Back in April, my friend Loren shared an image from Sukhdev Jackson that said, "There are two ways women can live: hustle and hassle, or relax and attract." It struck me as so obvious and was exactly what I needed--and what many other women may find they, too, need.
We live in a time where, unless you're working yourself to the bone, slaving away at a career, burning the midnight oil for your passion or sacrificing your overall health for the sake of purpose, you're made to feel guilty, lazy, a failure. Over the years, I realized I wanted nothing to do with this rat race, but I had no idea how to get out of the system, out of the mentality. I've read books about slow living and mindfulness, and while they have certainly helped, the simple idea of "relax and attract" is what has most impacted my soul as of late.
This year has been tough on me emotionally; since I closed my handmade jewelry shop in 2016, I've felt a sense of listlessness. A sense of displacement. I've felt like I'm teetering on the edge of something profound but it's been unreachable. Until, that is, I sort of let go.
I'm the type of person who is always searching for meaning, constantly hoping life will live up to my expectations. Though I try to be more self-aware, I rarely take a breath to accept my reality--instead, I look forward and forward and forward until the present feels blurred at the edges and begins to pass me by.
But something odd has been happening in recent months. Something I can't quite explain--coincidentally, right at a time I nearly gave up my passion, my longing for a life as a writer. I know it's silly, but although I graduated with a degree in English, and although my dream since I was an eight year old girl was to be a writer, I never tried to find a career in it. I was certain there was no real option for success in it, at least by society's standards (in other words, no money or stability). So although I still harbored the desire, I didn't bother manifesting it. I convinced myself I couldn't. And by twenty-five, suffice it to say, I brought on the most unfounded quarter-life crisis, thinking it was too late now, four years out of college and barely a byline in my name.
By chance, I wrote a letter to the editor of a local monthly newspaper and was met with an invitation to become a contributing writer. Of course I said yes. And then, weeks later, an artist friend of mine asked me to read my poetry at an event--though I'd never read before, I said yes again. And from there, things have been blossoming quite quickly and unexpectedly, and without my seeking them in the first place--more and more writing projects, more invitations to poetry readings, more inquiries for features in a few beautiful quarterly magazines.
Now here I am, and it's September and I can't quite believe it. The progress is small in the scheme of things, but it's going; and that's more than I could say in previous years, when I was trying so hard to pinpoint my purpose, struggling against my nature and my desires and trying to fit myself in this mold of what I felt was good or right or responsible. Instead, I am doing my best to manifest my purpose, without strain and without stress--only intention, an open heart. Saying yes. Letting down my guard. Being myself.
There is truth to the "relax and attract," mentality, I believe. It was only when I stopped struggling and stepped back that my dreams really began coming to fruition. Of course some people thrive through hustle, some prefer it. But for others like myself (and perhaps other introverts, I theorize), it's draining. It strips us of our energy and our passion instead of motivating us. When I think about what type of woman I want to be, I always picture someone who radiates warmth. Balance. Someone who is not harried or chaotic but relaxed and mindful, whose aura is powerful but tender, whose presence attracts beauty and community and opportunity.
While I'm still struggling with my current place, I know I'm on the cusp of my next step. I can feel it, and it's scary. But even scarier is staying where I am and continuing to work against the current for my passions; because I don't want to sacrifice balance for success. I want a healthy approach to my purpose. The path opens up when we let it, when we manifest it with clear desire and compassion for the self. I'm getting clear about what I want and how I want it. And I'm not going to worry myself with fear or waste time on things that don't fit into my dream anymore.