Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Many Musings with August Moon Prompts

Hello and greetings to everyone who is visiting from August Moon 14, the writing prompt series hosted by Kat McNally. It's been wonderful meeting new creative folks, making some new connections and reading what others have to say on the prompts we have received in the past week and there have been some juicy writings out there, let me tell you!

Today I will be musing on the following prompts:

Roadblocks or Just Detours?
Just One Thing
Time and Inner Space

Some of these prompts are related and some are not...or so I thought! Be sure to grab a favorite cuppa since this is yet another long post if you read it all at once or you can jump to each prompt by looking for the colored titles.

FYI: The first prompt is the longest with 'manifesting' and 'time and inner space' being the shortest...

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The prompt that came to my email was this:

"Roadblocks or just detours? What tends to trip you up? What is your kryptonite?"

When this prompt popped into my inbox, it got me thinking about what I wrote when I began to set my INTENTION at the start of this writing series, particularly, what I wrote about people that I feel are blocking me:

To rid myself of my angry feelings towards those who have been nasty and selfish to me so I can move forward in my life

I morphed this intention into something that actually works for me and my real needs right now, which I'll come back to when I write about MANIFESTING later in this post, but I want to review this 'intention' because this problem has been my personal kryptonite for a very long time now...

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this blog post by Danielle Laporte and it resonated SO STRONGLY, because the nasty, selfish people in my life were so aptly described in this blog post and my REACTION to them, even more so. Here are the words that illuminated my situation so brilliantly:

"There are endless reasons why someone or some situation might be 'bad for you.'
Subtle-but-perpetual criticism, toxic complaining, disconnection, narcissistic energy suckers, sheer boredom…
Take your pick of vibes that you’d rather not be around.
But a key reason that situations can be bad for you isn’t necessarily because of what a person or circumstance does “to you” — 
it’s how you will have to conform to the situation. The hurt happens when you shrink.
You will have to say less, dull your shine, pull in your power. You will play smaller, act dumber, mince your words.
You will restrain your magnificence — out of fear, or out of logic, or out of the intelligence to survive."

(Italics, boldness and color added to the key words in this illuminating wisdom are added by me)

In my original post, I used the phrase 'fringe-dwellers' to describe these people, which got some appreciative comments from some of my new visitors! I called them 'fringe-dwellers' since they do live on the fringe of my life, but the phrase provided Ms. Laporte is so much more on target: narcissistic energy suckers

And that narcissism is what makes these people so nasty and selfish. While these people do live on the fringe of my life, they have just enough presence on my radar that each encounter is like being in the presence of kryptonite, because of all the pulling, dulling and shrinking that takes place within me...

And when I think of why this pulling, dulling and shrinking takes place, it is because the narcissists don't like anyone else taking up their space!

Which is why they appear so selfish to me - my friends aren't threatened by my brilliance and, luckily, I have a few wonderful friends that remind me of how fabulous I am and how happy they are to have me in their lives.

SECRET: I'M the lucky one to have these treasured friends!! ;)

I most certainly do not get this positive acknowledgement from the fringe-dwellers in my life as they have never really wanted to learn how fabulous I am...and, believe me, I'm more than fine with that!

Unfortunately though, I have to tolerate them regularly throughout the year, which is always painful for me due to the amount of shrinking I have to do, and then the memories of these encounters invade my peace of mind, making the presence of these narcissists an almost daily one, which brings the anger and resentment that I know has been blocking me from my joy and financial abundance...

But as the years pass, my tolerance for shrinking stretches thinner and thinner and it gets harder and harder to do 'the polite thing' and keep my mouth shut...

If I look at the question in the prompt sent to me from Kat, 'roadblocks or just detours', it helps me stand back a bit and come to the conclusion that these fringe-dwellers are really just attempting to roadblock my JOY, probably because they have no authentic joy of their own.

Maybe if I view the time spent in their presence as 'temporary roadblocks', it will allow me to see these 'hazards on the road' as hazards I have the POWER to avoid in my own life, so I can adjust the course of my path accordingly. And with this I just might be able to make those nagging memories more like 'detour pitstops' and use them to help me realign back to myself.

