So how am I doing in my quest to re-invent my life, follow my evolving Blisses and create the life I really, really want?
Honestly, this week I feel like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off: so much to do, and very limited time to do it in.
Tomorrow morning I head into the woods for a week of making music at Jazz Camp West, which means that all of the deadlines that would normally not have to get done until next week had to get done (you guessed it) this week.
In other words, two-plus weeks of work (plus packing!) compressed into one week of time.
So here’s the feeling: Urgency! Panic! Stress! I’ll never get it all done! Ack!
Thankfully, I figured out some time ago that this is just a feeling. It’s not actually reality.
Hello Urgency, my old friend
As it happens, this is a feeling I’m intimately acquainted with. I frequently feel like my mile-long to-do list is just getting longer, like some bottomless pit that only expands. Like I’m continually running full-speed up a down escalator, never getting any closer to the next floor. Like my whole life is tumbling to pieces around me.
(Am I alone here, people? If you’re urgent and you know it, clap your hands. And leave a comment. I know you’re out there!)
Of course, being Multi-Passionate doesn’t help in this regard. No matter how well I’m doing following one of my evolving Blisses, at any given moment there are invariably other Blisses getting short shrift.
Until I narrow my focus to one thing and one thing only (either that or manage to clone myself, which may have a greater chance of happening) this is not going to change.
So I settle for second best: simply acknowledging that the headless-chicken feeling is just that – a feeling.
What do I mean by that, “just a feeling”?
I mean that, in fact, my entire life is not tumbling to pieces around me.
I mean that, when I look back at the decades I’ve been on this planet, I notice that things actually continue to improve (interspersed with the occasional crisis), despite the feeling that everything is falling apart.
I mean that, when I can step outside of my panic and urgency, I see benign reality: my life is going well.
It just feels like it’s a big ‘ol mess.
Nature or nurture?
I know I come by this anxiety honestly. It’s in my blood. Although my dad is probably the most mellow human to walk the planet (without the help of controlled substances, I might add), my mom is a little more… shall we say… “high strung.”
Okay, a lot more. (Sorry, Mom, if you’re reading. I love you anyway.)
Perhaps my own urgent patters are because I’m a girl. Perhaps they’re because, being Jewish, I absorbed the cultural tendency toward urgency. (One shouldn’t be surprised that a people which has been oppressed and threatened with extinction throughout the millennia [the Holocaust being just the most recent example] might have some members who are a tad bit anxious.)
Regardless of whether it’s in my genes or in my upbringing, unfortunately this is one area where I take more after the distaff side of my line.
Taming the beast
Since it appears that I’m stuck with this recurring headless chicken syndrome, what to do about it?
Here are a few things I’ve learned that help:
1) (As mentioned above) Acknowledge that this feeling of desperate urgency is just a feeling, not benign reality. Repeat as necessary.
2) Notice where things are going well. Repeat as necessary.
3) Be sure to get regular exercise. (This may require some forcing, because the urgency pattern says there’s no time for exercise. Don’t pay any attention. This may require some effort.)
4) Stay away from junk food, and eat the freshest, most healthful food you can.
5) Allow for moments of distraction, rest and relaxation, even if they’re brief. And forgive yourself for them.
If you have your own urgency patterns, try these steps out yourself. Let me know how it goes. (And if you have tips of your own, write them in the comments!)
Noticing what’s going well in my quest to create the life I really, really want
Lots of things, actually!
• I’ve got some Thriving Artists Project interviews lined up that I’m super-excited about. I can’t wait to learn from these artist/entrepreneurs! More details soon…
• Discussions are proceeding with some potential Thriving Artists Project partners. More details on that as I have them.
• Although I didn’t paint every day this week, I realize that I did actually do My Important Work every day. As mentioned above, part of being Multi-Passionate means not doing every single thing I’m passionate about all the time. It just comes with the territory.
On the other hand, there are lots of things I can do that qualify as doing My Important Work, which is kinda cool. On the days I wasn’t painting, I was scanning my art, or I was making music, or writing, or brainstorming my next steps.
(Good rule of thumb: if it counts, count it.)
• And the big one: after spending the past six months not doing much about following my evolving music Bliss (Ack! Not enough time! Must focus on things that are likely to bring in more money!), I leave tomorrow for Jazz Camp West! 8 days and 7 nights of all-jazz-all-the-time!
This is a huge triumph! I missed camp last year, for reasons that are too annoying to go into at the moment (can’t deal with rising blood pressure when I’m under the gun to get this post written so I can bring my ailing iMac to the Apple Genius Bar for a new hard drive transplant).
Let’s just say I learned my lesson.
My week at camp, it turns out, provides a big part of the energy that propels me through the rest of the year. In terms of the annual energy and happiness generated, it’s worth a lot more than the 8 glorious days it takes up.
And it’s worth even more than that
It’s funny: summers tend to be times of especially high-stress for me. Since much of the art I sell is wedding-related, it’s a busy time to begin with. Combine that with two weeks of being away from the business (did I mention I go to another music camp, CCMC, in July? Teehee!), and you get one very time-crunched diva.
But it’s all worth it. Watch for a full report in about a week!
(And while I’m gone, watch this space for a series that takes you behind the scenes of the making of my self-produced CD, Online Dating Blues.)
Now it’s back to running around like a headless chicken for the next few hours.
And reminding myself that all is well.
Hell, I’ll be swingin’ in the trees tomorrow!
Have a great week!