I am going to tell you a secret. I have a strange addiction. No – I don’t eat cotton balls. Yes -- I love wine, shoes and shopping like any other woman. But would you believe me if I told you I live and die for something else? It’s the one thing I might go crazy without.
Nope, not coffee.
Are you ready?
I am addicted to good old-fashioned “to-do” lists. I’m serious. When I jump out of bed in the morning, it’s the first thing I do. Scratching those words onto a fresh piece of paper is like creating a road map. Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night and think about my little lists. I’m the peanut butter, and my list is the jelly. I’m the chips and my list is the dip. We just go together like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I run my own business and so my list is the way I make sure I don’t screw up.
But just today, it hit me that I’ve been leaving one life-changing landmark off of my list. I’ve failed to add one word. And it should be there EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Moving forward, this word will be numero uno on my little list:
Ok – let me clarify. Obviously I’m not talking about the kind of breathing you do with your lungs. Duh.
I mean the kind of breathing you do when you allow yourself to stop working for a minute and simply go for a walk. I’m talking about taking a breather to admire the sunset (without capturing it through the lens of the phone that’s permanently attached to your hand). The kind of breathing you do when you’re not on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat. The kind of breathing you do when you are talking to your grandmother in Heaven or admiring your mother’s beautiful face (in person and not on Facetime).
Yes—that kind of breathing.
I didn’t realize this was missing because I’ve been so busy trying to be the perfect worker, the perfect wife, the perfect family member, the perfect friend, the perfect holiday host, the perfect neighbor, etc. And I’m not gonna lie – I was working so hard, I started to suffocate. And when you suffocate – you can’t BREATHE.
But today, thanks to my magical friend Rhiannon, I realized just how important breathing is. And just how painfully I’ve been ignoring it.
When Rhiannon asked if I’d help her with her Holiday Blog shoot I honestly thought, “Ummmm… Sorry Charlie. Sounds fun, but like, I don’t have time for that.” Apparently my brain and mouth weren’t on the same page. “Yes!!! I’d love to,” I said. My brain was really annoyed at my mouth for awhile after that.
Don’t get me wrong, spending time with Rhiannon is always magical and a treat in itself (which is a whole other blog post) but I couldn’t imagine how I’d break away from work and all of my holiday preparations and obligations.
But when I showed up at Rhiannon’s studio today, something magical happened. I started to BREATHE. And a few minutes after that, I started to SMILE. Next came LAUGHTER and soon all of my troubles started to melt like snow. The thing is, to prepare for a shoot with Rhiannon, is to prepare to be a princess. It involves make-up, apparel fit for royalty, shoes. It’s like girl-heaven on crack. That’s just the beginning. Rhiannon has a divine collection of clothing she adoringly refers to as the “enchanted closet.” And it’s not just a name. It truly is enchanting. There is something magical and mysterious about going through another woman’s closet and being encouraged to try everything on. With each dress and outfit change, I began to unwind. I began to relax. Yes – I was breathing. I even thought back to the times my baby sister and I used to dig into our closet of “dress-up” clothes as children and use our imaginations. When was the last time you used your imagination? When was the last time you did something for yourself (and I don’t mean shopping at Sephora). When was the last time you let yourself BREATHE?
In between one of our outfit changes today, I could hear Rhiannon say , “Today was the best medicine.” She was right. I know she’s been working just as hard. She’s one of the most amazing entrepreneurs I know and I admire her so much. But we all need to breathe a little more. Live a little more. Unplug. Work will always be there. So will obligations. My to-do list will always be long, with things left unchecked. But life isn’t long and we won’t always be privileged to walk here on this Earth. So please take a moment to breathe.
I felt so good after our shoot. Maybe even…enchanted. And even though tomorrow’s to-do list might only include things like “baking cookies” and “loving my family,” I am going to gladly put “breathe” at the very top. Not just tomorrow, but always.