I ended October throwing my hands up. I reluctantly admitted I’d run myself into the ground from fighting my slipping physical and mental health with pride and impatience. While life has dealt me some tricky cards in the past few months – the way I’ve handled it has not displayed the grace and resilience I normally tackle challenges with.

More than anything – my biggest frustration is knowing how constantly I fixed my eyes on a few obstacles that I miss so much of the goodness I have going for me. I was disappointed in the way I crowded my mind with the cracks rather than counting my blessings.

So I did what Riley Paul always does when she decides it’s time for a change: and I made absurdly unrealistic goals of how I would completely toss my baggage to the side, and strut into November a ~brand new woman~. (I legitimately deemed this month “No Bullshit November.”) When I eagerly announced my plans to miraculously grow into the best version of myself possible in only 30 days, (cool Ri, good idea!) I received the same reaction from all the friends I trust most. A laugh and a well-intentioned eye roll to remind me to pace myself, tiger. Against their warnings – I stubbornly tried to close the door on any stressors and move along into a new chapter, no strings attached.

But I’m learning that maybe we have to carry baggage for a while in order to grow stronger from it.

Despite all the parts of myself I’ve been trying to forcibly change – perhaps what needs change more than anything is the way I see growth. I carry myself with a lack of grace where every day I’m not “there yet” goes down as a failure. However, in the last 3 years, I’ve climbed from the end of my rope to the top of my game again and again. And with that in hindsight, I have to pause and remind myself that the most fulfilling moments throughout that climb have been the sweet in-betweens where I’ve found joy in unexpected places, or stopped to look back at how far I’d come.

I suppose in order to authentically grow from your journey, you don’t get to choose what you’re going to learn. Rather, you have to find the courage to let light be your guide and be open to learning whatever it will teach you. I’m reminding myself that growth isn’t linear, but always upward. I think embracing that mindset is the most important place to start. When I trust the best is yet to come – I make decisions out of love and not out of fear.

And as predicted, “No Bullshit November” has quickly proven to not be the fast break I hoped for. But I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. I’ve learned (yet again) by releasing control and being able to find peace in uncertainty – this is where I grow the most beautifully. I suppose I want to approach this next season searching for the balance of seeking growth – but trusting I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Hi Riley,

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your deepest thoughts. You are a beautiful woman inside and out.

    I see you and can feel the yearning inside that can’t quite express itself yet. You are reaching higher my friend. Everything will be ok. The spirit of flowing waters are awake and alive.

    I’m here as a friend, a mentor, or even as a coach if you need any support. Just text, email or call me.

    All my best Cindi

    Cindi Melkerson Certified Health and Life Coach Arbonne Independent Consultant c:203-817-1881



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