First of all: No one expects you to be perfect. Especially not me! We are all human, and it is time to give ourselves some credit for every day we make it through. Maybe even add a dash of gratitude for it all (or if you can’t be grateful for it all, find one little thing you can appreciate).
Friends, this blog has been a long time coming, and it’s going to cover a lot of topics and ground in (hopefully) a short stretch of time. Yoga, art, life changes, life lessons, Christmas, friendships, business and busy-ness.
This is a time of year where people start getting stressed, run down, sick, have too much to do in too little time, there’s a financial burden that might start to hover with holidays ahead, not to mention the social expectations on top of your daily 9-5 (or whatever career schedule you have). I’m going to say this straight out- IT’S OKAY TO STOP. It IS okay to say no. It might even be VITAL for your well being to start setting these boundaries soon.
For me, personally, this is HARD. Already I find myself compromising my personal needs for others. I knew (from last year’s terrible stress) that I needed to be pro-active this year. So at the beginning of November I blocked out every Wednesday and Friday for ME (this isn’t necessarily to lounge around, but 2 solid days to focus on my art show and my often neglected domestic duties). I had already spent October doing a purge of clothing, furniture, books and toys; and the plan is to run with that during November and get my home to the state of calm I desire (or at least one room, haha). So far I’m failing.
ART and YOGA and BUSINESS AND BUSY-NESS
I’m feeling my business and passions colliding and doing these huge shifts lately. Business is changing. My cousin Jessica wrote about a similar feeling in her blog this week (check her out: Life Awesome!) She writes: “…at times, especially in this day and age when everyone claims to be a photographer, the struggle is real. It’s a constant hustle. It’s a constant negotiation of standing up for your worth. For the value of what you create. This is true for any creative freelancer, I truly believe…” Wow. Yes. Just days before this I had published an art blog “Pricing Art Is Hard” discussing the value of my own work, and that of others. Constantly comparing (note: I believe comparing is different then competing). Now she’s the photographer, not me, but over the last year I’ve been feeling the same away about the yoga industry. There are SO many yoga instructors, and new studios open all the time, and I sort of feel like… “my work is done here.” At least, it’s changing.
DON’T PANIC I will never stop teaching yoga- but I am at a really happy place in my business. I teach 3 classes a week, all the classes have been filling session after session, and I feel IMMENSE gratitude for this work. However the desire to teach more, to grow more, to push the yoga biz more… that desire is gone. The biggest blessing of this work, is I now have the space in my life to paint. Over the last two years my art has started to take flight, and I feel this is the direction my life is moving into more.
I hold no desire for the rat-race of life. I never have, and I suppose that is why I have always struggled with employment. My true desire (and ultimate goal I suppose) is to be fully self-employed. To have a schedule that I mostly dictate by choice. I want to teach, travel, paint. I want retirement to be irrelevant, because I am doing work I love and thrive in.
A YEAR IN REVIEW
Last year at this time I was suffering financially, energetically and emotionally. I knew something had to change, but I wasn’t sure what or how yet. I had all the tools and wisdom to manifest my desires, but I was getting bogged down in my bitterness of the world and consumerism. I had become scrooge. I was also not managing my time well, and as my annual art show approached I had a wack of canvases I was determined to finish within 3 days. To say I was stressing myself out is an understatement. I was pushing myself far beyond any realistic limits.
When my art show was a blinding success, the veil of bitterness and fog started to lift. I did it. I was okay. Now I could re-focus on what was important: my mental health, my family, and the future.
2017 has been nothing but Rising for me. Starting right in January, all my yoga classes filled. All my workshops filled during the year. I did my best year yet in custom paintings, and hosted another successful art show in the summer. I started writing my yoga manual “The Gentle Way of Hatha.” I found a new part-time job that has created more space, peace and abundance in my life. I have traveled more, painted more, deepened many relationships, and set more boundaries in others. I invested a lot of money into self-care: Chiro, massage, craniosacral and energy work to help keep myself in balance physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically. This year has been so full of joy, abundance, true friendships, adventure, and brought a deeper understanding of myself to myself; And as I grow into this second half of my life, I am much more gentle with myself.
I stumbled upon a quote a few weeks ago that said “How do I do it all? I don’t.” I have learned (the hard way) how vital it is to say no sometimes, to create space for solitude, and for SELF, to change your mind, to be uncommitted once in awhile, and to just be okay with life as it is, even when it isn’t perfect. Even when it doesn’t go as planned. Even when you can’t get what you want, try to at least give yourself what you need.
Take stock of you life right now. What is your vision for the holidays? What is your vision for 2018? What are your deepest desires and passions and how can you start working towards them without sacrificing your sanity?
Start setting boundaries, say no if you need too, find that new job, go back to school, PUT YOURSELF FIRST. The basis of my work: find your Self-Worth. Once you know your own value, everything else you desire will start to manifest. At least that is what I believe, and have seen in my own life.
Assess your relationships: partnerships, romance, friends, co-workers, acquaintances. What is the quality of your relationships? Are they balanced? One-sided? Are you taking more then you give? Or giving more then you receive? Does lunch with that friend exhaust or energize you? That friend who never returns your texts or calls, maybe it’s time to respect the space they are creating (knowingly or unknowingly). That guy or girl you want to date, are they making themselves available? Pay attention to what is going on in your life. Then navigate it accordingly. What is the quality of your life? And are you happy? Life is meant to be lived, shared and enjoyed. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but we don’t have to stay a victim to life’s circumstances forever.
December 16th “Canada: The Provinces and Territories” is my annual Christmas show in Port Hope. This is a series of 13 canvases, each one focused on a specific province or territory. I am super excited to share these works, it has been a really fun project that has pushed the quality of my painting up.
I will start custom order paintings again in the New Year.
In 2018 the yoga schedule will stay as it is: Tuesday 12:30pm, 7:00pm, and Thursday 10:30am.
January 20th I am co-hosting a “Grief Retreat” with Avril Ewing of Refresh Reiki. This is her specialty, and I will be there to support through gentle yoga and discussion around grief and how it affects us, and how we can embrace and navigate this tough emotion.
I plan on painting more, writing more, and hopefully traveling more; and I look forward to growing with all of you. What are you going to manifest in 2018? I’d love to hear your stories and plans!