They say that 'success is the best revenge'. If that's true, then maybe one day I can see those narcissistic energy suckers as a positive thing in my life. After all, if there is something a narcissistic energy sucker can't stand, it's the success of an empowered, brilliant being of JOY...or worse - being ignored by an empowered, brilliant being of JOY! ;)

The prompt that arrived in my inbox was this:

"Put out the call! Who can help you in manifesting your dream life?"

I think I unconsciously put out that call with the intention I made at the start of August Moon:

My intention is to continue with my creativity AND to search the company of other creative souls, because I know that those who serve their creative impulses are people of kindness, generosity and humor, things I need in my life right now since I'm having trouble remembering how to treat MYSELF with kindness, generosity and laughter

Now, while I just made mention of a few dear friends who are happy that I am in their life (and I feel the same about them in my life!), I have felt the need of a strong support system as I continue to navigate the waters of self-employed, self-sustaining Creative Work.

I once read this brilliant quote:

Employees commiserate, entrepreneurs BRAINSTORM

And reading this quote was like a light bulb switching on in my head. It clarified why I have been slowly distancing myself from the friends who are still living in the environment of corporate office life, a life I just can not return to if I want to retain a shred of my sanity!

Unfortunately for me, the friends who are still in corporate office life are commiserators, more interested in complaining about their work situations than they are invested in changing them.

I've reached a point in my life where I can no longer relate to this way of thinking or being. Over time, I've come to realize that I was never really good at it anyway, which explains my unhappiness and dissatisfaction with corporate office life. It's hard for me to listen to toxic complaining when I'd rather be brainstorming...or taking positive action.

Though I need a strong support system to help me navigate self-employment, I have the added challenge of trying to figure out what or how I want my creative work life to LOOK. There are many venues I have pursued so far and there are yet a few more channels I could pursue to earn an income to support myself. I've created a few opportunities for earning money, but the one thing I have yet to create for myself is a support team of creative cohorts that are also navigating the waters of self-employed self-sustaining creative work. Having such a team of creative people would be wonderful...

But as I mentioned at the start of this post, I have been making some wonderful connections through August Moon, so who knows? Maybe the support team of creative cohorts might be found among these kindred spirits!

This prompt is rather challenging:

"What about your multiple selves? How could you cultivate a life that truly reflects all that you truly are? I invite you to spell out the range of things you are and would like to be"

The challenging part is not the multiple selves part - that is something I've been familiar with as I have winded my way on my path as a Creative Beast. In fact, sometimes I've felt a little like a split-personality as I enjoy both being in the company of others AND lots of time spent in solitude, but having multiple interests as channels of creativity - sewing, collage art, mixed media, book making and knitting, fashion designer and costume maker - has been a challenge as I forge my own path of self-sustaining self-employment...

Within this prompt is the musing that 'putting pressure on your dream life to earn you money can somehow rob it of all its joy' and the reflection that 'it can also result in feeling a total failure if it doesn't come to fruition in the time frame required'.

But the times when I feel most 'joy-less' are the days when I am using certain creative skills to earn money that I've long considered retiring - my sewing skills*.

If I were able to conduct teaching more workshops, or to have online workshops, where I could help others learn self mastery in creativity, and gain personal growth with creativity which I find brings great Joy to others, this would be ideal but this path has been a very slow one to take hold.

So when clothing alterations come my way for earning money I take those projects on, but alterations do not make my heart sing. When recently had to I put out a call for sewing work with a dear colleague, due to some urgent money needs, I admit it was with a heavy heart...until she presented me with a project to re-construct an existing garment by making a new pattern with a better fit. This was an interesting project and when lovely fabric entered the picture, it made the project even more joy-full to work on.

Recently, I've been in contact with a fellow participant in August Moon to take on a long-distance sewing project, something I wouldn't normally do if accurate measurements were involved to create a fitted garment. However, this project is to take a most beloved and well worn existing garment and to make a pattern from it so multiple garments can be made and worn before the original finally falls apart.

This is something I can relate to as I myself have made patterns from existing garments so I could have multiple versions, in favorite colors and patterns, without wearing out the original garment too quickly! When we women find a garment that fits in a way that is comfortable, in a color we love to wear and makes up skip and jump with joy when we wear it, then we want as many of these 'magical' garments as we can find!

And so it's begun to dawn on me that perhaps I can still utilize my sewing skills, but in a way I hadn't considered before - to help others give much loved and cherished garments a new life in a new fabric.

