Out of all the people that I have been blessed to encounter in my life over the last few years is my life coach and spiritual counselor, dava. I first began working with dava right after I completed graduate school in 2008 and we worked together right up until my 30th birthday. My Friday nights with dava in Annandale, Virginia were a balm for my soul, and I truly believe that our sessions were the launch pad for me to enter into my 30s powerfully. My heart was initially broken when she chose to relocate to Colorado, but through the wonders of the telephone (imagine that! LOL!), I still check in with dava whenever I have a major life transition.
As you can imagine with uprooting my entire life to New York AND becoming an entrepreneur AND beginning a new relationship, a call with dava was an absolute must a few weeks ago. I was starting to get a little stir crazy with all of the lightening-fast changes and was downright frightened by everything that was happening. It was so great to hear her voice and as usual she had the PERFECT words to bring peace to my heart. She shared the following wonderful story that just brought everything into perspective.
In the early 1900s, there was a Native American chief who was invited to take a cross-country trip on a newly built rail line traveling from the West to the East Coast. The passengers on this trip were treated to the majestic views of the Rockies, the Grand Canyon, the mighty Mississippi, and many other natural treasures throughout the country.
While most of the passengers just allowed the scenery to roll by, every few hundred miles, the chief pulled on the emergency brake. After the chief pulled the brake a few times, the conductor came back to ask him, “Why do you keep pulling on the brake?”
The chief replied, “There is so much beauty and wonder to take in at one time. I have to give my soul a chance to catch up.”
After dava shared that story, I realized that my soul probably wasn’t anywhere near Brooklyn quite yet. And with the way Governor Christie has been manipulating the bridge system, I’m pretty sure, my soul was still somewhere in New Jersey. In just the past year I resigned from my third job, began and resigned from my fourth job, completed a seven-month leadership course, moved in with two friends in Annapolis, took a whirlwind 10-day trip to Singapore and Bali, fell in love and began a new relationship, moved to New York, and became an entrepreneur. I’m tired just from typing all of that, so imagine what kind of shape my soul is in from all that change and adventure!
After my call with dava, I realized that I had to give myself some time to slow down, pause, and allow my soul to catch up with my life. Even in the city that never sleeps, I had to allow myself to, well, get some sleep and be present for this new chapter of my life.
I had to get back in touch with what calmed me. I rediscovered two of the most effective ways for me to repair my soul are reading and taking long baths. As an editor and writer, it’s crucial to ensure that I am reading the works of others to ensure that I am hearing and reading voices other than my own. I just finished “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and “Ghana Must Go” by Taiye Selasi. I’m currently enjoying “Half of a Yellow Sun,” also by Adichie.
Long baths are another soul remedy that I absolutely adore. When I was in college, I would spend at least two hours every Sunday soaking away my stress while listening to Erykah Badu’s “Live” album (I can belt out “Other Side of the Game” almost as good as Erykah!). It was the perfect way to begin my week before embarking on the rigors of academia. Now, at least one day per week, there is at least one afternoon devoted to a one-hour bath, my iPad, and a Lush bath bomb.
As my beloved Iyanla Vanzant has noted, “We go from job to job, relationship to relationship, situation to situation without ever taking a PAUSE.” Allowing our souls to catch up with wherever we are in life is ESSENTIAL to ensuring that we enjoy the HERE and NOW and that we live every, single day to the fullest.