have you ever been too hard on yourself?
how about berating yourself while you were on vacation, for not doing enough?
why do we do this to ourselves?
autumn is hinting at her arrival.
i have no idea why she doesn’t
just wait for september
i kind of love her for it.
here in paris
she started her whisperings today.
lightly, caressingly, gently.
a slight shift in light,
i am glad to have
a denim jacket
and a scarf.
i made some notes in my journal,
back in june:
“what success will look like come september,” i wrote.
september is practically here and
(according to my notes)
i have not been successful.
“meet & photograph women in every city this summer for the book,” say my notes.
this did not happen in barcelona. this has not happened in paris.
oh, i’ve poured lots of energy and time into
then doing, more, again.
but it is august.
and this is europe.
and everyone who lives here
is on vacation,
“brilliant plan, laura,” says a voice in my head, sarcastically.
“just brilliant. now you’ve wasted two weeks, a bunch of money, and you have nothing to show for it in either spain or france. you should have been more prepared.
you should have come in september.
you should have,
you should have,
you should have.”
you’d think by now i would recognize that voice immediately.
it’s fear, of course.
but it took me a few days.
last night i went to bed feeling ill,
and woke up still unhappy
in my belly
in my body
in my brain.
and it wasn't french wine (i didn't drink any yesterday)
or french cheese (i ate vegetables)
or the french chocolate (there is no such thing as too much chocolate)
once i got outside into the morning light,
autumn’s soft arrival announcement was in the air
and it made things feel more clear.
my body felt better.
i heard the voice again, “you are not succeeding, laura.”
but here, in the softening light of a late-august morning in paris
i could tell the voice was my sneaky little sarcastic stowaway
and not truth.
"oh, lighten up, fear. you are so overly-dramatic," i said outloud
as i walked over the bridge
to the other side
of the canal.
i sat down at a café called chez prune
and had a coffee
and a croissant
and wrote this at the top of a page in my journal:
“redefining success, come september.”
ha. take that, fear!
i wrote for another hour
and realized that i have already had a
very. successful. trip.
i've photographed and interviewed
two amazing women
for my book.
i have plans to meet and photograph
another amazing woman
i have spent countless hours contemplating
this whole project
and what it means
and how it could unfold.
i taught a fantastic heart yoga workshop,
and made new friends in every single city i visited.
i've spent time reading books written by wise people, about transformation.
i've had enlightening conversations about
i realized all of this today.
then, i wrote about what might possibly unfold next.
how i can apply what i’ve learned so far
to make the project even better,
to make my book dream not only a reality,
but also a fabulous experience
for all involved,
and an inspiring read
for those who pick it up
once it is complete.
i wrote about ways i might investigate
how to find funding
that could allow me to continue to travel
to meet and photograph more inspiring women
both in the u.s.
and around the world,
and gather & share wisdom.
and i got excited for autumn.
excited to go home in september,
to amazing women i already know
in seattle and san francisco
whom i get to talk with
excited to prepare for australia
in october & november.
i'm still terrified, of course, that i'll totally fail.
that i will not be able to put everything together
in any sort of productive
oh, we can be so very hard on ourselves, loves.
i have been too hard on myself these past few days,
without even realizing
that is what
i was doing.
i think late summer and early autumn
all the things
we have already
to lighten up on ourselves.
and to get excited
for all of the adventure
that still awaits.
i’m in paris for four more days.
then london, until the first of september,
if anyone reading
would like to get in touch
or share my contact info
with a friend
in or near
sending love (& practicing lightening up)