my sabbatical month {a peaceful adventure}

What has this sabbatical month been like?
An adventure.
Kind of like the rest of the year.

At the beginning of each year,
a single word
attaches itself to the months to come.

The word for 2016 is adventure
and so far
it has been quite a year of adventure.

This month’s adventures included
time to slow
and be present in the current moment.

~A flexible schedule that allows for
spontaneity
to love myself and love others.

~A purposeful choice to be with
the people
who are with me in my life right now.

~Giving myself freedom to be
interrupted
even when my day does have an agenda.

It’s been beautiful and I’m going to
take this peace
with me into the coming months.

What will the coming months hold?
I don’t know
except adventure and the peace I carry with me.

apparently you don't have to sew to enjoy the book I wrote

Jeremiah (aka "newmarkstudios" on Snapchat)
bought the {classic wrap skirt} book for his wife and daughters.
He decided to take a look inside before sharing it with them,
and ended up losing track of time while reading it.

He isn't the only one who has told me
that although they don't have plans to sew a skirt
they have found value in this sewing book I've written
because of the story it contains.

This really is my passion -
using poetic imagery
to express and share
a beautiful story.

I'm glad to hear from my readers
that I am doing just that with my book.
That I'm not simply teaching people to make a skirt,
but spreading beauty into their lives.

I want to write things that will bring beauty into your life.
I want to write what you want to read.
If I were to write on any topic, just for you,
what would you have me write?

taking a month off of work

July 2016

On the first of the month, I published the {classic wrap skirt} book,
and then the sabbatical began.
A whole month set aside to step away from the work of establishing the jordan elisheva brand.

There are multiple reasons for this choice,
and the most important reason is also probably the strangest-sounding:
my God asked me to do it.

And so, I have set aside this seventh month of 2016
to step away from brand-building
in order to focus on building relationships.

It has been a beautiful month of unexpected opportunities.
The freedom I have allowed myself has inpired interactions with people I would have never met,
as well as the deepening of relationships already established

I have done just enough for the jordan elisheva brand to keep it running,
including these weekly blog posts,
but have chosen not to stress over any of it (so my schedule has been less rigid).

On top of this,
I am using this time of stepping away to give me room to reflect
and determine the future direction of j.e.

More writing, more sewing, something new entirely...
I am exploring many possibilities
and am excited to share them in the coming months!

how to listen to the voice of criticism without letting him get you down

when you come to the end of a project … and the voice of criticism shows up

I can look at every thing I’ve made
and hear a voice whispering
what I could have done better.

This voice comes around while I’m working on a project, yes,
but its whisper is particularly obnoxious at the end
when we are looking at the finished product.

Maybe it’s because while I’m in the midst of the project
the voice can point things out
that I can fix along the way,
so it ends up being rather helpful
so long as it doesn’t get carried away.

But then, when I come to the end,
all its whispers simply hang in the air
discouraging me, and causing me
to focus on those things
I can no longer fix.

listening to other voices alongside criticism … and finding balance

While it’s all too easy to listen to the voice of criticism,
there are other voices that try to add their two cents
as I examine my finished work.

These voices remind me of problems I overcame,
details I executed well,
and above all, moments of joy
that I experienced in the process of making.

I must choose to listen to them,
for they balance out the voice of criticism.

Is criticism right?
Does this whisper speak truth?
Usually.
But it isn’t the whole truth.

Don’t throw out criticism —
he can be very helpful
if you don’t let him drown out all other voices.

Set him aside for a moment.
Let him sit down quietly
while you listen to the other voices clamoring for attention.

Gather the truth from all of them
and pull them together into a balanced whole.

Yes, there may be room for improvement,
but there are also many things you have done well.

Bring these into focus
and you will find the criticism
is not so daunting and taunting.

drawing strength from criticism … and learning how to improve

Now that you have found your balance,
shift your focus again to the voice of criticism.

Listen to what he says
and sort out what may be true in his words.
Use them as a tool of discovery.

Let criticism teach you
and help you to identify areas
where you can learn and improve.

