2016 has been an intense year for me. I have been headed straight down the path to burnout for a while, so I decided, in the interest of my health and sanity, to take a break. Specifically, to create a month of space, a time of reflection, rest, and input.
You see, when you are a coach, a teacher, a mother, or really anyone who is tremendously caring and interested in making the world a better place, you become a container for other people, holding them and their fears, their joys, their quandaries.
And this is great! Until it isn’t.
Because if you are in a state of constant output without the appropriate amount of input, you end up empty.
I took one whole month of space to refill creatively. I took a 10 day vacation up the West Coast; my computer was not invited. I canceled almost all of my social engagements. I stopped working at 5PM whether or not work was done. I took long baths instead of doing chores.
Here’s what I learned:
#1: When you create space, answers suddenly appear.
That thing you’ve been wrestling with forever? Put it down for a month. You will shocked at how quickly you know exactly what to do.
#2: Creative output requires creative input.
How are you going to write, sing, coach, heal, create from an empty soul? Go to a museum and walk around for hours. Read a book about your favorite art movement. Watch a film with a thesis and a theme. Fill yourself creatively so that there’s inspiration welling up inside you when you need it.
#3: Some people won’t get it.
Some people won’t like that you need to take time for yourself. They might say that taking space is lazy or unrealistic. This is okay. Their reactions aren't about you.
#4: The people who love you will support you wholeheartedly.
The people who are meant to be in your life will be okay with you taking care of yourself. I promise.
#5: There is tremendous love in saying, “I can’t hold you right now.”
Creating space for yourself is necessary. Gently and lovingly telling someone that you can’t currently be their container will not break them-it will allow them to learn to hold themselves.
#6:You need to break up with one-sided relationships.
Guard your time and energy carefully. Spend it only on those who are worthy. Pay attention to who makes you feel expansive and who is an energy vampire.
#7: Fulfilling your soul’s highest purpose isn’t about productivity.
You exist in this form, at this time, for a purpose. That purpose isn’t to answer every email as quickly as humanly possible. Find a better way to measure your worth than items crossed off your to-do list.
#8: Getting on your phone as soon as your eyes open in the morning might as well be focus suicide.
Be with yourself for a few minutes before being with technology. Dismiss your devices at the end of the day.
#9: Half of the “musts” are actually “shoulds” and ultimately end up as “who cares?”
No one cares if the laundry isn’t folded. Martha Stewart and the life police are not on their way to your house because there are still dishes in the sink. Elect to leave the chores alone once in a while. You and your housemates will be okay.
#10: Few things are as healing as being outside.
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