A New Promise

Jan 10, 2021

Photograph by Fabrice Villard

What if you’re striving for something you already have? What if you’re already here?


So here we are, January…we made it! But as we have all seen these last days, the mere flip of the calendar from one year to another didn’t exactly solve all problems. 

So, now what? 

God knows this past year has felt like being caught in a perpetual spin cycle of shifts, turns, and vulnerability — life set on reactionary mode. We’ve all had to renegotiate the way we ‘life-ed’ — from our family units, our work, our social lives and even our relationship to ourselves.

It all got flipped upside down. I’ve actually been calling it the ‘upside down world’. But we also found ways to navigate it — we redefined and declared what mattered most and let go of what didn’t. 

I’ve always been one who responds best to structure, lists, organization — especially in my business. And we all know how that worked out in 2020! Ha. Every time a new protocol was in place, 2 weeks later another was barreling right down behind it. Everything in flux, everything ever-changing. It sure taught us how to be flexible. 

Normally my staff is scheduled out weeks in advance for work, now we’re all playing it day by day. And honestly, I’ve come to appreciate the benefit of pretty much applying that approach to everything (and remember, this coming from a list-maker). 

So what the hell, if life was going to throw me months upon months of curveballs, take away my lists and schedules and routines — I decided to throw my own rebellious curveball back (well, at least it felt like rebellion at first).

My rebellion came in the form of taking a mini break in December! Yes, I actually did — in the midst of all the pre-holiday busyness — a time when I previously would never have considered it. 

Though I couldn’t book a trip anywhere and call for room service, I did something else. I went home to spend time with my daughter True and languish in the womb of winter, the slower pace, the cold winter days, staying in pajamas AALLLL day (for days) — and we got the house ready for Christmas without the usual last-minute frenzied rush. 

And it was wonderful. 

Now keep in mind that I live in a very small cozy cottage — but we covered the place in holiday cheer like two little elves working away. I felt like I was reconnecting to my daughter and my home — all of which had been a bit ignored in all of this COVID chaos. It felt incredibly soothing to my spirit, like recharging my soul batteries. And like no other approach I’ve taken before. 

But it wasn’t all sugar plums and Christmas carols. 

A few days in I began to recognize that there was something that felt off even amidst this Fa-la-la-la-la. Despite the ‘down time’, I realized that I had completely disconnected from my self-care…and the oddest thing was that it kind of felt like I had even forgotten how to do it. It wasn’t enough just to be home. I had to take action steps (and figure out what those steps were). 

Yes, the tree was bedazzled, the halls were decked, twinkly lights and homemade paper snowflakes were hung — but the piles of books that feed my spirit lay piled up and unopened, my luscious lotions and potions sat on the shelf, my journal had cob webs on it, I wasn’t lighting my  candles…it was as if my magical creativity had disappeared. Had I run out of inspiration?

It sounds ridiculous, right? But that’s how it felt. I began flogging myself (because, well, that’s my default). I began to tell myself that I was lazy with no creative ideas left. 

I didn’t feel inspired. In truth, I spent a great deal of time on the couch. In fact, I joked with my friends how I had become a part of the couch.

I giggled, but secretly I worried, is this it? Has all of my creativity withered away? 

In a conversation with my best friend during this time, I listened to her as she recounted her day — how she wrote a blog, worked on her book, took beautiful pictures, mothered, climbed a mountain, built an empire and continued on being Superwoman while folding a load of laundry. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE witnessing and celebrating the success of others. But I felt dried up. I shared this with her when she turned to me and said, “What if you are already here?” That certainly stopped me in my tracks. Already here? Well, I certainly hadn’t considered that one. 

“Yes,” she continued. “What if you’ve already done it and accomplished what the rest of us are scrambling about to achieve — a vision, a thriving business, a community, a love for what we do, connecting and impacting lives? What if you are already here?” Those words reverberated and landed like a much needed hug. 

Yeah! What if I stopped looking around and measuring my process, my growth, my journey, my life — against another? What if I allowed more allowing, less judging of self? What if I needed to sit on the couch at home with seemingly not a thought in my head? Just what if that is exactly what I needed in that moment…to rest and be still? 

What if I didn’t need a slew of new year’s resolutions, but simply a new promise to self?  

Resolve to be good to yourselves. Be grateful. Keep your heart open. Be gentle with your thoughts. Love. Allow. Be. We can’t be creating all the time. Sometimes we need to be ‘being’, less expecting, more sitting in the moment before us. Less beating ourselves up…send that inner critic packing! 

Those words helped me come back to myself. As I sit here on the sofa, I’m relishing in what we built together — a business that became a family, a place that has kept us safe and secure and has fed us in more ways than we could’ve imagined. 

And talk about creative…bolstered by the love of this blessed café community — we’ve thrived during the darkest days. 

Some days we expand. Some days we sit in the expansion and observe it. Some days are simply for daydreaming. All this to say dear ones…be kind to yourself as you travel through this thing called life. 

And for now, I remind myself: 

Doing what I am doing, is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Doing what I am doing, is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Doing what I am doing, is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

I am here in this moment appreciating and trusting it.

Grateful for everything that is in place and welcoming and receptive to any and all new inspirations and creative thoughts that may trickle in in their own time. Exhaling from the sofa. It’s a nice place to be. 

I’m not going to allow another year to rob me of my joy. Are you in?

And P.S. Here we are one week into 2021 under our belt, maybe you’ve already even begun to beat up on yourself for broken resolutions? Kick the resolutions to the curb and just BE dear ones. Start again, sit in stillness and just allow yourself to be with it all. Embrace your present. That’s the promise I’m carrying in with me. The rest can hit the road!

— Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Café Woodstock


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