Quite a few domain names were considered before settling on slowandsimpleliving. It won out for the depth and breadth of things it allows me to write about and the lifestyle choices it anchors me to. I have wanted to launch this website and blog for quite some time but each attempt to begin was met with my own internal confusion and indecision. I have been a little hard on myself for the "slowness" of the process and felt that surely I should be able to just whip this thing together. In my prior life as a priest I was accustomed to asking a question in meditation, quieting enough to receive an answer and stepping out on it promptly and without hesitation because that is how I was taught. I can't say that I was always 100% on board with the forward movement but, for the most part, I did what was asked of me as the consequences of doing otherwise bore too high a cost on many fronts. While there was much to be learned and gained from moving ahead swiftly, the neglect of the 5% of me that was not fully on board has come back to haunt me in ways I will revisit another time. The process I have been in since leaving my life as a priest serving a spiritual community and embracing my role as spouse, mother and "ordinary person" has been a very organic one. It has been a slower process of "feeling" my way forward each step of the way. With each stride the landscape and horizon shift just enough that the next step of the journey reveals itself naturally. In contemplating this it occurs to me that the process I have been engaged in is one of "re-branding". Before this transition, my primary self-identification was my priesthood. It defined who I was and was a statement to the world around me about what was most important and central in my life. The role of spouse, mother, therapist, adventurer came secondary and tertiary to that role. Being a priest was far more than a "role", it was a deep internal conviction about my life's purpose. From the clothing I wore to the rituals I practiced to the lifestyle I lived, I embodied this role with my whole being. It defined me and informed every aspect of my existence. Since doffing the clerics and leaving my active ministry behind, I have painstakingly tried to figure out who I am all over again and what my life is all about now. The roles of spouse, mother, sister, friend, employee, manager are fairly straightforward as they all carry with them a certain parameter of activities and responsibilities...but those roles do not define me...they are not who I am. Yes, I am all of them but so much more...as is true for everyone. My priesthood is still very much alive in a much more interior sort of way. It is what drives me at my core. It is a deep internal commitment to know what truly makes my heart sing and to do that in spite of whatever obstacles I might encounter along the way. In order to discover what makes my heart sing, I had leave that life behind me...a life and a role I never dreamed that I would leave. This deep internal commitment prompted me to change course, slow down and pay closer attention to the sacramental nature of the ordinary moments in my life with my husband, daughters and with myself. While certain aspects of that prior life were easy to let go of, much about it has been gut wrenching and hard. Walking around in clerics and a cross the size of a Madonna crucifix was a rare opportunity that I was blessed to have. It made me squeamish at times for all the assumptions people made about what it meant that I would wear such attire. It prompted stares and a certain flavor of conversation which only that kind of outfit could. It forced out the small talk and allowed me the chance to connect with people on the deepest level...for better or for worse. It forced me to get clear about what I knew to be true from my own internal experiences and what I was willing to stand on. In an odd sort of way, leaving and embracing a slower simpler life has done much the same. "Re-branding" feels like taking the gems of the original product and recreating the package through which the product finds its way into the world. In an odd sort of way, as I discover myself emerging on the other side of this crazy time of transition, that is just what I feel I have done.
I'm Kelly Isabelle.
Full-time workin' mama & spouse aspiring to live a slowly paced, sustainably minded, creatively expressed, clutter-free life shared with kindred folk.