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!