I’ve been working way too much lately. It feels crappy. And I’ve felt too ashamed to tell you. Yes, I agree that the ‘glorification of busy’ isn’t healthy, but neither is the shame I’d developed by keeping it in the dark and slapping a ‘but I love my work so I can do it all day, every day’ tag on it, because I’m not buying it.
It’s been a big, beautiful and busy start to the year. Add to that a few Big Life Decisions and Unexpected Life Happenings (you’re a human being so you know the drill) and I woke up last week, looked at myself in the mirror and said: ‘Claire, you look like crap.’
I was exhausted. Dark circles under my eyes. Emotional. Dull skin. Holding a conversation was a strain and the thought of sitting down at my computer to work almost brought me to tears.
I champion exquisite self care all day long with my clients – I KNOW it is essential for our health and creative callings – yet I hadn’t been walking my talk.
So I decided to take the day off. I had a juice with my girlfriends, a massage and some cupping and jumped into a mini ‘home retreat’ for a few days. (A quick and grateful nod to Life With Che’s ‘Journey Within’ home retreat here which guided me through this – I’ll talk more about it soon.)
I read fiction books, slept, drank cups of tea, slept, had wine at lunch, slept, Skyped and watched silly movies – and the trailer to the upcoming Magic Mike XXL more times than I’d like to admit…
It was all delicious. But then Saturday night, I found myself at home alone (a rare occurrence – I live with 4 boys!) and so I decided to turn some tunes on and make some art.
But I couldn’t find a paintbrush. This may not sound like a big deal, but to me it is. I always have paintbrushes in my house! That’s just me! But no, there was not one paintbrush to be found. And so I had a little moment…
Who the f*ck am I again?
I realised that I’ve been diving so deep into the creative processes that my job demands (please let me express my infinite gratitude for this work here!) that I have been placing too much emphasis on ‘singular focus’ and long, painful hours in front of the computer. Which is completely counterintuitive to my natural flow; I tend to gravitate towards a more feminine approach of intuitive cycling between tasks, beautifying, collaborating and taking breaks.
However, as an entrepreneur and business owner, ‘work’ is certainly an area I am frequently forced to reassess and rejig; it’s so easy to fall into the more ‘logical’ masculine approach, but for me, it’s just not a sustainable energy.
And I’ve let slip so many of the creative desires I have OUTSIDE of my job!
Like painting. Op-shopping. Sewing and crafting. Beautifying. Collecting vintage teapots (seriously). Cutting old t-shirts into off-the-shoulder tops. Filling my house with flowers. Lighting candles. Framing travel photos. Cooking. Connecting. Exploring.
Basically, I’ve been hanging out in my ‘yang’ and my ‘yin’ is hollering for some love. Gala Darling know’s what’s up…
So The Exhaustion combined with The Paintbrush Incident, combined with my increasing
obsession interest in the yin/yang lunar cycles, combined with the epic astrological show down that’s happening this week (a solar eclipse this Friday at a new moon plus this extraordinary cosmic arrangement) combined with a self-imposed soulful slap down (ie. Claire, you know better. Take care of yourself!) has resulted in a few questions being thrown around in my mind.
Here’s a few that you might find interesting and perhaps relevant to where you are at right now too:
1. Who the f*ck am I again?
2. How can I trust this situation, without understanding it?
3. What if I did less?
4. What if the outcome doesn’t matter?
5. What if I’ve changed my mind?
6. What if my ideal creative flow isn’t singular focus – and that’s OK?
7. What if I charged more money?
8. What if procrastination isn’t always resistance?
9. If this is all just an opportunity for me to express myself, who do I want to be? (See question 1)
10. What if coffee/caffeine is taking me out of the feminine and into the masculine – too often?
11. How can I be more vulnerable and authentic, without publicly glorifying my vulnerability and authenticity?
12. How can I plan without expectation?
13. How can I devote further AND rest more?
14. Where can I create space?
15. Where am I being unrealistic?
16. How can I beautify my life?
17. What if I simply trusted?
Right now, I’m loving my non-attachment to this: no story really here, just a gentle nudge to soften a little more. I know I’m figuring out what works for me. And just as importantly, what doesn’t.
First step: Buy a paintbrush.
I’d love for you to share today’s musings with your tribe – heaven knows we haven’t all got our shit together all of the time. It’s nice to remember that sometimes.