Side of Bacon, Please
It literally took me 3 hours to settle this monkey-mind down enough to sit and begin to write this morning. It’s been months since I have published a blog post. I miss writing. Writing is as essential for me as are my five senses. It fills an empty space in me when I’m relaxed enough, not rushed, that I can begin to feel the creative flow of all-the-words. I need to not feel the constant pressure of to-do lists, responsibilities, electronic demands, and the noise of everyday to be able to be still. I need the peace that nature brings to me when my mind has been allowed to rest from the absence of distractions like the quiet found deep in the woods near a swollen river where no other sounds live besides the birds, wind in the trees, and water rushing. It takes time for me to unwind from this raggedy, daily grind. I love going away for personal retreats on a weekend where I’m removed from the constant and familiar call of demands because my mind can rest. Do you feel the constant demand and pull of so many things that you don’t know where to begin? This might help you. Read on!
Creativity stalls when I don’t take the time to make sure I’m in balance or take time to stop the constant personal demand of filling every minute with what feels necessary, a responsibility, or a must-be-doing-something-that-accomplishes. Those with a radically high sense of responsibility carry more of a burden of the weight than they must. They pick it all up themselves, carry it high above their heads, and struggle under the weight of it all. I’m driven. In some ways this is very good. People know they can rely on me. I give all my work more than 100% so my bosses and co-workers know that my work is thorough and excellent. I have a great reputation with my employers. Sometimes though, I’m driven by fear in this constant rush of busyness that extends far beyond the 40-hour work week. Fear sometimes dictates that I have to keep busy accomplishing something toward the plan for my future, that I can’t stop working hard on classes, certifications, paperwork and building a business. The months run into years. And it’s true, we must set our goals to make our dreams happen, but we also must find a way to make this unfold without forgetting that we need to make a life while we’re making a living. If the fear is motivating good decisions, goal-launching and moving us forward, not keeping us locked in an ice-world of immobility, we can be led by it, rather than driven by it and we will feel the lead toward the next, intentional plan. I crave a livelihood of passionate resolution.
I was diagnosed with tendinitis in my right wrist recently, my dominant hand. Unbelievably, I told my doctor when she said that I couldn't work for a month, “no, there's just too much to do”. Of course I can’t type 8 hours a day while trying to heal this! How ridiculous is this? To literally put aside my own physical health because my sense of responsibility is so high at my job. Many of us do this! We get moving so fast all the time, we simply do not know how to slow down. I’m learning to slow. I’m learning to say no. I’m learning to say yes to the intentional priorities, and not to everything. I don't have to do everything myself. Life really is so much about acceptance and letting go. So, I went on partial medical leave so that I would be typing less each day while doing all I need to with occupational therapy. And would you believe the time off was filled with appointments and to-do lists? Of course you do, because you can probably relate to the same thing in your own life! But! They are important priorities and I’m so thankful I have had the time because of this hidden blessing of pain in my right wrist. Life always seems to bring something good out of something bad that has happened.
As I pondered this, I was thinking about all that I feel like I have to accomplish all the time, but I was also thinking about all that I have accomplished and how it is that I have been able to put a halter on some of the fear and anxiety so I could steer my desires to the finish line. I thought about want I have wanted long term. A goal that would probably take the formulation of a 5-year plan and the grit to stick with each milestone. I set smaller, tangible, annual goals as I thought through each part of what I needed to accomplish and why. I interviewed people with the experience I was looking for and asked for advice on next steps. My vision started to come into view, and I had an inkling of possibilities spark in me. The big dream started to feel possible as I thought about how each smaller goal was really taking me closer to the big dream.
My dream has always been to work in hospitality. I love to host, entertain, serve others, make people feel good, and pampered. Anything that helps people find soul wellness. I love gift giving, decorating, and cooking. Since I graduated from high school, many years ago now, I have wanted to work in hotel management and have been thinking of running a Bed and Breakfast since my 20’s. My dream has been, and still is, to have investment property, perhaps an Airbnb, or maybe run a little cluster of cabins, or a small, themed boutique hotel. It's a big dream and I share this vulnerability with you because I want to encourage you not to give up on your big dreams just because they seem too big, but rather to take the time to set reasonable goals each step of the way. This has been the key for me.
My first goal was to find ways to either decrease my expenses or increase my income for this past year so I rented my guestroom – Phase 1 complete. The second goal was to obtain my real estate license since that can be used for increased income with real estate sales or admin, or a free apartment working in property management – Phase 2 complete – Then, to later save on the commission on my own home – Phase 3 in progress - which will also lead straight into the final goal of saving more money to be able to purchase my first property. Home run!
I have a 5-year plan, each benchmark hitting about every 12 months and I’m already at phase 3! If you’re like me, seeing far into the future for realized goals does not come easy. Thoughts of giving up, or feeling defeated by momentary impossibilities can deflate your motivation. But each time I accomplish one goal it is so deliciously soul-satisfying and gives me hope that I will make it to the next one, and eventually my end goal. It's like pure maple syrup pooled in one square of a fluffy Belgian waffle, and when you eat that one bite it's so very deliciously satisfying even though you haven't had the whole waffle yet.
Accomplishing each goal gives you the momentum and the satisfaction to know that you can get to the next one. If you have trouble imagining far into the future as I do, try this. It has really helped me feel motivated to keep moving forward. I'm not giving up and I hope you don't give up either! Take time to think through what you want and set the intentional goals on your calendar. Work hard and make the sacrifices you need to, and remember that it is only for a time. I’ll be honest, some of the steps have been a big personal sacrifice for me (time, money, personal choices), and we can just feel so exhausted, but it is leading me straight to that moment when I’m going to sit down with that whole waffle and eat every delicious, soul-satisfying bite dripping with pure maple syrup. I plan on having a side of bacon and a strong espresso with it as I think about all the gratitude and grit that led me right to my dream.