First and foremost, this is a meaningful little plant. My daughter taught me how to throw a cylinder in her high school ceramics class a few months back. She then glazed it, had it fired, and before bringing it home, filled it with some life in the form of this little succulent. And in turn, it filled my whole heart.
It’s been a tiny while. And I’m feeling a little rusty.
What I know is that being here authentically, and with intention, is how I like to kick off. Prior to stepping in, I ensure this is the direction of which I arrive. I say “stepping in” because I often visualize this entire space as a circle dance…you know, the dances…the ones where everyone takes turns stepping into the middle, offering up their greatest moves while being encouraged with cheers. (My go-to dance being something resembling the use of a shopping cart, naturally.)
I’ve just been out here feeling the weight of the world, processing and wondering where all of this fits in…authentically and with intention. (I do think I figured it out btw.) But I’ve been just here on the very outer skirts of this circle dance, doing what probably looks more like a very, very slow and lackluster “Carlton.”
And creativity. A funny thing. I write “funny” because creativity, putting it simply, is a delicate little beast. It requires margin and bandwidth. And recently, my creativity has felt somewhat squished in a tiny corner, without ample oxygen. My brain has been saturated with crowded thoughts, a task list of even the simplest to-do items left unfinished, and all the ruminating turning wheels bouncing off kilter in my noggin.
But good news. Creativity swings in seasons. Because, life. Life swings in seasons.
We began a home-build process a couple of years ago, diving in fully nearly a year ago. Definitely exciting and we looked forward to sharing this experience as a family. What I didn’t know…is that I would have a few “lovely” personality characteristics that would surface strong during this endeavor. Real strong. There are generally two types of people…Maximizers and Satisficers. Maximizers are people who want the very best possible option. Satisficers are people who are satisfied with just good enough.
Upon taking my first breath in this world, I was instantaneously dubbed…yes, a maximizer. And since then, it’s apparent the role requirements have been taken quite seriously. From selecting the perfect bra (which I’m fairly convinced doesn’t ACTUALLY exist) to travel planning to the very best coffee shop at any given location, my maximizing characteristics bounce between ultimate content to maddening rumination. Trust me, I can teach the course on disintegrating time while comparing cabinet hardware, the exact material substance of the hardware, its subsequent longevity and strength, and the reputable vendors of which to obtain said hardware. Trust me – I’m the first to recognize the ridiculousness.
And now, with a sprinkling of “Sentimental Sally,” life transitions wave and beckon all the feelings of bittersweetness that line up and await the calling to the party. It wasn’t the goodbye to the actual structure of our prior house of 20 years. The house we brought our kids home to. No, it wasn’t the walls, ceiling, and floors. It was the, what felt like at the time, the truncating of a chapter. A long and meaningful chapter that has not simply left a mark on my heart…but thoroughly filled the whole dang thing.
All of this to say…we moved. Not far from where we lived before. And now, a couple months in, I’ve had time to process and report. And my findings are this: All things are looking just stinking fine. Then again, of course it would be…the pendulum continues to swing. It didn’t take too terribly long for those blah feelings to soften and for me to realize…we’re still just the same. The memories are with us just as they would have been…and the new moments now surface. And, well, as luck would have it, Mr. Hatten continues to incorrectly replace the toilet paper roll.
And as far as creativity and margin go? I’ve gone through a cynical and resentful little bunch of emotions with the battle in trying to shield a sacred cave where creativity is stored and restocked. I’ve often felt defeated in watching that storage space be what felt like unnecessarily invaded…(for a much longer duration of time than I thought I had signed up for). To put it in the most simple terms – I burnt out, y’all. Just done for. And for a lot of reasons, really.
As life is approaching what has felt a little softer and more warmly inviting, I’m relieved. There’s more clarity and a little more space. I’m approaching this chapter, however, with a little caution, selectiveness, and being a bit protective in what claims my time. I’ve been a little lost lately…a little drab…and like so many, the adversity so many individuals are facing has a hold of my heart.
And further, time-related, in knowing that time is fleeting, I get this ever-gnawing dull worry and subtle panic in not quite reaching some arbitrary potential that exists for myself. I’m often looking for growth and nearly always, I’m looking to create and extend as much goodness as possible…in as authentic of a way as possible.
I do know a few things. Everyone needs a refuel now and again. Mine happens with a little space and breathing room. A lighter to-do list, fewer thoughts associated with obligations, more time on the trail, more time to read, opportunities allowing for presence, and the margin necessary to allow myself to not only play a little bigger but to also just simply be the best version of me that I can. Am I serving in my most capable ways? Am I connecting? Am I fully listening, am I thoughtful, am I paying attention to the needs of others?
This year, I’m shooting less commercial work and reserving more space for my general editorial and family sessions. I have a deeply embedded love for this work, and I have always found myself a little sad when these opportunities end up being inadvertently sacrificed because of over commitments.
And in closing, I’m leaving this with a little tip for you all. When faced with those repetitive and yucky feelings…you know, the weight that just sits in your gut and nearly extends into your ears…where life seems to be spinning outside of your control…your heart is beating faster…and you feel untethered and unsettled – I have a little secret tip that I offer as a gift.
And here it is…it’s simple…
80’s Love Songs
That’s it. Not a solution…but definitely a soft place to land.
More on this later. Seriously.