For the first time in many (many) years I am feeling festive. I have declared this fun fact to many of my nearest and dearest. I'm not sure anyone quite understands just how miraculous this feels to me. I am reveling in the feeling. And so, for now, I simply want to say... thank you for being part of my journey, thank you for sharing my joy, and have a blessed and happy holiday season.
Lindy (and Baxter, too.)
This time of year is a reflective time for me. I feel the pace of things slowing down. I welcome the opportunity to thing about the year and begin to think about how I will shift for the year ahead.
For me, making time to truly reconnect with myself at my core allows me to do several things. First, I get to shift if I've drifted too far from my values and core. How do I know if that's happening? For me it's very visceral... I physically feel out of sorts, sluggish, tired, unfocused, a tad crabby --- scrunchy --- if you ever ask me how I'm feeling and I tell you scrunchy, this is what I"m talking about.
Second, I still have time to realign with goals that may have gotten pushed aside. I still have a couple months to make progress before year's end.
Third, I get to start thinking about all that I HAVE done and celebrate in small and not so small ways. For me, the feeling of pride is a great motivator. I love taking inventory of what I've set out to do and bask in what I've accomplished. And by the way, making a decision to change things up also gets celebrated--- probably even more so, because it's sometimes harder to make a change once you've made a decision about something and committed to it. The difference between making a decision to change course versus simply quitting is something only you can define--- BUT, sticking with something that ISN'T working.... is that what you want to celebrate?
So here is a simple way to take start going down that path. Think about your own year... the things you set out to do. Figure out where you are and how you're feeling. Really take stock. Once you've done that, think about what you'd like to Start, Stop & Continue. This is a tactic people use on projects, and you may have even used it yourself.
You want to think about all the things that you're doing or have changed that are working well.... those are the things you want to CONTINUE.
You also want to think about things you're doing that aren't working..... figure out a way to STOP doing those things. A BIG example of this for me is my decision to stop having a retail store front. A SMALL example would be having a monthly set date with a friend for coffee... it turned out that even though we both thought it would make our lives easier and we'd see each other more, it actually was stress-inducing. Rarely could we make the date and ended up rescheduling most of the time. That date idea (for us) had to STOP.
And finally, what do you need to START doing? What kind of feedback have you heard? What would make your life better? And while it can be fun to think of all the great things you could start doing, try to limit it to 1 or 2. Begin that, work it, then go from there.
Getting into this mindset of reflection will prepare you for bigger planning and you'll have lots to start from.
What is one thing your going to Start, Stop or Continue?
It's an interesting thing, this exploration of art and life.
I am not a typical artist (is there such a thing?) I do not have a fine arts degree... I do not have a background in fine arts nor did I grow up in a culturally rich environment.
I DID grow up in a very creative family... my father was an incredibly talented and probably frustrated artist. He could draw anything and one of my favorite memories is the mural he drew on the kitchen wall in oils depicting a winter snow scene. And my mom... well she could whip up curtains, coverlet and pillows in an afternoon without aid of a pattern (she did this on occasion.)
So the creative blood flows through these veins for sure..... and I'm so happy that I have found myself navigating this path. I learn something new, fresh, and amazing daily. One thing that I wasn't prepared for, though, was this idea of the starving artist. I mean, yes, I'd heard that phrase... but, I really had no idea how much this idea permeated our own culture.
I am feeling a little more fired up than usual about this topic because of an online group I belong to. A question was posed by a disappointed artist who had signed up for yet another course promising to teach how to not only make a living but become rich by selling your artwork. She felt scammed because the content was not focused on how to go about building an art business, rather it was about how to host webinars much like the one she was attending. It was rather like the old ads in the newspapers claiming to teach you how to make a million dollars, just send $1 in a stamped self-address envelope and the advice was 'place an ad in the newspaper.......'
I wasn't fired up about her disappointment or the fact that she was trying to discover how to create a business for herself... I was more taken aback by the group's host response. She said that (true) artists are not in it for the money... they are in it to create beauty in the world or to tell a story visually.
