Braving the Wilderness

March, Spring is almost here! It means, also, that we are three months into the new year. Did you make a New Year's resolution? I try not to, but at the end of 2017 when I looked back, I realized I had invested a lot of time into my kids, my house, my family and friends. I had invested a ton of myself into my business and even the League. What I couldn't find pockets of were moments I had used to reflect or meditate- neither enjoyable for me, or even read, which is something I remembered enjoying very much. I also hadn't taken much time to write.

I decided to take a few reading recommendations from friends- I didn't want fiction for a change. I wanted something that would check the most boxes on my list of resolutions. Self-help, awareness, education, research.... and alas- along came Brene Brown. Have you heard? Well.... you are about to get more than you bargained for because I am going to plagiarize the $&^%^! out of it for this newsletter. I listened to the book first, then I went and bought the book because I couldn't very well underline and tab the audio book the way I needed to. Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown now has a highlighted section on every page, a mark in every margin and little folds here and there with scraps of paper sticking out in every direction. Some of my girlfriends would look at it and scream- but I know what I am doing here folks.

Brave. Braving the Wilderness. Our innate desire to belong. The Wilderness being our life, this world and the many parts that make it up. Friendships and family, the workplace and clubs. Brene eloquently shares four elements of true belonging and as I looked more closely at the four elements, I realized that, to me, these elements were paradoxical. I was challenged as I tried to put them into daily practice and I wonder what you will think. Here they are.

  1. People Are Hard To Hate Close Up. Move In.
  2. Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil.
  3. Hold Hands. With Strangers.
  4. Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.

Where is your wilderness? What is your wilderness? Do you find these four elements of Braving the Wilderness to also be a paradox- especially in today's world? What does your WILDERNESS and my WILDERNESS have in common? Solitude perhaps, vulnerability and maybe...just maybe an emotional or physical quest. Wilderness. Belonging so fully to yourself that you are willing to stand alone is WILDERNESS. How often do YOU stand alone? Some days, I find motherhood to be the loneliest place in the world. Other days, my heart and soul could not be more full. Some days I feel all of the colors are gone- it's all grey. Other days, I am spitting out so much color I am overwhelming my audience. Wilderness, it can be dangerous and scary, warm and fuzzy... I am excited to be here.

Whether you read or not, I highly recommend this one. I couldn't get far enough out of the book to write about anything else. Thanks for reading!

Here's to our Wilderness; whatever and wherever that is.


Carly Alacahan

Have You Changed?

Last week, I went out to Dallas to listen to Glennon Doyle speak to a fairly large group of local women. It was GLORIOUS and AWESOME, in my humble opinion. Glennon was funny and engaging and I felt truly connected to her. I also saw a friend who happened to be in town from Maine- whom I had not seen in over 6 years. I don't know what I was expecting, but I know I wasn't expecting to answer such difficult questions during what felt like a VERY long drive home. I wasn't expecting her questions to still linger, days later.

Good grief. "Do you feel you have changed, darling? Because, I feel you have changed. Are you Happy?"

Oh. My. Goodness. ARE YOU SERIOUS?

Be honest. Are you the same person you were 7 years ago? Are you the same person you were 15 years ago? The same young lady you were sophomore year? Really. Are you? Can I tell you what I realized on that ride home? I realized it was a hard and twisted question to ask me while driving, and more so, to have me admit it out loud.

I have, in fact, changed. I am VERY different than the woman she remembered. Once I admitted it, I smiled and let out a sigh of relief. THANK GOODNESS I have changed. Thank goodness.

For example, today, I am a bit more patient. I wait on longer lines without huffing and puffing. I. Have. Kids. and couldn't possibly get away with being as impatient as I was in my twenties and still "patiently wait" for my kids to buckle up, put their shoes on or finish their breakfast. Getting in or out of the car, crossing the parking lot or choosing the ONE toy they earned for good behavior would have sent the 20-year old me off the deep end. So, I am patient now. HOURS. HOURS of being patient.

I took notice that I am a better listener, too. I take turns to speak and I listen more intentionally than ever before. That is a great relief for the little voices tugging at my ears for attention and mic time. How would I hear what is on their minds and in their hearts if I hadn't slowed down the chatting to listen?

I don't call out. I can't call out! I can barely get sick! And even if I am sick, I cannot call out! This is it. This is more than a job- these people really really depend on my NOT CALLING OUT.

I read more, eat healthier, dance to a different song (does Frozen count?). I drive more carefully, double check a lot and explain more (goodness, a lot more). I am more open minded, worry a bit more and plan more efficiently. I work hard to be prepared and am more flexible when things don't go as planned (like a blow out; a diaper blow-out is never part of the plan). I am less rigid - I have changed because my priorities have changed. I have changed because my expectations are different and because my entire LIFE is different.

In this life - like most of you- I have been burned, I have been cheered for, I have been hurt and loved. I have lost a child. I have buried loved ones and moved away from all I know. I have tripped and fallen on my words- I have stumbled on my actions. I have changed. These experiences have helped me change. And, I have carried on. How in the world was I expected to stay the same? And honestly, who in the world would want to? Some might say that these kids "broke me down." I loudly and proudly say it is the opposite. These kids have helped to build me up. These kids have helped me to evolve and grow. This experience of motherhood has made me crazy in all the right ways.

I have evolved. I have grown. I am stretched in ways I never imagined- sometimes to the point of intensity and discomfort. I am tired- holy crap I am tired- but I AM HAPPY. I AM HAPPY I HAVE CHANGED, because that 'sometimes- crazy- girl from the college dorm sophomore year' or that 'could-be-very rigid sales exec from just a few years ago' would NOT be the most suitable fit for all of the stretching, waiting, and listening I am having to do around here!

Change is inevitable. I will embrace it and evolve- and I will remember fondly all the phases of this thing called life. Because really.... Who wants to be a crazy college kid forever? I will carry on.

In the words of my friend, Glennon... #CarryOnWarriors


Carly Alacahan