A Season of Getting Clear ~ My 3 Step Plan

 

On the days leading up to the 31st, I’ve been excitedly working my way through The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. I’m realizing this past season has given me the gift of clarity. This was a Year of Major Change for me, namely a career change—but what I didn’t realize was that the cloud would lift on just about everything. It’s a good thing to enter January with a clear head, content heart, and insatiable desire to keep this momentum going. I am grateful.

There were 3 things I did to untangle the knots of the day to day. It wasn’t a get-a-pen-make-a-uber-long-list-post-it-on-every-surface-in-the-house plan. Thankfully, it unfolded naturally as I settled into the idea of completely swapping my entrepreneur life for a teacher’s schedule.

The first thing I did was turn off the noise.

It came in so many forms…Facebook, Twitter, blogging, blog reading, steadily capturing and posting my life (dinner plate and all)…as if it wouldn’t be real without cyber documentation. It was a huge relief to let it go cold turkey–almost like leaving a noisy lunchroom and going outside on the a park bench alone. I could actually hear my own thoughts again and separate them from what was swirling around me in my self-created Land of Needing to Share. I slept better. I enjoyed moments more because they belonged to only me and the person I was experiencing them with. It would still be a memory even if it didn’t show up in a blog feed.

There’s an incredible amount of HUSTLE when you work for yourself, especially when there’s art involved. I’m an introverted extrovert in that I gain energy from being alone (the obsessive planning part) and plunking myself in the middle of people (the marketing/relationship building part). To be really, really honest, the hustle never felt like a fun dance to me. It was like putting on someone else’s oversized clothes and flailing my way through a routine on stage. I admire and respect folks who can do this their whole career—it takes so much energy and thought! When I was certain I was ready to completely cross over (out of working for myself), it was incredibly freeing to let go of the vehicles that propelled this soft shoe that I was so busy refining. Just showing up and doing my thing was beginning to sound really appealing. It was also very clear that a strong desire for quiet was welling up in my heart.

The 2nd strategy in advancing toward the clarity finish line surfaced by accident.

Hyper-focus on one task is surprisingly helpful.

Teaching elementary school is incredibly rewarding, yet totally all-encompassing. I throw everything I have into the 3rd graders sitting with expectant faces in room 302. It started on Day One and only seems to be gaining speed. It’s a fast moving environment when I’m doing my thing and I find it so great to see their engagement. No texting, no screen domination…they’re not there yet (thankfully) and they want all of me and I’m happy to give it. There is little room to quibble about anything during a busy school day (heaven knows there was a heck-uv-a-lotta quibble fest in my studio…”Queen of Quibble”, that was me). This new job grounds me and the mission at hand is very definable:

Teach curriculum in the most creative way possible while building relationships with kids.

Who knew? Brilliant. Quibbles be gone.

The other interesting thing about uni-tasking is that I am able to turn it off when I leave class and head home. My home life has become much simpler (well…house-peeing dogs, Mom Taxi and microwave macaroni explosions aside). I always had a hard time meshing the scrambling entrepreneur artist lady with the mom person. I know my kids could sense my ambiguity with this dilemma. “Are you going to be much longer on the phone?” “Are you posting this picture?!” “Spaghetti again?”

You know what? I love turning on HGTV in the background, whipping out the chips and salsa, and catching up with my girls while I destroy the kitchen with a new creation. I like reading for pleasure….and movie watching…and gabbing with PH while we steam the nightly espresso. It’s disappointing to me to think about how distracted I was in years past. I will admit the past four months have been a ping pong game of school-home-school-home without much else going on. Frankly, this transition required 100% for me to insure that all involved were getting my best. I also will say that with The Desire Map has come a revelation that I am in desperate need of my girlfriends. I have amazing women in my life who I’ve been neglecting equally since September and it’s time to circle back around and connect. ‘Excited for future plans brewing for this season with the tribe.

The 3rd decision was a long time coming and has gradually become an addiction.

It’s a simplify-pare down-declutter dance I’m learning.

I recently found the term Reduction Rebel on this site and I really love it. I’m embracing it with squeezy arms. ‘Strangest thing that a clear counter (as in, just the coffee maker and knife block taking up real estate) can bring ridiculous amounts of glee in this rebel. I’ve been doing weekly “passes” through the house with a Goodwill-bound box firmly in hand…it’s actually quite fun. The fam seems to be on board too and I’m grateful I’m not playing tug-of-war with too-small clothes and countless race t-shirts with my beloveds. My classroom is next…I’m feeling a sort of kickin-ass-and-takin’-names strength in the face of all of the crap-ola that has accumulated in this busy life.

Clear spaces nurture creative breathing space.

I’m sure of this. So sure that I’m willing to bet there will be an alarming downsizing percolating when the kidlets leave home. It’s appealing to fantasize about the freedom that owning less can bring. In the meantime, I’m trying hard not bring in more stuff (a trying feat in the face of post-holiday put-aways), but I’m feeling motivated to use what I have. The wardrobe pare-down has been an eye-opening process…and although I’m no Project 333 goddess, I am whittling away a clothes rack that doesn’t overwhelm my tired eyes in the morning. More on this later…I’ve been crafting a post on this and will reveal it in the new year.

