Out of the Woods

You should know this going in (and I hope this doesn't make me a terrible person in your eyes)... I'm not a huge Taylor Swift fan.

But against my better judgment... I've been obsessed with her song, "Out of the Woods," for the past week or so. In fact, I currently have it playing on repeat as I write this. Sue me. ;)


The past two weeks have been just insane. Running a business is not for the faint of heart. It's hard! It requires so much effort, strength, stamina, and energy. It requires grit and hustle and grace and rest. And balancing them all is tricky!

It's a true rollercoaster. There are highs (great heights!) and there are lows (deep lows). Peaks and valleys. And if you're anything like me, the valleys can grate against your soul. And you want out. Or as Tay would say, out of the woods. You want to fight through the lows to get back to the heights. Cue her song. It feels good to blast it in your car and sing it, right?

But while the heights are amazing and good... and I'm still obsessed with that song... I want to offer a new thought.

When we try to live life avoiding the woods and the valleys... we don't learn anything. We don't grow.

In the past few weeks, I've been desperately trying to get out of a low. But all my climbing and clawing and hustling hasn't helped my mind reach a peaceful place. Frantically fighting to get out of the woods, while a totally natural response, has only burned me out more. 

But you know what I've found does help my heart when I'm in a valley? Being still. Reflecting on the present low. Asking what the moment is teaching me. 

Right now I'm learning to unclench my fists. To let go of the desperate fight for control.

It's not going to help me get anywhere; it's just going to make me sick. It's going to trick me into thinking I have to save the world because everything depends on me, then totally paralyze me when things inevitably go wrong.

Newsflash, Kristen. You don't have to save the world. That's not your job.

Letting go is hard for me. I like control. Or at least, I think I do.

I like to think that I can wrap everything up in a neat little package and keep myself safe from worry, vulnerability, and failure. I like to fool myself into thinking everything is always picture-perfect and pretty on the outside. But if we're honest, sometimes on the inside, things aren't so pretty. Sometimes the inside is shaky and raw. 

I'm learning that I value honesty and transparency more than I value a false illusion of perfection. So here's the truth: 

I'm not perfect. And I never, ever will be. And neither will my business. It will always be messy. Because I'm a human. A terribly complicated but gloriously beautiful human. 

Just saying that brings me so much relief. Yes, I'm in a valley. But if I weren't in a valley, maybe I'd still be pretending my messiness away.

There's something to learn in this low. And I will be better for it.

Getting out of the woods and into a clearing feels good, yes. But it is much more satisfying when the woods shape our character. When we emerge stronger, better than before.

So the next time you're in the woods, remember to learn from it as you run.

No, you don't have to stay there, but we all have to visit the forest sometimes and let the clean, wild air heal our souls. 



Here's the song if you wanted to take a listen. Love you all.