Real+Raw: Don't Give Up, Get Quiet
The Only Constant Is Change
I love my 'job,' and if I didn't I wouldn't stick around for very long. I'm not the type of person who can stick around in something I don't enjoy or feel inspired by. I don't have patience for the dull and uninviting because I believe life should be colourful, exciting, and transformational. I don't want to be the same person in 10 years, I want to grow, I want to mature, I want to be a better person. I'm not in denial... I know that life throws punches and I'm grateful for it. The only constant we can rely on is change. That's why I have anitya (a sanskrit word for impermanence) tattoo'd on my forearm, a friendly reminder to never get too comfortable with the good or the bad, because all we have is the present, tomorrow will change, it will pass by, we will be transformed and etched in to something else. There is a lot of beauty in that, also heartache if you are attached to how things are.
Attachment is the root of human suffering, as said by Buddha, so the best way to rid ourselves of suffering is to be aware of it, aware of our attachments, our desires, to sit with them and see them, to realize our ego likes to have things the way they are or at least to be in control of the kind of change we are dealt. Control is so appealing, so alluring and seductive but its also extremely boring and predictable because we will always choose comfort, what we know, what we feel OK with, what feels SAFE. But to be safe for so long, you cut off the flow of life and in the moment of stagnation we then start to crave change again but yearn for it to be our way... so then we get stuck. Stuck with wanting things to go our way but too afraid to make the changes because we know as soon as we get the ball rolling it is no longer in our control... Life takes over and that is far scarier than to remain in our comfort zone even if we are miserable, angry, or afraid.
This past week I was in a strange lull, after arriving home from my vacation/workation, I felt uninspired, not good enough, and considered throwing in the towel (dramatic, I know) and go back to school and use my brains. I would lay in bed thinking that I was wasting my intelligence by being an artist... (yikes!) I should be a doctor, a vet, a counsellor, a social worker, something useful! It took me awhile to realize that my brain was in over-drive, I was sabotaging all of my efforts because I wasn't comfortable in the quiet moments of my business, the moments where I don't have a surge of inspiration or excitement for a project or client. I forgot the heart of it, why I started in the first place, and what I love about what I do.
I've enjoyed the quiet in my meditation and yoga practice but when it came to my work, my passion... I couldn't stomach it. I couldn't stand for a single second not working on something that made me want to stay up all night working. I couldn't believe that my passion would have lull's too... I thought it would always be high-times, no low-times in sight. And now looking at how many self-starters there are, how entrepreneurship is now more appealing than it used to be, we are force fed inspirational quotes and words of wisdom of how its always going to be inspiring and exciting to be your own boss and to do what you love, but the reality is, just like any other career, you are going to have bad days, your going to feel uninspired, you are going to want to give up and you are going to doubt yourself or feel like you suck compared to everyone else in your industry. Thats ok. You're human.
Get Quiet, Show Gratitude
In that lull, I didn't recognize my growth, I didn't take notice of how far I have come in such a short amount of time... I couldn't celebrate myself, all I could do was beat myself on how I was feeling and thinking of a new way to feel the spark again. I was addicted to inspiration, addicted to innovation, addicted to being in the creation-side of my business. I couldn't sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour. I just wanted to keep striving, creating, buzzing! I couldn't be content.
I texted my best friend when I had my "A-HA!" moment because she was going through something very similar; growing pains with a new journey (she's an entrepreneur too) I said, "We are always craving, never content...We love to grow, we love the spark, the inspiration, the flux of ideas... It's hard to be in quiet stages but we have to get comfortable with it so the next spark comes instead of starting over again to feel it.. We are inspiration junkies!"
So where do we go from here? We get quiet. We meditate. We focus on gratitude.
When we get quiet, when we focus on our breath and we look through the veil of our own thoughts - it's there where we can see our discomfort, where we can be aware of our self-sabotaging nature or fears. So close your eyes, sit comfortably, breathe easily and name every passing feelings and emotion and just observe. Instead of running away, instead of starting over I recognized my sabotaging nature and addiction to innovation, I found the root of my unhappiness. As soon as I found it, I could sit with it, once I sat with it I could let it go and start over. I started over with something very simple: gratitude.
Gratitude for my clients. Gratitude for my partner, my dog, my home, my health, my love of music, for delicious tea, for beautiful collaborations with super cool people in my industry, for being paid to make art and to see people in love, for not having to go back to school, for marriage, for devotion... for breath, for simplicity, for my yoga practice that has shaped me in to who I am today.