I admit it: as far as my business is concerned, I’ve been nearly invisible over the summer. Minimal social media presence, save for posting some photos on Instagram. Not many emails – the bare minimum just to let people know what’s coming up. I saw clients and tinkered around with all the bits and pieces that needed doing to complete the brand transition. Just enough to keep the ball rolling.
I found I simply had no drive or mental capacity to do much else.
And in truth, it was starting to freak me out a bit.
Then I remembered: Everything has a natural rhythm, and there is a cyclical, seasonal nature to all creative work. Really, to all of life in general. So I want to share a little bit about this essential truth, because I think it’s critical information to know.
A garden is the perfect metaphor for this aspect of reality—admittedly a garden grown in a variable, four-season climate. Even when the plan is set and seeds are started in a greenhouse midwinter, they aren’t ready to plant until after the frost. Spring is full of the hard work of preparing beds, planting, weeding, watering, without much to show and celebrate until the riotous blooms and bounty of summer. Once the garden has had its big reveal comes the harvest, and the gardener enters a less ebullient time of gathering, weeding, deadheading and assessing what worked and what didn’t. Then we cycle back to the beginning, where the garden and the gardener each goes to bed—to rest and regather; perhaps to start dreaming and planning for spring.
I’m pretty sure that’s where I’ve been with my business, cycling back and forth between weeding and rest. Although it felt a little weird to be so disconnected from that deep creative focus I’d held for most of the preceding year, it allowed me to spend more time with my family over summer after a winter and spring of ‘neglect’ as I worked on the new website.
Of course I had to have a little talk with the voices in my head that told me I needed to be getting my brand out on social media, networking, marketing… blah blah blah. SoulCollage® was invaluable in that regard, and I feel like in the end I was successful in just allowing myself to be where I was.
And now it’s fall, more or less. For me fall starts when my teacher-husband and kids go back to school, regardless of the date or the weather. And for me, fall is often when I feel renewed focus and energy.
So I’m back to work, back to creating. I’ve found some helpful tools and advice to support me in my ongoing quest to structure my time in a way that is both stable and flexible, since that is the only way I get things done. I’ve shared those at the end of this email, in case you’ve been searching too.
Just as I was working on this newsletter it dawned on me that just now am I starting to see the fruits of the ‘garden’ I planted for my business and life back in January. Back then, I created my theme for 2015:
“Embracing boundaries, structure and systems in the service of self-care, healing and empowerment; so that I can groove with the flow, trust the process and move my brand out into the world.”
The year has been a bit of a hodgepodge of all of the above, but all of a sudden I feel it coming together in a way that reflects the qualities I aspired to back in December.
Finally, the harvest! I gotta admit, I’m kind of excited about that.
I hope that you have been able to do your summer in a way that you enjoy. If you feel the need for some heartfelt understanding in integrating life’s challenges, or for steadfast encouragement in following your own rhythms and timing, I’d be honored to be your guide and ally. Be sure to check out my offerings on this beautiful new website.
Flexible structure for creative minds
As I mentioned above, I stumbled on some wonderful wisdom and helpful tools for creating some structure into my life. Being self-employed and working part of that time from home, it’s incumbent on me to create my own structure if I am going to get anything done.
I loved this blog piece by Saundra Goldman, that talks about approaching planning as a practice. Somehow that notion makes the idea of planning feel much more inviting – like self-care rather than self-discipline, which to be honest makes we want to rebel automatically.
I came across this piece in an email from Tracking Wonder’s Jeffrey Davis, whose Mind Rooms Guide Saundra mentions in her email. I decided to purchase Mind Rooms and I’m so glad I did. This week has been the most productive I’ve been in a long time, and I believe this was the missing piece to my planning ritual. Check it out if you’ve struggled to manage your time. (I don’t get anything from this referral… I’m just super-excited about it!)