This room for improvement
can open up a beautiful realm of possibilities
if you choose to step into it bravely.

It has been said that courage
is feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway.

I have been afraid of this voice of criticism
but I find that when I am courageous
and face that fear I feel,
I am able to push through,
trying things I may never have attempted.

Criticism may be a harsh teacher sometimes,
but if you become a good student,
he will soften.
His voice will become gentler
when he finds that he does not need to raise his voice
in order to make you listen to him.

remembering that I’ve improved before … and will continue to improve

One way to encourage the voice of criticism
to not be so harsh
is to remind him that you’ve taken his words to heart in the past.

Point out to him and yourself
those things about this project
that demonstrate your journey of improvement.

That technique that used to be so difficult,
but that you executed so well this time around.

A mistake that you caught in time to fix,
one that no one would guess you made at all because it’s invisible now.

Notice these things
and take time to smile at them.
This is evidence of who you are:
an artisan, constantly improving your craft.

Now, an artisan constantly improving her craft
will welcome the voice of criticism
and allow him to teach her.

This is evidenced by your past improvement,
so take this truth with you as you leave this project
and go to the next.

Let the positivity that you now associate with this project
inspire and comfort you with the knowledge
that you will continue to grow.

Begin something new,
and let the voice of criticism guide you to do the job well.
The process never truly ends, though a particular project might,
so never let the voice of criticism paralyze you.

Only allow the voice of criticism to speak
so long as he is pushing you to be better.
Only listen to his voice
so long as you are pushing through fear to accomplishment.

Let him do his job, but don’t let him get you down.

talent isn't everything

are you talented?

Do you consider yourself talented?
What about the people around you -
do they see your talent?

Are you one of those people
who seems to be able to do
anything you set your mind to?

Or are you someone who struggles
through every step
of your creative process?

talent-envy

Whatever your answer to the above questions,
you can probably think of someone who is more talented than you.

Who came to mind?
Did you think of someone who seems to overflow
with natural ability?

Everything just comes so easily for her!
She doesn’t have to practice much,
and when she does practice, it’s completely enjoyable
because, quite frankly, she doesn’t have to try hard!

I have talent-envy:
this tendency to look at someone
who is just so good at what she does
that she hardly seems to be trying!

People look at me with talent-envy;
There are certain things I do
that come naturally enough
that I don’t have to try hard
in order to get good results.

But that’s just it…

the talent advantage myth

I don’t have to try hard to get good results,
and so, too often I don’t try hard,
and I settle for “good” instead of pushing myself to get better.

As a result, I don’t have much of an advantage
over someone who doesn’t have the same natural bent that I do.

My natural talent has led me to be complacent
and not grow in these areas of creativity.
More than that,
I have watched as people with less talent than I have
work hard and easily surpass my ability.

Talent isn’t much of an advantage.

I picture it sort of like a sprinter running a marathon.
Maybe she can shoot out in front
at the beginning of the race,
but before long she will give out
because she hasn’t trained for distance.
She may never even make it to the finish line.

It’s like the old, classic tale
of the tortoise and the hare.
Steady forward motion
is far more effective
than being fast out of the gate
and completely giving up a few steps in.

talent vs. practice

Another reason that natural talent
can be a disadvantage
is pride.

I had enough natural talent when it came to sewing
that I quit sewing lessons before I probably should have.
As a result, I had to take time later
to relearn things I’d taught myself incorrectly.

Because certain things came easily,
I bristled when it came to practicing
the things that didn’t come so easily.

Fortunately, sewing meant enough to me
that I overcame this fault
and learned to practice.

But even now, as I have practiced and grown my skills,
I have found that those who began with less natural talent than I had
are now my peers; we have equal ability.

forget talent

Whether it’s talent
or talent-envy
that you’re full of,
set it aside.

It’s too easy to let either one
be an excuse.

Forget talent,
and embrace the hard work
of practice.

Show up every day,
grow any talent that you have,
and don’t worry about who has more than you do.