Freeing Yourself to Float

Freeing Yourself to Float |

I find it difficult to relax. I wish I didn’t, but I do. In the rare moments I find to pause and be still, my mind ends up wandering in a million different directions and questions start to ping pong around in my head: What time is Jack’s therapy this afternoon? Did I call to reschedule Kristen’s appointment for next week? I’ve been cleaning all morning, why is the house still a disaster? Did I pay the power bill? Can I pay the power bill? On and on they tumble.

Do you have this problem, too?

Recently, my husband was feeling under the weather and decided it would be best to leave an hour early from work so he could come home and recharge. So, the kids and I picked him up at the train station, bought a couple frozen pizzas, and enjoyed dinner together as a family. In spite of my husband’s cold, it was a rare and calming moment of togetherness.

The next morning, my husband still wasn’t feeling well so I decided to let him sleep in. Normally, he would wake up at 5:30am, help Jack get showered and dressed, feed him breakfast, pack his lunch, and load him on the bus by 6:45am before hopping on his bike to ride to the train station and boarding the T for his 45 minute commute in town.

But that morning, he slept and Jack and I shared the morning together. And I was amazed by how much my boy has grown. He showered, got himself dressed, and sat down calmly for breakfast on his own. Then, he started a conversation with me about his school day. My child who would recite Dr. Seuss novels to the letter on repeat every day for months and months, brought me into his world through language. More than that, he engaged with me. He answered my questions and looked in my eyes when I spoke with him. And, in that moment, I felt like a door was unlocked to his world. Like the barriers that had stood between us for so long floated away.

Soon thereafter, the school bus arrived. I loaded Jack up next to his best bus buddy and waved goodbye as the bus pulled away from our street. I came inside and found myself sitting down at the kitchen table, surrounded by quiet. Jeff and Kristen were still sleeping and, at first, I was not sure what to do. My first instinct was to clean, sort, load, wash. But after unloading a few dishes from the dishwasher, it occurred to me that I had a rare opportunity to do something I wanted to do, not needed to do. The house was clean enough, my oldest was off at school, and the rest of my family was sleeping. So, I sat back down and committed to do what I wanted to do until everyone else woke up – sit and be still.

My mind wanted to wander. It wanted to ask those million questions. So, I took advice from Allison Vesterfelt’s Writing to Find Yourself and wrote some Morning Pages (a free writing exercise where you don’t think, you just write.) I wrote in my journal, pen to paper, and for the first time in a long time I felt like the questions that were constantly swimming around in my brain were transferred from my mind to the page. And when I had finished writing (ie when my hand got too cramped to continue), I found myself feeling lighter. Floating.

So often, I think, we deny ourselves that floating feeling. We do what we must do, because after all it must be done, but when we choose to do so during those quiet spaces, we lose something valuable – ourselves. I could have done the dishes, started another load of laundry, and straightened the house, but would I have felt fulfilled by that which I do multiple times a day every day? Probably not. Sometimes, we need to let go of what has to be done or the way things have always been done (such as my husband being the one to care for Jack each morning or me always giving in to the questions tumbling around in my brain) so that we can reach inside ourselves and release what is aching to be set free.

That morning, I needed to connect with my son, to hear his voice, and look into his eyes. I needed to let go of the routine that would have prevented me from having that moment with him. I needed to release the questions that were plaguing me, playing on repeat like a movie I’ve seen too many times. To put them on paper and let them go.

I want to make a regular practice of this, but it is hard. I want to let go more. To float more. But find myself so caught up in daily life and my own head, that I often fail to get quiet and let go of what is bubbling up inside of me.

Do you feel this way, too? Or are you able to relax when given the chance? What things calm you and put your mind at ease when it wants to race in a million different directions?

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Erica - Let Why Lead

Oh my goodness, I LOVE the concept of letting yourself float. How beautiful. And I completely know what you mean. It’s actually similar to what I wrote about today, except I was focusing a little more on the rush, and you focused a little more on the stillness. I love both equally.


    Erica, we really do share a writing wave length or something because I was just thinking the same thing about your post! I absolutely love how you talked about the rush you get from exploring. From being free and embracing a moment that can’t be recreated. It just has to be lived in. Beautiful!


I love this post. I often feel these million questions spin around in my mind too. This tip about free writing is great. Now I need to get a journaling program that will actually not be simply Notepad or Word becuase I use these for my blog and would feel that I had to write for the public.


    Astrid, yes! I had to do exactly that – separate myself from my computer and write. Boy did my hand cramp up fast, but it was worth it :) I’ve journaled since I was young, but had lost touch with it the past few months. I had forgotten how much it helps me clear my head! You are a beautiful writer and I think journaling could be awesome for you (for anyone!) And the journal doesn’t need to be anything fancy or special. The important thing is that it’s a space that feels like *you* where you can just be yourself and write freely.

Beth Clay

This is such a beautiful post. Sometimes it seems our lives are going so fast that we can’t just stop. I think this was the worst for me at the height of Coopers therapy and when all of the children were young…It took me a very long time to figure out just how needed that time was. For a long time, the only break I had was church, it was also the only time my husband and I were able to do anything alone together. I loved dropping the kids off and sitting there for an hour and a half. It made me really love church :)


    Beth, I so identify with that! We recently pulled back on our family’s collective outpatient therapies and appointments (we were up to 16 a week at one point) and focused instead on in home- and school-based services because we realized there wasn’t any space for us as a family or as individuals anymore. Though I absolutely love (and miss!) Jack’s outpatient therapists, it really was something our family needed to do to gain more peace and quiet both at home and within ourselves. It has proven beneficial to all of us, including Jack! I think it is so wonderful that you and your husband are able to connect and enjoy quiet together at church. Love that!


I haven’t written in like 10 days…I need to try to make some writing time tonight or tomorrow! Love this.


    Girl, you have had plenty on your plate! And #31Days is doing awesome as a result! You are a beautiful writer – you’ll get back in the swing of things in no time :)


This is great! It is difficult to find that floating feeling. I do enjoy pouring out all my thoughts on paper too. You’ve inspired me to it more often!


It is, Chantale. It really is. It sounds weird to say that it takes work to relax, but I believe it does, at least at first. I feel like I’m going to have to train my mind to do it, but I’m hoping practice will help! And I’m so glad this inspired you to write with pen and paper! I find it so therapeutic.


    That’s really thinking at an imessprive level

Beth Brown

Before you got to the writing and floating part, look what happened:

‘ … Jack and I shared the morning together. And I was amazed by how much my boy has grown. …I felt like a door was unlocked to his world. Like the barriers that had stood between us for so long floated away.”
Celebrate Jack’s growth and celebrate that you had a the chance to observe it! We are not always the ones who get to see the change in our 24/7/365 parenting.


    Totally agree, Beth! I feel so blessed to have shared that morning and that moment with him!