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.

"how am I supposed to find time to sew?"

answer: you’re not. in fact, you can’t.

You can’t find extra minutes like you can find spare change in your couch cushions;
everyone has the same 24 hours every day.

You can’t really make time, either,
for the same reason.

you have three choices: waste, spend, or invest

wasting time is easy

Any time that you simply let pass…
any minute empty of purpose…
this is wasted time.

sleep
daydreams
amusements
hanging out with friends
listening to music
social media
doodling
sewing

Yes, I included “sewing” in the list of time-wasters.

See, anything can be a time-waster.
Wasted time is time empty of purpose,
so if these things simply fill the void,
they are time-wasters.

But if there is a purpose mixed in,
then you haven’t wasted time,
you’ve spent it.

spending time requires being purposeful

Filling your time with any of these things
may be spending time purposefully.

Sleep re-charges and refreshes.
Daydreams may lead to epiphanies.
Amusements can bring joy and relaxation.
Hanging out with friends is important for community.
Listening to music is invigorating and life-giving.
Social media can be a great way to connect.
Doodling may help bring clarity.
Sewing is a creative outlet.

The important factor is knowing
why you are spending your time
on any given thing.

investing time requires wisdom

Filling your time with any of these things
may even be investing time wisely!

If you are not simply being purposeful with the present moment,
but also considering how it will affect the future for good,
then you are investing your time.

Consider how the way you are spending your moments
will affect and fit into the bigger picture
of how you are spending your life.

Invest wisely;
build something bigger
than your present.

Think of the people your life touches
and invest in them
as well as yourself.

Mostly, be aware,
be mindful,
and be wise.

learn to say “no”

In order to purposefully spend and wisely invest time
in the things that matter,
you have to learn to say “no” to the things that don’t.

Learning to say “no” to wasting time is hard enough,
but saying “no” to spending time
in order to better invest time is even harder.

The fact that you only have so many hours in a day
means that you have to say “no” to many things.
Will you be purposeful and wise about what you say “no” to?
Or will you simply let your time slip by?

Be purposeful, and decide what is worth saying “no” for.
If you want to spend time sewing,
you have to spend that time not doing other things.

You spend your time doing what is important to you;
Decide what is important to you, and do it.
Say no to other things.

That’s the only way to find time for anything.

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.

a time to rest

Shabbat Shalom!
I pray this beautiful sabbath day
brings you peace.

Today is my day of rest.
The one day out of the week
when I set aside work and breathe deep.

I considered scheduling a regular article for you today,
but that wouldn’t give you a real taste of the flow of my work.
I’d rather you sample the “set apart” nature of this day that is different.

So I simply invite you to share this moment of peace with me.
Take a deep breath. The deepest you’ve taken all week.
Let it out, and with it, release the pressure to do and let yourself be.

three keys to maintaining motivation

it’s too easy to become demotivated

In fact, I’m not motivated to write this right now.

We all hit dry spells,
times when our inspiration is weak
and motivation is low.

How to get out of the funk?

Or better yet,
how to prevent falling into it in the first place?

~ try something new

A change of place or a change of pace
can help you to find a new perspective.

Try a new
… tool
… material
… color
… medium
… technique

Step out of your comfort zone and do something for fun.

Take your project to a new place,
or change up your surroundings in another way;
play music or introduce a sweet scent.

Do something to change your perspective
and trigger your creativity.

Don’t limit your experimentation
to demotivated days.

Keeping yourself motivated
is easier than getting yourself motivated.

Inject variety into your habits.
Change things up regularly to head off boredom.
Find ways to make the mundane new and different.

~ surround yourself with other creatives

It’s more difficult to be idle
when you’re surrounded by activity.

It’s easy to be inspired
when the people around you are creating.

Surround yourself with creatives;
you will feed off of their energy,
and feed them energy.

If you aren’t in community already,
find a way to join one;
find a way to grow one.

Tell the people around you about your project.
Talk about what is making you feel stuck,
but more than that,
tell them why you began in the first place.
Talking about your passion will help to reignite it.

~ show up every day

Mostly, though, maintaining motivation is a discipline.

Sitting down to work is the first and most difficult step
toward accomplishing anything.

It is also the most effective way to awaken motivation.

Do not ask yourself whether or not
you will work on your project today.
Establish it as a habit;
don’t think about it - do it!

Remove the decision from the equation
and choose to show up even before it comes time to show up.

Some days you will feel more motivated than others,
but as you build the habit,
you’ll find that you don’t need to worry about feeling motivated,
you will simply be motivated.

I showed up today

I opened this document
and laid down an outline.

Still, I felt uninspired and unmotivated.

That is, until I filled in
the other elements of the trifecta
that I have described here.

I tried something new,
playing music that is very different
from my usual writing playlist.

I surrounded myself with other creatives,
and as a result, one of them issued a random challenge
that motivated me to write what you are reading now.

That challenge goes beyond this one article.
The discipline transcends a single writing session.

And so, I will not only be writing every day
(I have already established that habit);
I will also be publishing every day.

From now until July 1,
when I release the {classic wrap skirt} book for sale,
I will publish a new blog post every day.

I must, after all, practice what I preach.