One of the first things that attracted me to our new home in Pittsburgh was the back yard.

Fenced in for the kids to play.
A deck for our summer dinners with friends and family.
Trees bringing nature and privacy.
Speakers for my music.
A beautiful view of the sunset.

It represented everything that brought me joy and comfort in an otherwise hectic world.

Recently, my kids made it to bed before that sun disappeared in the distance, and I grabbed a glass of wine, threw on a country tune, slid through the opening of the sliding door and sat down with my feet resting up on the deck railing.

It was hot out, but I welcomed the way the calmness blanketed my body.

I could hear myself exhale and swore I could see the stress leave my mind and my body right along with my breath. It was just … quiet.

But within seconds, the noise cut the serenity like lightning strikes the air.

It wasn’t the kids crying. The neighbor’s dog wasn’t barking and a storm wasn’t rolling in.

Instead, it was my mind coming in with its cymbals-and-drums-bearing temper tantrum because it didn’t want to sit. It didn’t want to take a breath, or reflect, or relax or be present. It was instead trying to conduct me to scroll a phone, respond to a client email, wash a dish, fold a t-shirt or organize something.  It wanted to move and go and DO — and it used its usual tactic of laying on the guilt, telling me I was lazy for sitting there, and reminding me that I’d never get ahead if I didn’t do it right then.

Because that’s what its been trained to do.

It’s what I’ve LET it do — especially over the last several years of balancing motherhood, career and life in the center of a world that seems to be convincing us that we need to go faster.

I’ve simply given in to the noise so it didn’t get louder or I didn’t get left behind.

But at the center of this spinning mind is a heart — a heart that knows there was a reason I was drawn to this back yard.  A heart that knows that family, friendship, serenity, music and stillness is what pumps the breaks for me in an otherwise high-speed world. It’s what brings me back to center. It’s what helps me focus on what’s important in a world that’s suggesting its own priorities. It’s what brings me the peace I need to manage the inevitable stresses that come along with daily life.

It’s a heart that tries every day to raise its voice over the noise, but rarely succeeds.

But that night, I let it win.  I needed it to win.

And I will keep fighting to let my heart win until the drumming of my hectic mind is as faint as that last bit of light I enjoyed of that backyard sunset that night.

Because this life is too precious. Our spirits too delicate. Our lives too valuable…

To not find those moments when we can be still and listen to what our hearts need.  To finally hear that whisper that says, “Go for that dream.” To finally hear that voice that says, “Invite that friend over. You need each other.”

To finally listen that voice that says, “Slow down. You are worth it.”

Friends, life pushes us hard and fast.  But your heart is trying to lasso you in to where your spirit needs you to be. Wherever that is — if it’s in a yoga studio, in a book, in a journal, in a cup of coffee that’s still hot on the last sip, on a porch with a friend, on a run with some headphones, or on a deck overlooking a sunset — listen to it.  Go THERE.

I know the noise of life will tell you it will keep you from succeeding or getting anything accomplished… but your heart will remind you it’s part of what you need not just to get there, but to feel peace and happiness while you do.



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