I'm unable to recall where or when these two little words wedged themselves into my being, but they have been guiding me through the last few years of doing new things. I heard them when I decided to quit my school counseling job to pursue becoming a life coach. I heard them again when I enrolled in a life coach training program. They again came to me when I facilitated my first in-person workshop. They've even helped me when it has come time for challenging conversations with loved ones. Big and small, lean in has encouraged me to rely on my intuition and values to take the often times more uncomfortable road of growth.
Lean in began to attach to most things that I would do. I value how far the saying has brought me and I continue to use it to decipher if I'm practicing courage or succumbing to fear. But part of practicing courage is practicing self-trust. And interestingly enough, what's been coming up for me lately has been lean out.
Between pregnancy/postpartum, a global pandemic, a contentious (to say the least) US election, and the winter season, I am feeling the need to hibernate. To go inward, retreat, and keep my family close. The desire to hibernate has been with me, really, since finding out I was pregnant with my second child in November, but I ignored the desire. The timing seemed so wrong! I needed to lean in to my business - I had big goals!
Come April, I was exhausted. I had ignored what my inner knowing was telling me to do. I felt an internal conflict between the part of me that loves to work and achieve goals and my true essence who was clearly asking me to rest. Leaning in had helped me in so many ways. It seemed strangely ironic that when things were getting really difficult, I felt the need to lean out. Was it fear who was telling me to retreat or was it truly what I needed?
The presence of that question made me remember that sometimes leaning out can really be what you need to do in order to lean in. In a culture that celebrates exhaustion and being busy, resting and caring for yourself is a form of resistance. If I want that part of our culture to change - which I do - I need to do my part by being that change. If we all tended to our need to rest, we would be a part of a beautiful revolution. The revolution that no longer celebrates the hustle for hustles sake, but instead values flow and leisure and joy and rest. Yes. I want more of that.
So, I've been resting. For months. There are days when resting doesn't come easily. There are other days where it feels as natural as breathing. Leaning out can still feel uncomfortable for me. And that's okay. I'm grateful that I'm able to do it.