And granted, these things can definitely be true. HOWEVER, that does NOT mean we can't build a business or aspire to live abundantly or successfully (however we define this for ourselves) through our art. It's a crazy notion. And even more than that, it's a harmful one. We are being taught that somehow the desire to earn money makes us less than.
I'm calling Bullshit. Stop this insanity. Artists who follow their passions deserve support.... not disdain simply because they are trying to make money.
The world of art is definitely changing because of the internet. No longer is there one clear definition about what success looks like. And now more than ever it has become very accessible to the many. And more art in the world? Can that really be a bad thing?
Art heals. Art transforms.
Stepping down now, from my soapbox.
It will come as no surprise to many of you that I love me some good visioning. It is a technique that I have used to great success for most of my life... from a wee sporty and competitive girl to ambitious woman and all the stages in between, it not only helps me focus, but more importantly it lays the foundation of BELIEVING that I can and WILL achieve what I set out to do.
I have found that often times the thing we want the most is, for whatever reason, the thing we think we can't have.... and that sets in motion a whole lotta challenges that frankly, you just don't need.
A powerful way to turn those self-limiting beliefs around is to engage in some visualization. You have the power within you to create the life you truly desire.
Start at the END... what does your future you look like... what are you doing... how are you living... and what does that feel like? Once you have created a powerful mind-picture (Vision) for yourself, you can work backwards and create goals to help you bring to life this clear vision.
Working one on one with folks to help them map our their course is something I love doing. Seeing you achieve your true desires brings me great joy. One of my favorite quotes, attributed to Theodore Roosevelt is: Believe you can and your halfway there.
What vision are you working on bringing to life?
I just finished a magical meeting with one of my most favorite people, Rebecca Villarreal. Today we were zooming together to think about all the various ways we show up in the world... the various 'income streams' and how we want to move forward in our lives. It is a theme for me to continually check in with myself ... a 'gut check' if you will and it's always more fun when I get the chance to do that with a trusted friend and soul sister.
And what I thought was going to be an 'all biz' focused meeting of creating my income streams (slow down, Corporate Linda) turned into a discovery of messages from the universe. The flow was spontaneous and perfect. it was exactly the thing.
It cleared the way for me to put together some concrete plans around opening up to bigger and greater possibilities... it helped me identify some nagging intuitive things that were signals that I was continuing to bat away like an annoying fly... it helped me grab onto the way my energy expands when I'm thinking and talking about the things I'm passionate about as well as the way I contract when confronted with the stuff that zaps me.
Being aware... truly aware is so powerful. It allows you to make decisions that move you forward and closer to your dreams.
I invite you to spend time dreaming... getting in touch with that inner wisdom... and honoring your instincts. Everything you need, truly is within you.
What are some of your rituals for checking in with yourself?
During this time of year it is only natural to think about making shifts... changes... new beginnings. It is also quite natural to be impacted by the energy of change that is in the air. And it's a great motivator to commit.
Typically we don't have trouble jumping in and starting. The real challenge is in sustaining the momentum.
Change can be difficult. Even when it's a change we WANT. So... to help you sustain the the effort and changes, I offer a few easy steps:
1- Partner with a friend. It can be reinforcing to have someone who knows what you are working towards. She can help cheer you on and keep you on track. Just be sure to understand what your motivators are. Do you like being held accountable? Gentle support? Tough love? Whatever your preferences, have a conversation up front with your partner so you can agree on how best to support each other.
2- Build in reflection time. Often we are so focused on the main goal and outcome that we neglect the effort and changes that are happening along the way. True change doesn't happen overnight. Your willingness to continue the path is worth celebrating. Take time to take stock of not only where you are headed, but where you began. Note the shifts. Celebrate the wins... even if, or especially if you feel there have been detours along the way. Remember, it's not how much we fall down that matters, but how often we get back up.
