Knowing When to Quiet Things Down
Summer / Fall of 2011 was literally the busiest time of my entire life. Juggling a studio/business, teaching three online courses, selling products from a second business website, and struggling to keep up with all of life’s regular responsibilities, I found myself overwhelmed (and not handling it gracefully, to say the least). I remember Megan Miller of Picture This Photography walking into the studio one summer morning and I had been there working all night without much sleep for the third night that week. “Oh my God, you look terrible,” she said. And I did. My son was sleeping on the studio couch. We brought his video games and bicycle so he could ride around for entertainment while I worked. Since when did something that I love so much (my business) become such a distraction in my life? And not only that… I realized my values were shifting as a result. The large townhouse I was living in took so much time to clean, the photography studio needed to be tended to, and let’s not mention keeping up with all the paperwork and organization of bills. Thanks to Megan and her husband Adam for making that part easier on me
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been in this predicament.. where life’s responsibilities weigh so heavily that you’re not sure how to find comfort or balance. The key is realizing that something needs to be done, and then doing something about it.
Simplifying Your Life
Since that time I’ve had some heartfelt discussions with Nate Embrey over at TheShotShot, the incredible Tina Dolin ( who has been an incredible asset to my journey ), Amy Parrish of Atelier, Taisha Holland at Cloud 9 hair design. Josh Branstetter ( jabberpics.com ), the spectacular Kina Williams ( who has become quite the spiritual mentor ) — my sister and grandparents, and some wonderful friends. Yes this is a thanks to you all before continuing <3
I’ve been wanting to write about this for quite sometime but it wasn’t until a trip to the mountains a couple of weeks ago that all of the manifestations of “letting go” seemed to become very clear to me. (I’ll be posting a video blog about that soon.)
Although it isn’t an easy thing to do but here are some basic steps:
1) Determine what is absolutely necessary, and what is important to you. Once you do that, it’s time to start “cleaning house” so to speak. It just so happened that a move was in the cards for me, so it helped me rid my life of a lot of material things and focus on what was sentimental. One thing I knew I wanted to do was move into a smaller living space for awhile (if not permanently). It’s taken some time to adjust to the smaller space, but again, after my visit to the mountains and returning home, it feels more like home here than ever now. You have to be happy where you are and appreciate it for what it is — if you can’t do that then ask yourself what needs to change, and change it! You can do it
2) Accept that this is a gradual process. You aren’t going to just get rid of all the mind clutter and the stress, you’re going to have to make a plan of action and stick with it. For example.. I decided I didn’t want a car payment anymore, so now I’m driving my sister’s first car that’s paid off. That was my “step one.” When you can act on things with a step by step approach, you’ll be more likely to follow through.
3) Accept that you might cry a lot. (haha). This is emotional. But again — you can do this.
4) Determine what will make your life and well-being a healthy place to exist. For me, that meant cutting out alcohol, staying away from situations that distracted from my personal and spiritual growth. I realized that more than anything else I wanted to be a good parent, a good friend, a helpful person, to be truer to my motivations and aspirations as a businessperson (or do something else and preserve my love for photography) …… and ultimately to evolve spiritually and manifest a sense of composure in all that I do (instead of chaos). It didn’t start out as chaos, but if you’re unprepared it sure can get that way in a hurry.
5) Accept your faults and forgive yourself. More tears probably. But that’s okay… let’s just call that “adult growing pains“.
6) Changing your values really does change your behavior. I promise that lying beneath all of that doubt, confusion, and worry, there’s a pretty amazing individual under there.
7) Be willing to be alone. People are going to “go away” so to speak. You’re on a journey. But rather than looking at it as “losing people” look at it as staying true to your path. There are billions of human beings and when you follow your bliss, you’ll run into others who are following theirs. It’s incredible! You’ll also realize that there are people right under your nose that have been there with you all along. People come and go, and that’s okay. If you have to stay away from things that distract from your path for a little while until you’re more secure in the transition, that’s okay too. I find that even the simplest social gatherings aren’t good for me sometimes. Knowing your own boundaries is essential to the development of self-discipline, and surprisingly it is through discipline that one can find a true sense of freedom.
8) Be aware of the energy all around you, and of the energy that you transmit. That always sounds so vague. But I believe that we all have a sixth sense and we all know when our environment doesn’t exactly match our “flow” of energy. The important thing to understand is – it’s you, not them. Not that there’s anything wrong with you, but it’s up to you to decide what to do with the energy around you in varying situations.
9) Practice kindness and respect towards all beings.
10) Remember that your happiness depends on your perspective!
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman
That’s all for now.. I’m hoping this was worth something to you all. Until next time.. I leave you with a mobile photo of the place I was when the “light went on” in my head… at Mt. Pisgah in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Have a beautiful weekend and a lovely holiday everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read!