Editor’s Note: I’m honored to bring you this beautifully written story and peek inside New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Macy Stafford’s NEW book, Hands Free Life. You can read my review here. Be sure to pre-order your copy by September 7 so you can receive a free eBook of her bestseller Hands Free Mama. Learn more and pre-order your copy here.
During my highly-distracted years, life was a blur—the to-do lists took over … my life was a constant mad dash to a finish line that couldn’t be reached … and my devices were gripped more tightly than the hands of my loved ones.
Five years later, things are different. Now I strive to open my hands, eyes, and heart to the moments that matter. And on this particular day, what really mattered was on my radar.
Out for a morning run while on vacation, I spotted a helpless starfish sitting in a tide pool. I couldn’t remember the last time I saved a starfish like I did when I was a girl.
But on this day, it felt like the right thing to do.
I reached into a shallow tide pool and pulled out a starfish missing a limb. I turned it over expecting to see no movement, but amazingly its tiny tube feet waved at me. The starfish was alive—and it was fighting to survive.
“Breathe,” I whispered to the broken creature. “Breathe.”
Suddenly, it became crystal clear what I didn’t want my life to feel like. Here are the thoughts that went through my head that day—words that have become my daily prayer, my Hands Free Life mantra, my daily vow to breathe:
Vow To Breathe
No longer do I want to feel like I’m always running late.
No longer do I want to feel like I‘ll never catch up.
No longer do I want to feel compelled to rush my children through life.
No longer do I want to feel the brush of a hurried kiss on my husband’s lips.
No longer do I want to feel guilty when I sit down to rest.
No longer do I want to feel depleted and empty.
No longer do I want to fill the sacred spaces of my life with excess.
No longer do I want to feel like each day is a blur.
Instead, I vow to breathe.
I vow to look my children in the eyes and step into their world.
I vow to remember what my heart loves to do and then stop making excuses.
I vow to close my eyes in gratitude and open my eyes wide in wonder.
I vow to have face-to-face, soul-to-soul connection with the ones who share my life.
I vow to
read a book.
Dance in the rain.
Say, “Take your time,” and mean it.
I vow to
Give a good kiss.
Leave a surprise note.
Do absolutely nothing every now and then.
I vow to
So I can truly live.
It’s been five years since I made this vow. My journey has not been perfect. Sometimes I stumble, but I get back up by reminding myself that the to-do list doesn’t contain the most important tasks of the day. My heart tells me what I need to flourish and thrive—as long as I stop long enough to listen.
A portion of this story can be found in Rachel Macy Stafford’s soon-to-be-released book, HANDS FREE LIFE: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, & Loving More. It is a book about living life, not managing, stressing, screaming, or barely getting through life. Through truthful story-telling and life-giving Habit Builders, Rachel shows us how to respond to our loved ones and ourselves with more love, more presence, and more grace.
Don’t miss out on the amazing pre-order deal: With any pre-order of HANDS FREE LIFE comes a free eBook of Rachel’s New York Times Bestseller, HANDS FREE MAMA. Click the link to learn more about the book and pre-order bonus offer good until 9/7 ☞ http://www.handsfreemama.com/hands-free-life-pre-order-goodness/
For more of Rachel’s inspiration, check out The Hands Free Revolution on Facebook!
About Rachel Macy Stafford
Rachel Macy Stafford is a New York Times bestselling author and certified special education teacher with a Master’s Degree in education. A few years ago, this life-‐long writer felt compelled to share her journey to let go of distraction and grasp what really matters by creating what became the tremendously popular blog Hands Free Mama. Using her skills as a writer, teacher, and encourager, Rachel provides readers with simple, non-‐intimidating, and motivating methods to let go of distraction and connect with their loved ones. Rachel lives in the South with her husband and two children who inspire her daily. She has been featured on “Good Morning America,” The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, TIME, MSN, Reader’s Digest, and more. For more information, visit www.handsfreemama.com.