rediscover joy when something you love feels heavy.
And as her second book, Michelle Ward casually announced “oh, and I loved Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner”
And my heart lept, and my mind stopped and grabbed on to that phrase … Chasing Slow.
I didn’t really know what it meant, but I’m going to be totally honest with you – I needed some slow. I needed a break, and as I closed out that last interview of last season, there simply could not have been a better nudge from someone I adore to follow my heart and slow the heck down.
I don’t want it to seem I’m complaining about the podcast, because very simply put, i am not. I love this show. It’s my soul work.
Somewhere in the midst of creating, connecting, loving, and following my heart, I’d also gotten quite wrapped up in the busy-ness and distraction of other stuff. Promoting the show. Finding the perfect stock image and the quote to go with it. Staying up too late as I danced with perfectionism. Joy was getting intertangled with shoulds and being perfect and it got heavy.
What I needed to do was re-set my perspective. Erin Loechner talks about this in her book, too – I loved this quote: “It takes work to change your perspective. Work that is not easily done when you’re looking everywhere else.”
And so my plan for the last month was to sit with what I really wanted. To take time to reflect on what I wanted, what the show wanted, and what felt like joy for me, now that I’m two years in to this journey.
I gave myself space to think on what felt like joy, and what felt heavy.
It’s that simple.
What felt like joy. Keep that.
What felt heavy, look at it, find what’s heavy about it, let it go.
And so it was a bit like The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book, I imagine, but I haven’t really read the whole thing.
It was a very mindful process for me.
Here’s what I did.
I thought about each part of the show in my heart and asked if I liked it. Yes? Keep it.
No? Let it go.
I realize that maybe some of you need permission to do this too.
So I’m going to butt in and give you that permission. It’s OK to let go of things you don’t need and aren’t serving you.
Are you feeling weighted down? Is something that brought you joy feeling overwhelming now when it never did before?
Here’s what I want you to do.
Think about this thing that brought you joy.
If you can, close your eyes and think about it.
You might need a piece of paper, to write this down, but if you boil the thing down to it’s fundamental nature.. ask your own heart, what do you LOVE about this thing?
What do you want to keep about it?
When you started doing it, or maybe more importantly when you realized you wanted to start doing it (before you even started), what felt truly joyful about it?
Sit with that for a moment. Don’t rush, the point here is to take your time and move slow.
Next, think about the thing and ask yourself what’s feeling heavy?
Here’s what I found out for myself about asking what felt heavy about the podcast (or anything I love but no longer has the same magic it once did): You might not want to admit that something does feel heavy about it.
Here’s what I learned about myself, I found that I felt a bit like I was cheating on myself or something to admit that parts of this show that I love felt yucky. I admitted I don’t like staying up late on Mondays to get the show out. I don’t like waiting to the last minute to do things, even if that’s become my uncomfortable habit.
I think this is a universal truth, even things that bring us joy are things we can get lazy about. Or are things that we can let become something that no longer brings us joy. That’s where mindfulness comes in. If you feel the heaviness, if you feel like it’s not working, I want you to stop and pause and take notice.
It might not be the case for you, but I also want to give you full permission to STOP doing the thing if it is no longer bringing you joy and it’s no longer necessary in your life. It’s OK to stop. You might not want to and it might feel awful, but you’ll know if that’s the right decision. This goes for things you love to do, and it goes for when it’s time to end a relationship, time to find a new job, time to stop doing anything that isn’t a fit and is making you feel trapped or heavy.
Here’s the other great thing about moving slowly – if you stop doing something, it doesn’t have to be forever. I think we worry (OK, I worry) that if I stop doing something it means I’ll never do it again, or I won’t find a way to start again. I want you to put that aside.
If you decide to stop doing something, then it’s also time to be mindful. Do you miss this thing? Do you wish you could do it again?
Here are two things to give yourself permission to do right now:
Take a break and really enjoy the break
Stop doing something and don’t worry about how long it will be, or what it means that you stopped.
I’ll say that my own break gave lots of new life to my interest in my show. I found myself researching new guests, getting excited about getting new cover art, and realizing that if I found a group to help with edits, I’d be much happier and feel less heavy.
Which leads me to the last thing I want to talk about with this slowing down thing … once you’ve given yourself the space and the option to press pause on something, it’s up to you to come back to it, to look at what you’ve learned. And then, you have to take action.
In the example of the podcast, after sitting with what wasn’t working, I decided I wanted a new editor. Then I researched editors and found one and got them files.
Again, I imagine this is a lot like Marie Kondo’s tidying up book. Yes, you weigh each thing in your hand and ask if it brings you joy. But the real change and freedom doesn’t come until you take the action of donating the things that you no longer need.
And that’s what slowing down is really all about – finding freedom. Following the joy, getting re-acquainted with your purpose, and feeling really lovingly free to follow the things that matter.
So let’s review what I’ve said here so you can replicate it around something that feels heavy in your life right now.
1. Agree to slow down. Give yourself space.
2. Take a good hard look at the thing that is no longer bringing you the joy it once did, and take note of why.
3. Reflect on what about this thing used to bring you joy. Write it down.
4. Ask yourself what would make this thing joyful again?
5. If a break from the thing sounds good, take it, and let it be a true break. Notice what you miss about the thing if anything.
6. Check back in after a month or so and see if you want to return to doing the thing. If so, make your plan. If not, let it go.