You Have Permission to Walk Out.

Friends, a few quick notes to start:

A Wish Come Clear celebrated its four-year blog anniversary on January 16! I had every intention of publishing that day, but life got in the way.

In the past week, I’ve faced a host of physical issues. (I’ll spare you the details, but don’t worry, nothing is serious, just unpleasant.) Naturally, I did not appreciate this. Who enjoys letting go of their plans, taking pills, and slowing way down? Not me.

However, there is a silver lining. I’ve had practice letting go of judgment and self-blame and choosing kindness, which is a spiritual workout.

Plus, I’ve realized on a visceral level that I have so much to be thankful for. I mean, I get to write posts that thousands of beautiful, wise people such as yourself actually read! And we’ve been doing this together for four years now … ?! What a gift.

Which reminds me: since I’ve been publishing less frequently here while I’m writing my next book, I’ve been posting more mini-stories on Facebook and Twitter. I invite you to like and follow and join the conversation.

But if you do click over, don’t forget to come back and read the story below … I’m sending it your way with love.

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Lessons from the (Emotional) Arctic Tundra

Have you ever struggled with a weighty sense of failure, a belief that no matter what you try, you’ll make the wrong move?

Have you ever found yourself feeling uncomfortable in a group, thinking: I don’t belong with all these happy people. I’d like to cheer up, but I’m just tense and miserable. Wish I could be like them … ?

If so, dear friend, you are not alone.

I could talk about our current survey all day — 58 of you have filled it out as of this writing! — but I’ll just share these findings:

53 out of 58 respondents (91%) report measuring their self-worth by their productivity and accomplishments (or lack thereof) on any given day.

And 46 out of 58 respondents (79%) report considering their mistakes or misunderstandings not as learning experiences, but as indications of their failure as people.

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When is it OK to Put Aside Productivity and Go Hands Free?

Once upon a December afternoon, I decided to bake cookies for a party. I could have skipped it; in fact, I nearly talked myself out of it. Baking is not the most efficient use of my time. Nevertheless, I put aside productivity because it felt like Christmas, like celebration.

Choosing Christmas doesn’t come naturally to me. You see, the church I grew up in didn’t believe in celebrating Christmas, supposedly because it was a pagan holiday and a consumerist frenzy.

Looking back, though, I wonder if perhaps the church leaders weren’t really afraid of materialism or paganism. I wonder if they were afraid of what might happen if we were to be still. If we were to make the subversive decision to put aside striving and behold beauty instead.

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