3- Chart your course for change incrementally. Small steps are easier to incorporate into your life. Let's say you want to wake up an hour earlier each morning. Instead of flipping the switch and setting the alarm to shock your system by an hour in the morning, choose a smaller increment. Maybe 15 minutes earlier. Or 10. Or how about just 5. It won't be so jarring and you'll be able to sustain the changes more easily. Just keep making the small incremental movements until you reach the goal. And then celebrate the hell out of it!
What is a goal you are going after this year? How can I help you get there?
As I glance to the sidebar of my blog I am reminded of an important aspect of living my live and building my dream.... that is, to live a Joy*Filled life.
Winter Soltice is one of my favorite times of year. It provides that space to take a breath in. To contemplate. To release. To renew.
As a coach I often guide those I work with to get clarity around what is important and to keep it sacred. But if I'm being frank, I haven't done my best of that this year. As I close out my first full calendar year heading up The Collage Cafe I have much to be grateful for, and much to shift so that I am living a life more in line with my values.
To that end, I will be taking a winter break from Jan 1 - 14th. I expect to come back with a clear focus for what is next and how I want to get there.... all the while holding onto the dream lightly so that it has time to take shape and transform. AND holding a bit more TIGHTLY to that piece of living a Joy*Filled life.... of living an abundant life in gratitude that makes me happy.
Tell me, how do you honor your values... and more importantly, how do you make sure they don't get the short shrift? Wishing you and yours a sparkling holiday season.
I am still processing. But I am still here. And I feel the need to make a declaration.... a manifesto of sorts...
BUT... I will not be naive.
I WILL MAKE MISTAKES
I believe together we can make a difference.
It is an interesting thing, starting a business. Especially a brick and mortar business. So often these days, most of what I read pertains to online businesses. Start Ups. And all things 'necessary'. to be successful at it.
And there is a LOT of information out there. Let me be clear. THERE IS A LOT OF INFO OUT THERE! And it can definitely feel overwhelming. It can lead to analysis paralysis---there is always a little more to learn, a little more to know, getting to that one perfect piece that helps the rest of the puzzle fall magically into place.
I've learned something, though. Regardless of what the business. Regardless of what you need to learn, there is most definitely going to be a lot of information to sort through, to make sense of, and to leverage for your benefit. So begin. Just because you begin doesn't mean you stop learning along the way. It doesn't mean you can't shift your approach or change your mind. It does mean you won't keep that great idea under wraps, anymore, though.
Here are 4 easy things to do to get started... and by the way, you don't need to be starting a business for these steps to be meaningful to you:
And then sometimes it just doesn't go according to plan at all.....
After a year (?) of solid work and recognizing I needed break and time off, I scheduled a sabbatical. I had a plan. A great plan. It included time with one of my favorite people. Planning. Down Time. Some of my favorite things.
But a funny thing happened. The plan went to hell in a hand basket.
I was so tired. I couldn't think straight. I needed more than a little down time. And even though I had scheduled down time, I couldn't bring myself to do any work, And so there it was. I kept flipping the schedule around to accommodate my need to be disconnected. Shifting. Thinking I'd get to everything. Because that's what I do.
But not this time.
Don't get me wrong. I am an advocate of time off. Of down time. But...I'm also a fan of planning and chunking my time. So instead of reveling in down-time, I kept chastising myself... feeling guilty over the 'lost time'. And instead of feeling accomplished and well-rested, I wound up feeling drained and tired.
And here's what I learned:
- Sometimes I just need to have complete down-time with no schedule at all
- It's good to be aware... I figured it out at the very end of my time off, BUT I FIGURED IT OUT
- Being 'productive' cannot be my only measure of success. How I'm feeling is more important
- I need to start bullet journaling. This doesn't really have to do with my time off, but it is something I learned. : )
I'm excited to try out this new found info.... to test out this permission slip I've granted myself and to begin again.
What are your favorite ways to decompress? What do you like to do when you take time off?
Living a joy*filled life is a top priority. Here I will share what I learn along the way.