In September, my dear friend Elissa of Happy Mindful People asked me to be a guest writer on her blog. I deeply appreciate and honor Elissa's work. She is one of the biggest advocates for love and kindness that I know.
WHAT IS YOUR WORK?
In the past, coming face to face with this question triggered an immense amount of confusion and deep rooted self-judgement. It has taken me a long time to find my place in this sweet, ever-changing world. I’m not implying that I have arrived. More accurately, I realized I wasn’t ever going to arrive. Our live's - made up of wants, needs, desires, expectations, emotions, connections, etc - are always shifting shape. I believe the real mission is to find balance and peace in the present moment on our journey towards nothing and everything, trusting we are right where we need to be.
Most of my adult life I have been self-employed, hired freelance or worked as an independent contractor. This type of work has its pros and cons just as anything else, but it definitely takes discipline and a lot of faith. i had to hustle and I had to trust. I had to find a way to balance the logistics of running a business while feeding my creative pursuits. Being able to ebb and flow between left and right brain is a blessing and a curse. It allows for self-sufficiency and rapid growth but can easily lead to burnout and control issues
I moved to Portland in the summer of 2011. Over the last four years I’ve had more than a handful of jobs most overlapping on on-going. Since my relocation, I’ve taken solo entrepreneur business courses, a digital photography intensive, classes in textiles, metal-smithing and ceramics, trained under a florist, and studied plant medicine. I was seeking experience and craving knowledge. It felt like every time I told someone my story, they all said the same thing - Find your niche. Define your market. Just pick something. But my gut was saying otherwise. My intuition told me to keep looking, keep studying, keep learning. When a new job, partnership or derailed opportunity presented itself, my heart said Try it.
So, that’s what I did. I surrendered to the flow. I let go and I allowed my life to show up for me. All I had to do was accept. I didn't know why I was doing these things and I didn’t know where they were leading me. I had a new plan everyday - I'll be an herbalist, a shoe-maker, a visionary, a farmer, a teacher (these were all real considerations). There have been moments where it has been hard for me to keep up with me. Although I was surrendering to the flow, at times I felt more like I was floating away. I was constantly thinking about what job I would have, what I was going to do for a living, what I was going to be. That’s how we are trained to think. We study and then we become something. I found it more and more difficult to define myself and my work. I wasn’t in a box. I didn’t have a label or title and that was very confusing. But again, in my heart I felt safe and I knew my intuition was leading me somewhere.
When I was asked what I do, I did one of two things. I respond with my work history, usually going something like, "Well, I've been a hair stylist for the last 12 years. I studied fashion design and ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Textiles. And, you know, what do you really do with an art degree? So, since I had a trade I just kept doing hair. Oh, and I make jewelry." And later, when I thought I was moving forward, it went something like, "Well, I used be a hair stylist, but I kind of retired because now I'm only in the salon once a week. I have a company called HeartCave and I design jewelry and make essential oils blends that are connected to symbolism, intention and communion. But, it's more than that. Its bigger than that. I just haven't been able to define it yet. Oh, and I want to be an artist."
What I noticed was, I quickly relied on my past to give value to my current work or spoke of confusing details about my unknown future and desires to be an artist. Why did I feel the need to justify my present with stories of the past or the future? What is an artist anyway and how do I be one? Where was I right now? What do I do?
I began to get curious about myself, my place in the now and what made me unique. It wasn't until I was prompted to write this entry that I really got honest about it, realized where I was now and began to feel immense gratitude for trusting my intuition to guide me to a place beyond my wildest dreams. What a blessing it is to share my story on this platform. Thank you Elissa. Thank you Happy Mindful People. Thank you self - for being brave and getting real. Happiness is the immediate emotional response to gratitude. Simply by feeling grateful we conjure up joy and begin to manifest further joy in our lives.
So, the burning question, What do I do? Well, still lots, but I've found the common thread. My purpose is to connect and create. I connect with people, plants, myself and Source. My medium for creation shifts between metal, textiles, essential oils, imagery and manifestation. The point is, I feel inspired and balanced. I am safe and I am able to provide for myself. I own a business authentically aligned with my passion and purpose of intention, symbolism and communion with whoever is called to listen. I softly fell into a position working freelance for a company that I firmly believe in. They too are balanced in creativity, spirit and business. Their work has depth and integrity. My position within the company has a familiar title but my work is beyond a role I could have dreamt up for myself.
The HOW ::
What I haven't mentioned about this journey is my focus on personal development. It began with strengthening my relationship to nature and starting a daily practice with essential oils and flower essences. We are intrinsically interconnected to all the elements here on the earth and in the cosmos. Be connecting with the elements, we are growing our connection with ourselves and our divine intelligence.
I also made it a point to start identifying as an artist, creating my life. I think in pictures. I turn feelings into photos and vice versa. I learned how to use my practical, career-based skills to support my true work - being a dreamer deeply rooted in trusting the universe and the art of manifestation. I continue to dig deep - figure out what inspires me at the moment, how I want to feel and what I want to call in. I develop a tone, fine tune the concept/direction and create a moodboard. This creates non-duality in my life. My work and my pleasure centers of creation and connection are one.
Instead of thinking about what position or career my skills would fit into, I started thinking about how I wanted to feel when I worked. I took note of pleasurable activities. When I sat in the park surrounded by the trees, I left feeling really good. For me, that didn’t mean I should be a park ranger or landscaper. I simply took note of the feelings. I started to write them down, words like - calm, graceful, rooted, free, inspired, alive. I started collecting beautiful imagery of plants, spaces, places and people from print publications and sites like Pinterest. Anything I got online, I would send to be printed. It was important for me to see and touch them in real life. I’d pull swatches of fabric that felt sweet on my skin and go to the paint store for colors that reflected those feelings. I began treating my life as I would a client and that allowed me to show up for myself with greater clarity and accountability.
Be compassionate, first to yourself. If you haven't felt true compassion for yourself or your circumstance, you're just going around feeling sorry for people. Follow your intuition. Allow your life to take shape without force. Trust your experience. Release resistance. Detach from outcome. Make space for rest and self-care
Ways to support and clarify Who am I? And what am I doing here? Practices to evoke consciousness and awareness of self.
- Practice the powerful of the pen. Write down goals, desires, feelings you want to have and anything that inspires you.
- Start a collection of images that motivate, stimulate and awaken your dreams.
- Have conversation with like-minded people. These people will likely start to form your tribe.
- Go to nature
- Work with essential oils
- Move/Practice Yoga
- Bring awareness to the breathe
- Eat foods that support your body
Favorite Books ::
The Book of The Heart Amit Singh
Partner Earth Pam Montgomery
Plant Spirit Healing Pam Montgomery
The Secret Lives of Plants Christopher Bird
Yoga for a World Out of Balance Michael Stone
The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle
Love Everyone Parvati Markus
Ways to sink into the heart ::
Speak truth and avoid gossip
Go to the park
Acknowledge the moon
Buy or pick flowers
Peel an orange, slowly
Donate or give something away, like a compliment