Radvent day 25: Calm

I have a lot of feelings around the end of the Radvent series each year–relief, some nostalgia, some pressure, hope that people enjoyed it, gratitude to have finished another year. As November passes each year I never think I’m going to do Radvent again. I think I partly do it to please readers who tell me they look forward to it, but I know I couldn’t even begin without the gift of inspiration that seems to come just in time for the first post. Some days the urge to write is stronger than others, the ideas are better than others, but the challenge to write each day is always on my mind and it makes me live with more purpose and intention.

Reading back through the Radvents of past years, it’s unmistakeable that the themes and posts from each day reflect the values I had at the time. The things I was thinking about, the problems I cared about, the motivations behind my business and life. My goal this year was to inspire readers to open up to accepting their own worthiness, brilliance, and potential. To either get back on a path to self-acceptance, or celebrate the huge accomplishment of a positive self-image–wherever you are on the continuum we go up and down on through our whole lives. Indeed, women are pressured to look beautiful but never feel beautiful, “be strong” but never stand up for themselves verbally or physically, be mothers, be married, work, stay home, ANYTHING. A woman never feels like she is enough. And in the constant struggle within ourselves, we turn it outward toward each other and forget the sisterhood and camaraderie of the feminine experience. Quieting the din of messages about how to act, what to say, how to look, what to like, is a SKILL to be developed. I look at Alice and think about how I was born like her–carefree and unknowing that anything I loved or wished for deep in my heart could be wrong. Unaware of anything artificial, constructed, and untrue that would come to be expected of me. Of us. If that’s the disease, the antidote is self-reflection, self-awareness, self-love. And I think that takes work.

So this is the work I do. It’s for me, but it’s also for you in that I hope that sharing my own process of working on my sense of self inspires someone else to do the work they need to do. And perhaps to share some ideas about where to begin.

Tonight I’m writing this post amidst calm. I’m awake, alone, surrounded by reminders of the generous and laughter-filled Christmas Eve celebration my family just enjoyed. A can of diet coke, a few candy wrappers, on the couch observing the joyous and wonderful toys and gifts arranged, awaiting Alice’s awakening in the morning. A wooden kitchen, a cardboard fort system, Duplo building blocks set up to create a zoo scene, puppets, clay, and books. To me, it’s things purchased to begin the tradition of Alice’s first Christmas with Santa Claus. I hope it makes her feel loved and special, but I think about how this is probably the last year that she won’t be expecting this. This is calm, the excitement and elation hasn’t happened yet, everything waiting here for Alice’s Perfect Christmas isn’t even known by her to be here.

What is inside you that you don’t have awareness of yet? There’s no way to know, is there? How can you know what potential lies within you until you rise to meet a challenge? Finishing a writing project. Daring to share a passion. Giving a speech, starting a business. Childbirth. Overcoming illness and grief. Calm, conflict, reaction, and growth is a cycle that repeats on macro- and micro-levels in our lives forever. I’ve accepted that, and it gives me comfort, confidence, and a level of inner calm that helps me have perspective because I address my old issues that always cycle through as the person I am now, not as the person I was before. I love this place. I expect to step back, but I expect to leap forward with grace even farther than before.

What cycles are ending for you right now? What is beginning now? What is coming next?

Enjoy what is important to you. Just be in the middle of it.

During the holidays, and today in particular if you celebrate Christmas, we’re often surrounded by people and in places and thinking about ideas that are important to us. Put aside your thoughts of tomorrow, your wishes, and become calm among the chaos. My mom says “The days are long and the years are short.” Figure out how to use them to honor what is important to you.

Create your own comfort ritual.

What makes you feel calm and comforted? Figure out what you need to do to re-center yourself when you are stressed or facing conflict. Feel proud to know that you can comfort yourself.

“Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I’m happy with this December, with this year. I’m happy with what I contributed to the world and how I grew my understanding of myself and used that to live more intentionally and consciously. I’m happy with the example I set as a mother, I’m happy about what I built with my partner Sarah who I love like a sister, an irreplaceable part of my life, I’m proud of the honesty and openness my husband Dave and I fostered between us as a team. I love the respect I gained for other people, especially other women, and the perspective I found about the importance of supporting each other. From that genesis, the belief in the value and beauty and the choice to recognize it in others, that the most happiness I’ve ever felt has emerged.

Thank you.
xx
meg

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7 × = forty nine

2 thoughts on “Radvent day 25: Calm”

  1. TheRebecca Project says:

    What a lovely way to wrap up Radvent! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us this year. I look forward to reading what 2013 has in store for you.

  2. Gini says:

    Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.


five − = 4

Alice Elfie’s Day Off

Alice and I stayed home today so we could start making presents for our family. It's hard to find much time to be together and do any of that between getting off work and bedtime, so we both took a day off! We listened to the Mariah Carey holiday Pandora station all day and had personal pan pizzas delivered for lunch, and ate all the cookies we wanted from a cookie exchange we went to last weekend. Here's what we made, including links!

OOTD: Clothes to covet

Today Alice and I are staying home to work on all of our Christmas gifts together! With my new work schedule, there isn't a lot of time between work and bed to finish any meaningful projects together, so we both took the day off to make and wrap all of our gifts. One thing on my gift list is this outfit. If we don't sell out of my size before the holidays, I'll definitely be buying it from the store. Usually I just buy whatever I want as things come in or order extra for myself, but during the holidays I want to give all of our extra inventory a chance to sell at full price before I snatch it up.

Clark & Company: Young guns in the Omaha music spotlight

This summer was the first time I heard Clark & Company’s music. I was at a friend’s house for a big party and the place was buzzing with lively discussions between friends reuniting and new introductions being made. I heard Clark & Company in the background of all this fun, and it was the kind of sound that you at first think is coming through some speakers somewhere. Soon, singer Sophie Clark’s beautiful, soulful voice caught my ear, and I began paying more attention to the music than the conversation.

Starting a Storefront

So I've never worked clothing retail before. In college I worked at a record store for a while, but it was pretty much exactly like the movie High Fidelity and thus not a legit retail experience. As we were preparing to open our first retail location for the Hello Holiday offices, everyone who knows me kept saying stuff like, "Well, I hope you can handle retail." "I think you're gonna find that running a physical store is a lot different." "Well, I look forward to hearing how THAT goes." It's like when you're a parent and you say stuff like, "I'm planning on taking my kid to work most days," and other parents knowingly go, "Oh, YOU'LLLLLL see."

I opened a store. Here’s what it looks like.

On November 25th, right before Thanksgiving, Sarah and I opened Hello Holiday's first brick-and-mortar location. When we started Hello Holiday, we had no intention of opening a physical store, but one thing we are both good at is seeing opportunities when they arise and reacting to them quickly to take advantage of them. We had had some success with local pop-up shop events, and when a retail space came over in one of Omaha's coolest neighborhoods, we knew we had to take it. We're excited for the store because it'll give us the space we need to grow. The front is the retail showroom, the back will be our offices when we finish construction, and our growing online fulfillment operations take place out of the full basement. With this space, we'll also have the opportunity to carry more independent designers from all over the world and take more risks with designers that would be harder to sell online. When customers can feel the clothing, see the lining, feel the zipper, see how it looks on, they're more likely to feel that emotional connection to these designers. It's not just a connection to an object, to an item of clothing, but a connection to a maker--a designer--who may live thousands of miles away. It's someone we believe in and support, and we're exposing their work to hundreds of thousands of new supporters through our store--both online and now with this physical location.
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