Do Less. Feel More.

My therapy sessions always tend to start the same way. My therapist asks, “How do you feel?” I’ll say, “I’m fine, I think.” And then I think to myself then what the fuck are you doing in therapy if you’re fine? Idiot…

I’ll start off with small things and start talking about the things that have happened as of late, new insight I’m having. About midway through the conversation, I’ll begin to find myself detaching from the emotions welling up in my throat and boiling up behind my eyes. I’ll stop.

“What was that shift in your body just now?” She’s very observant, my therapist. It’s like she can read my emotions as if they were running across my forehead.

“I don’t know…” I say, “I feel complicated?” That’s the best way I know how to describe all the things going on in my head and my body.
“Try to name it.”

So I talk through all these things, and I say that “I feel tired… just overwhelmed because there is so much going on. Not all of them bad, per se, just a lot of stuff… and I just want a break.” And I burst into tears, covering my face and sobbing.

My therapist is quiet while I let go and try to regain some stability in my breath.

“Crying is the body’s way of releasing the tension we carry in the body. It’s not just a mental thing; your body is crying because it’s been carrying the weight of all that is going on, of everything you don’t want to acknowledge…”

More and more I’m learning that my body is a temple of the living God. And since it is a host for the Divine, I’m observing that God speaks more often than I listen to Her. I can only hear the Spirit whispering to me when I slow down enough to allow myself to listen to it.

And that’s the challenge, isn’t it? To slow down? I’m horrible at it. I’ve bought into the lie that I am what I make and can produce. Capitalism has commodified my spirit and my abilities. So I feel bad when I don’t have the mental energy to get to church, or to write, or to meditate… I mean honestly, I don’t even have the energy to shower some days.

But eventually, if I don’t listen to my body, it will stop me dead in our tracks.

For me, that manifests in being emotionally triggered and bursting into tears over something as normal as being mildly frustrated by a driver on the road. I have these giant emotional reactions that are disproportionate to the situation. And it’s annoying more than anything.

Another way it manifests is by holding me captive in my bed, unable to pull myself from this place of comfort. Wondering, if I get out of this bed, will it make a difference in how I’m feeling?

My therapist has been trying to get me to see that I’m simply doing too much in the midst of the season that I’m in. And she’s right. So much has happened. My boyfriend just moved to Atlanta and we’ve moved twice in 4 months. And that’s a good thing, but it is a lot. 

On top of that, the church I was attending for so long, working to make it into a better place for queer folks hopefully, adopted a non-affirming policy. And that broke me.
On top of that, I’ve had some sickness in the family that has been weighing heavily on me. And that’s been occupying a good bit of my headspace.
On top of that, I’m trying to get ready to go to the Gay Christian Network Conference in Denver.
On top of that, seminary begins in six months, and I’m trying to prepare myself to enter that season of life.
On top of that, I’m also thinking about politics all the time and how the world is falling apart, what role do I have in the healing of this work, and in what ways I’m complicit in the oppression of folks I claim to love
On top of that, I want to up my internet game and produce more content, so I can hopefully move into full-time content creation in 2018 and book more speaking gigs, and maybe even get published.
On top of that, I am trying to eat better and exercise and not drink as much and be a good friend to my community and be a good boyfriend and be a good internet human and at the end of it all I have no time just to be the broken, fucked up, tired-as-shit person that I feel just below the shiny, curated persona that I put out on the internet.

Does anyone else feel me on this? There are just a bazillion things coming at you, and you just feel overwhelmedAF.

…I’m tired. And that’s okay, but I have to admit that I’m tired. And now that I’ve admitted it, I have to choose what to do with that.

This past year has been a big lesson on what it looks like to do too much, on what it is to fail and not accomplish your goals and to feel sorry for it. And this is why, in all of this, I am thankful for the practices of my faith. They remind me that my value is not determined by what I do or do not do.

Today is the first Sunday of Epiphany, the day we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. And do you know why that story is so amazing?

It’s fantastic because Jesus hadn’t done anything in his ministry yet. He was not Jesus the Messiah, yet. He was Jesus, the normal dude who showed up to be baptized into a way of repentance like everyone else. He just showed up, and God said, “This is my son, my Beloved. And in him, I am well pleased.”

Just by showing up, just by being, God spoke love over Jesus. He didn’t do ministry for the approval of God; he did it from the approval of God.

The baseline is of our work is, “I am the Beloved of God.”

This Sunday reminds us of our baptism and the promises it embodies. And as co-heirs with Christ, those same words are ours to claim.

Jesus was working FROM the approval of God, not for it. Click To Tweet

I’m working to slow down in this new year. I want to do less and do it better. I want to focus my energy to manifest the dreams God has given me. I want to do less and feel more. I want to listen to my body.

If you are out there, and you feel a lot of things, and you aren’t sure what they are or where they are coming from, I want you to take me up on this challenge: Do less. Feel more. And as you feel all the things, you might be able to release some things. You might be able to find healing and forgiveness. You might be able to find some self-compassion for the things you beat yourself up for.

The world needs what you’ve got, babe. Don’t burn out. Take care of yourself so you can keep doing the work.

Pro tip: Do less. Feel more. Click To Tweet
  • JBReiter

    You’re not alone in this! I feel it too. Thanks for the encouraging thoughts on baptism.

  • Logan81

    Oy, as a fellow stress-crier, I needed this this morning. The semester is about to start (I work for a university), my husband just had hernia surgery, and as an Enneagram 9, it’s my job to sacrifice all of myself to make everyone happy. Maybe I’ll just take a nap instead.

  • Jonah Venegas

    This is good. This is truth.