Hello, creative friend!
I hope that that your 2012 is off to a fabulous start. You haven't heard from me for a while -- and you'll find out why, below.
Before you too start saying "no" to anything new, I hope you'll say "yes" to working with me at the wishBIG e-camp, which starts in a few days. So many great teachers, so much creative mojo to share. Find out more below.
Just Say No. Nicely.
We all understand -- intellectually, at least -- that life moves in cycles. At times we are expansive, full of generosity and yeses. At other times, we contract and turn inward toward what already exists. I find myself in one of those cycles of erecting and protecting my boundaries, even though it is difficult and sometimes painful to do so. When you're used to saying yes, and feel strongly about being of service to others, it isn't easy to lock the door. I'm always fascinated when creative friends take an interwebs sabbatical, shuttering their blogs and all social media activity while they focus on life unplugged. I've never done that myself, but I understand its appeal.
After months of extreme output, finishing my coaching certification and launching Open Studio, I find that I must now be absolutely ruthless in deciding on yeses. With an increasing mound of editorial work and domestic adventures, I acknowledge that no one can be productive for 18 hours a day for months on end and not end up with a twitchy eye, an overtired brain, and a compromised immune system. For now, simply following through with the things I've already taken on are more than enough to eat up every available moment.
So I draw the line. I'm saying no to anything new until at least the end of March. I have a very clear list of the ongoing yeses, and anything outside of that list simply doesn't make the cut. Even things that are within the scope of what I consider relevant and potentially meaningful are getting nixed. Need me to supply cupcakes for the Valentine school party? "No." Ask me to write a feature article for a local media outlet? "No." Want me to build a website for an important nonprofit on a tight schedule and tighter budget? "No." A close friend hopes to come for an overnight visit during my workdays? "No." A colleague asks me to co-produce a local arts expo? "No."
I say no nicely, but I don't over-apologize, and I don't self-flagellate. It's simple: "No."
Just a few months back, I would easily have said yes to any one of these requests -- because each one is tied in some way to something I value. But right now my priorities are myself (which includes my personal creative work and fitness), my family, and the three businesses I am growing or maintaining. I owe my best self to that list. Any prospective tasks or projects have to meet clear criteria in order to make it through. Now is not the time to get waylaid by commitments that don't follow a direct path from A (already signed up) to B (meaningful outcome).
It won't always be this way. As this cycle draws to a close over time, I will eventually find myself breathing a little more easily and feeling less pressured. I'll start getting itchy to say yes. I'll have room to share, and so I will.
Then, when that request for classroom cupcakes comes through again, I'll have a different response: "Chocolate, or vanilla?"
"I never violate an inner rhythm. I loathe to force anything. I don't know if the inner rhythm is Eastern or Western. I know it is essential for me. I listen to it and I stay with it. I have always been this way. I have regards for the inner voice." ~Lee Krasner
WishBIG e-camp Starts Sunday!
I'm delighted to be part of the teaching roster at the wishBIG ecamp! This fabulous online course is structured like no other, thanks to the creative genius of Mindy Tsonas at wishstudio. Wherever you live, the wishBIG ecamp allows you to connect with other creatives and get your 2012 mojo going strong.
February 19 through 26, 2012
Online: eight 2-hour workshops (self-paced)
Free for wishstudio members ($86 for non-members)
It's time to gather round the creative fire!
Your week at ecamp includes:
- Eight (2-hour) online creative living workshops from a host of fabulously inspiring Camp Counselors, each bringing their own special talent and insight to help you wishBIG, createBIG, and liveBIG! In addition to myself, your instructors include Connie Hozvicka, Vivienne McMaster, Chris Zydel, Amy Palko, Jenna McGuiggan, Stacy De La Rosa, and Rachel Awes.
- Daily ecamp mail! Inspiration Postcards (sent via e-mail) created especially for YOU by our talented teachers for a little extra creative spark, each day of camp.
- Evening campfire gatherings designed specially for the group and the work at hand! These fun and inspirational nightly gatherings are created from what comes up specifically for us as a group. Mindy tunes into the thoughts and activity of each day and thoughtfully carves out space for a relevant community discussion. These tend to be intimate, powerful and wonderfully connective whether you sit in the circle quietly or dive deeply into the conversation.
- Supportive kindred community with our own private group for sharing thoughts and work throughout your camp experience, as well as individual support and cheering from each of our ecamp Counselors within their workshop and beyond.
- An easy, go-at-your-own-pace format that allows you to work through the workshops in a way that best meets your needs. All classes will be available online for one month, and are self paced.
My own course is A Life of Intention: Your Map for the Next 12 Months (Thursday, 2/23). In this workshop, you'll create an empowered and inspired map for the next 12 months that moves you toward your longer-term goals. This process involves naming your intentions, gathering your assets, and making your map. It's a dose of inspiration and clarity!
Won't you join us? For more details and to register, click here.
"Journal writing is, in the first instance, a private communication with the self -- a process of deep listening."
~Dr. Gillie Bolton
How do you listen deeply to yourself?
Reprinted from the International Association for Journal Writing (www.IAJW.org) by permission.