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When Everything's Stripped Away

Quarantined inside our homes, stripped of so many of the activities and expectations that normally fill our lives, many of us are finding ourselves re-evaluating… well… everything.

Everything we think we need.

Everything we think we are.

Everything we think we’re supposed to be.

All the things we believed were so important to who we are, we’re now realizing were never all that important... in the greater scheme of things.

They weren’t the things that make us who we are.

They weren’t the things that matter.

And we’re beginning to see what actually does.

It reminds me of this quote by Michelangelo:

“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”

It’s already there, we just have to chisel away the superfluous material…

Can you feel the power in that? The truth?

Everything we need is already inside us. We just have to chisel away everything that ISN’T us to find it.

And what a perfect time to do exactly that.

Since this quarantine began, I’ve felt a strong urge to purge. I’ve filled boxes with things I thought I liked but realized I didn’t, or things I’d forgotten I even had. And you know what? It feels really good to have something tangible that I can control right now, to free up space in my home, to rid myself of things that I don’t identify with. It is so therapeutic.

This pandemic has caused so much inconvenience and heartbreak, but there are also blessings to be found… if we open our hearts to that possibility. This might be one such blessing.

We have to slow down. We have no choice.

We have to do without certain things we always believed we needed to survive.

We have to say no to commitments we always resented doing anyway.

We have to get creative with our cooking, finding ways to use what we have on hand, giving us clarity into what we actually do need… and what is superfluous.

We have to find ways to entertain ourselves and our families, bringing us into the present with them and finding joy in simply being together, doing simple things. Things that we didn’t think we had time for before.

And most importantly, we have to be alone with ourselves. This is one of the most challenging parts for me. I don’t do silence well. I don’t do alone well.

I find comfort in distracting myself with activities and people and lunch dates and work.

And now I can’t.

And what I’m finding is, uncomfortable as it may be at times, I’m beginning to see through all the things I thought I needed.

And what I’m finding beneath those things is ME.

What I value.

What I resent.

What I enjoy.

What I do out of obligation.

What I do out of fear of judgement.

Where I pretend.

Where I need work.

What I love.

Who I love.

Who I am, at my core.

What I can live without.

And what I can’t. And those things will take first priority from now on.

I saw a meme that said something like this-

“Before we rush to get back to the way we were living our lives before this pandemic, consider what we’re rushing back to.”

We can only do so much right now. Why not use this time to chisel away the superfluous in our lives and get back to the beautiful us that’s been suffocated by everything we’re not.

Because once we chisel away all the unnecessary ideas and beliefs and expectations that have built up over the years, we find that we are complete as we are.

We always have been.

And who we are, at our core, is a glorious work of art- perfectly flawed and absolutely limitless.

What a blessing to be able to come back to that.

Xx Jen

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