Sculpture by Paige Bradley – Learn more about it here: http://paigebradley.com/sculpture/expansion.html – really, do that….click on the link.
At the beginning of this year, my focused intention was to ‘be seen’, so my word of the year became “Visible” – scurry, I know . . . right?!?
I took action on that intention by first taking down the wall that separated the two stores at the warehouse. I have no corner to retreat to In doing that, I have begun to broaden my community – instead of hiding in the corner, I talk to more people and I take time to learn more about them. I also moved forward the work I do that is most resonant to me . . . the Runes, the Kanji, the Tarot.
Here’s where it gets really fun: I have stopped compartmentalizing my “work” and “life”.
It really just evolved. I love what I do… the teaching and the making…none of it is a “job”, as much as it is a lifestyle I have chosen. I have chosen to be a maker and a teacher. It is also what I have been doing for 24 years, as a mom . . . being a maker and a teacher <3. These are my life purposes.
One of the important things I have gained by blurring the proverbial lines between my work and my life is – less stress . . . more flow.
When I spent time delaying work because of family things to attend to, I frequently fell behind and became really frustrated. The same was true with putting off /missing family things “because I have to work” – and with the stress came guilt.
Here is where all the things come together . . .
Many an artist will come into class and feel a great deal of anxiety and say things like “I’m not very creative.” In many classes, in many conversations, I have replied “Of course you are! When you are moving through your day, deciding what to eat/what to wear; paying bills; cleaning; directing traffic in your home . . . you are being creative with your resources. Metal clay is simply a new medium for your creative energy.”
When I said that, again, in January, it was as if a light went on in my head . . . above my head . . . an ‘ah ha’ moment or as I like to refer to hit ‘here’s yer brick woman’.
As I write, right now, I am “working”. To my left, sits my baby girl, doing her thing. Every so often, she’ll share a cool thing she found on the internet. We talk and laugh. Yesterday morning, I dropped her off at school for a two hour final; I came home, cleaned up some things, checked my email/Facebook/Instagram accounts, played with my pets, organized my workspace and worked on a bracelet for the last ten minutes before I had to leave.
My daughter has gone to classes with me and sometimes to the stores. I share my work with her. She has created pieces for me to sell at the store.
I’ve had similar moments with my son, AND I missed an entire soccer season, even while being ‘self employed’ . . . with my father.
I made a decision that I would never do that again. I have stilled missed a thing or two with my daughter and she and I are due for an extended adventure, but we talk about these things and we’re ok.
I enjoy being able to pick her up after school and I enjoy spending time with her. Why would I taint that with any stress or guilt? Why not, just enjoy every moment of every day (except maybe when I am in traffic on a hot day – I don’t necessarily enjoy that).
Home, being my primary office, certainly lends itself to the ease of blending work and life. However, what is most valuable to that flow is doing what I love for a living. I have made the choice not to sit in an office somewhere else. I chose some flexibility. I have chosen to be my own boss.
I’ve had lots of “jobs”. A job . . . working for someone else – getting a paycheck. It’s pretty easy: perform tasks well, be nice, show up on time, etc., and when the allotted time passes of the same routine, you get a check – VOILA. There is generally little risk and yes, there are days when I miss it, because there are days when it would be easier.
I’m not talking about passionate careers – policeman, fireman, nurses and the like. A job is usually something one does not like, however does, as a means to an end . . . ‘can’t wait until my vacation time’; ‘filling up my 401k’; ‘here comes Friday’.
Solo-preneurship is not for everyone. To be sure, it isn’t for anyone that wants to stay ‘safe’, is shy, reluctant to meet challenges, accept that not all their time is ‘free’ and isn’t prepared to be working often – it isn’t easy.
Ultimately, when I stopped compartmentalizing, it became much easier for me. More flow and more fun . . . less stop and more start . . . less stress . . . no guilt. Everyone and everything gets the time and space desired, because it is all choice.
The flow has created more friendships. Not compartmentalizing who I am when I am working and who I am when I am “home” has created less tension when I am communicating…both at the stores and in classes.
I am who I am – all the time. Imperfect, quirky, funny, vulnerable, creative, strong, vibrant, compassionate, honest, sometimes oversharing . . . and some other stuff Making this blend has made me more authentic to who I am.
So what’s the message here? It’s really quite simple. Be who you are in all you do, . . . and . . . love . . . all . . . that . . . you . . . do – or stop doing it <3 – find a way to stop putting your hand on the stove – while it’s hot. I’m working on the traffic thing.
Now, go make something . . . right now . . . even if it’s trouble <3