So..there you have it. In a verbose fashion as only I can master, I have recorded what this season has been for my future self ….and for you, dear lovelies, who so graciously read my flip-floppy tirades about what I’m becoming. I do believe I’ve arrived at what suits me best. I haven’t felt a me-ness like this in a long time…it’s truly wonderful.

Here’s hoping your new year is happy and bright! I do recommend Danielle’s book for nailing down your Core Desires. It has been so helpful. I will share my own process after the 1st of the year.

So much love to you!

OX.

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10 Responses to A Season of Getting Clear ~ My 3 Step Plan

  1. Julia says:

    What a great post, Lara! I really appreciate the journey you’ve made. I love your new strength. This post isn’t the breathless, I’m-behind-on-social-media, kind of posting that I see so much elsewhere. Your post is an honest-to-goodness genuine share, the kind of easy sharing warm friends give when they meet over coffee to catch up. You have a beautiful, confident, clear attitude. It makes me think of a the kind of strength that’s under a solid building, the ancient stones that hold up all the beautiful architecture. I am so glad for you! You’ve given me some really good stuff to think about. Thank you for sharing this. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed New Year!

  2. larablair says:

    You sweet sparkly woman! Thank you for such kind words…I was hoping that it would come across as a genuine share instead of hey-look-at-me-I’m-getting-it sort of thing. Heaven knows it’s taken so long to get it :) I hope this year is a wonderful one for you…full of goodness and sparkle (of course!). ox

  3. Lara, this is my favorite post of the year.
    I want to be just like you when I grow up.
    I have started the process and am picking up steam…I will definitely look for the recommended reading material.
    The noise must go, the clutter must go…let go, let go, let go!
    Best wishes for your continued clarity and hoping 2014 brings us all a simpler and more meaningful life…just as you have described.
    xo, Tina

  4. Jean says:

    Dear Lara,
    I agree with Julia, that this a “coffee klatch” post and that we are all of us catching up with the changes and growth that have transpired over the past months. I definitely need to pick up Danielle’s book for myself and see if it will help in my own changing journey. It has been almost one year since i have begun a much more “hands on” care of my elderly mother, who turns 91 this coming March. It has been a difficult transformation in our relationship, but I know that she needs me know matter her own attitude towards me. I was hoping after years of establishing and maintaining my husbands law practice and homeschooling my daughter that I would get back to full time work, but my mothers semi ambulatory condition, along with cataracts and dementia, precluded my plans to be out in the “world” once again. So, I am now researching the “handmade” industry, as I need a more flexible career at this time.
    Thank you for a marvellously eye-opening post, which has given me much food for thought.
    I’m praying that you will continue to be blessed in all your new endeavours! <3

  5. Barbara Sullivan says:

    I hopped over here from your link at Faded Charm. Well thought out and well said! I had to copy one of your phrases: ” Teach curriculum in the most creative way possible while building relationships with kids.” Those are words to live by – in a nutshell! Good luck on your journey! Barbara, preschool teacher

  6. Serena says:

    Hello gorgeous! While I have missed seeing you in cyberspace, this post makes my heart sing. I think of you often and have known from the time you announced this big change, that you were one giant step closer to getting back to “home”. I admire your resolve. Love you dear girl and hope that our paths may cross in 2014.

    ps. I wish you were my son’s 3rd grade teacher, cuz I know you are the BOMB!

    Happy New Year!

    pss. off to buy the Desire Map so that I too can get back in touch with those core desired feelings.

  7. larablair says:

    Thank you, dear Tina. I just read your last blog post and I loved it…such wise words for the wounded and hopeful…I’ve been both in my life as well. I do think that the noise we let happen in our lives keeps us from truly seeing what will make us happy…b/c “that’s our only job in life”, right? Love that. Love to you in this new year! Lara

  8. larablair says:

    How absolutely wonderful that your mom has you and your obvious commitment to her care….Here’s hoping that your “you time” will not be held at bay. You need it! May you find the perfect handmade work to make and sell. Blessings to you this new year, Jean—Lara

  9. larablair says:

    Well, as a preschool teacher you obviously know what’s it like to have little hands reaching for you! Kids teach us so many good things, don’t they? Thanks for visiting–sending you blessings for a great new year. Lara

  10. larablair says:

    I think of you a lot too, Serena…love seeing those Instagram posts. Your family is so darn cute! You were the one who turned me on to Danielle—she is really got it going on and seems to “get it” in so many ways. This book is a life-changer—you’ll love it.

    Missing you and hoping it doesn’t take a retreat to catch up! Come down anytime ( you know that) :)
    oxoxooxx Lara
    p.s. i wish your son was in my class…I know that he is a gem…it’s in the genes!

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