It is still a way to use some old skills and a way to bring Joy to people with my sewing, something I very much enjoy the prospect of!

But to cultivate a life that reflects all I truly am might start to look like this:
  • To continue making art-full books that are purchased by enthusiastic customers who enjoy unique and art-full handmade books
  • To make special, one-of-a-kind gift items that bring Joy to others
  • To find a way to conduct workshops that help people gain mastery with creative skills and gain self-esteem through personal growth and development
  • To find more ways to utilize my pattern drafting and sewing skills to help others give new life to old but much beloved garments
  • To have a handful of students to teach and to pass along my sewing knowledge to
I think there is way to embrace all these parts of myself into a fun and enjoyable creative career!

Now here is a juicy prompt to think about:

"How will you make time work for you? How do you work and give as much as is adequate but ensure that you have enough left for you?"

THAT is a question for the ages! And it is a question we all look at on a daily basis, whether working an office job or working for yourself...

After my experience with my last full time office job, which I've touched upon in this blog post and shared more details in this blog post, I've learned that giving ALL of myself away to the goals of others does not serve me physically, financially, emotionally or spiritually.

I also know that 'all work and no play' can bring back the burnout quickly and I try to take steps to keep the burnout at bay:
  • I make sure to take a nice hour-long lunch that is usually accompanied with a fun tv show or movie watched while eating
  • I have several short breaks in my day to have a little coffee with a chocolate covered biscotti or do a little work in the garden patio sweeping, re-watering or just pottering about among the plants or I take a late afternoon 'reading nap', where I read a few pages from a book and hope that a little nap takes place
  • I might take a quick trip to my local library on my bicycle, getting a little exercise as well as a book!
As I creep closer and closer to 50, I find Time does run ever faster with each passing day, sometimes faster than I can keep up with, so I try not to bind myself to any particular 'schedule' of accomplishment or goal-achieving in regard to my creative career. This helps me to keep from 'feeling a total failure' if my creative work life 'doesn't come to fruition in the time frame required' because if I don't set a time frame, then there is Space and Time to allow nice surprises into my life, and opportunities to explore that I might not have considered if I kept to a strict schedule.

Since much of my creative life has always evolved organically, it seems to be working for me, so I'll continue my meandering ways and I'll continue maintaining a balance to enjoy my work and enjoy my life.

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Thanks again to all those visiting from August Moon! There is still time to sign up and get your prompts delivered to your inbox and you are welcome to share your musings publicly or to write on them in your journal - its your choice!

* - The reasons I've often thought of leaving my sewing skills behind are humorously pointed out in this blog post I recently discovered and point #1 relates to what I covered in my blog post here today regarding alterations and WHY they don't make my heart sing! ;)


kafj said...

From your sidebar: 'CREATIVITY IS MY TRUE NORTH' - oh, lovely. I've been looking at the North Star a lot of late. Beautiful things are up there.

And oh, yes, the frustration of 'having' to keep going with something you've fallen out of love with. Sympathies, and wishes for a different way to emerge.

Deborah Weber said...

Oh goodness Monica, there's so much thoughtful wonderfulness in this post I hardly know where to begin.

I think the truth is, and one that doesn't seem to get spoken about much, that when we start showing up more as who we truly are and shining brightly, there IS going to be a shift in our circle. And while it can in the moment feel really hard, it's important to know we'll find our new right-fit tribe. It serves no one, especially yourself, to deliberately involve yourself in situations that no longer feel good, and so to the extent that you can limit your contact with those who don't reflect your wonderfulness, I think that's simply the best thing.

I love the entrepreneurial focus on brainstorming. It's such a powerful realization to understand you're in charge of creating what you want.

I was really excited to read all your thoughts about creating a work life that incorporates all the things you love. It's fun too, to find new ways to explore working with old skills, so I enjoyed hearing how you might find new inspiration with your sewing. You've got a lovely set of things you love and I can only imagine you'll have great fun finding ways to make a thriving living from them.

Great ideas about how to keep burnout at bay as well.

Kat McNally said...

I'm so excited that the long distance sewing project is coming to fruition! I had the feeling it would be perfect for you.
I totally hear you on the narcissistic vampires! It takes a lot of work and, infuriatingly, precious time and energy that could be spent on other things. But establishing and fortifying those boundaries can only be time well invested. More power to you, my friend. x