Here in Georgia today is the first day of school. I sent my daughter and son off to high school (11th and 9th grades), and my youngest off to middle school (8th grade), and now I’m hope alone with the animals (who are a little confused and pacing about). With a bulging list of things to do that I purged from my overwhelmed head to a page in my journal, it would have been easy for me to seize the opportunity to dive right in to “doing.” Instead, I asked the kid inside me what she needed. “Woods” is how she answered.

It’s important to honor transitions. A big shift occurred today for my family: for each of my kids, for me as their mom, and for the community in which we live. My life isn’t about all the things I can list in bullet points then check off. My life is about savoring the blessings that serve as soil, as nutrients, as sunlight, and as rain for my experience here as Cristin. I’m a human BEING, not a human DOING.

When my kids’ feet hit the hallways of their schools this morning, they weren’t thinking about the homework they’ll inevitably be assigned today (bummer) or all the things they need to do in order to graduate or make honor roll. They weren’t thinking about chores they had to do at home. They were thinking “where are my friends?” “who will I sit with at lunch?” “will I fit in this year?” “I can rise above these nerves and walk confidently in this place” (okay–that last one was what I was hoping they were saying!).

I left my journal and my list behind and as I walked in the woods I was remembering the last 9 weeks with my kids. The moments of connection with each of them and the fun family moments we shared. I soaked in the green that surrounded me on the hiking trails and breathed deeper than I have in a while. I listened–the rustle of the leaves, the rush of the creek, the birds and bugs, the sound of my dog’s four little paws skipping across the Earth. I offered my gratitude for this life. I silently spoke to my angels and to God, opening up to their guidance and to the infinite love that is available to all of us all the time…if we’d only take a moment to stop doing and be in it.

There’s a little kid living inside you who needs something. Take a moment and ask what that is–and feel for the answer. You would never tell a toddler to push through because there’s so much to do, they need to toughen up and get shit done before they play. Yes, we have responsibilities as grown-ups, but we have to take care of the young ones within us or our responsibilities are only getting a part of us.

I want to bring all of me, the best of me, to my work in the world, my relationships, my commitments. It’s my job to make sure that’s who shows up, which means when my inner little girl says WOODS, I go to the woods. The list is still here. Now I can begin to check things off from a place of nourishment, connection, and gratitude. I’ll do that until that school bus rolls around and I get to hear all about how my kids navigated this transition today. I can celebrate them and give them what they need. And that will be just what I need too.

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