While the title may suggest so, this is not a breakup letter. At least not between you and I. Instead, this may very well be a breakup letter between me and the forces of “normal”. It’s a breakup and a declaration.
You may be thinking, how on earth could she need space after a year of the pandemic and separation? Hear me out.
The past year I committed to something called the Morning Pages. This is the process from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. It was recommended to me by a dear friend and mentor last spring. Since then, I haven’t missed a single day.
The process involves writing three pages every single morning immediately upon waking. It’s a process of “clearing house” and “brain dump”. It’s clearing and cleansing the mind. It’s processing. As David Allen famously says, “The mind is meant for having ideas, not holding them.”
Beyond the clearing, it was a daily commitment to myself and a new challenge. I loved it. Truth be told, at the beginning it was very much a life raft for me. It was a weird life raft in the sense that it gave me life and was at the same time painful.
Write three pages a day stream of consciousness and eventually you stumble upon parts of yourself and your life that are unpleasant or at the very least uncomfortable. Especially living alone during a pandemic.
At some point, I’m not sure when, it stopped being a challenge.
It became a craving.
Each day I show up to the pages and the words flow from my mind, down through my hand, into my fingers and out the pen. Every single day. I imagine the pensive from Harry Potter. My pen is my wand and my consciousness is the periwinkle blue stream of thought and memory I get to take out of my head and put onto the paper.
It’s a salve for my soul. A daily date with myself to stay in tune with her, her desires, her fears, her hopes and her dreams.
I remember thinking at the beginning of the pandemic - I’m going to crush this. I’m going to be so productive. I will build a business, I will do morning pages, I will make art, I will complete yoga teacher training, and I will be the healthiest I’ve ever been. Ready, set, go!
I’ve been known to throw myself into a project or two - a trait that I love about myself that just like anything, can be a pendulum swung too far in one direction. Turns out I’ve done or am doing all of these things I set out to do. I “got after it” as they say.
However, what I didn’t expect what a huge lesson that is prompting this breakup and declaration. The lesson is this:
I’ve discovered this very specifically as a need, not a want. It became ever so crystal clear to me as I recently completed my 2020 taxes.
Upon reviewing quarter one of 2020, I felt my body tighten. I gazed over bank statements and calendars, tallied up miles and calculated columns of expenses. I was utterly shocked at my previous life.
Most days I was gone and in “doing “ mode for at least twelve hours solely for work. I was driving all over Chicago land and receiving low pay. I saw in my calendar days when I cancelled lessons due to sickness and burnout.
No wonder, I thought.
My body tightened, my throat tensed up and my jaw clenched as I witnessed my previous life. I was perplexed at how I functioned that way for so many years.
I pulled a fine tooth comb through the “hustle” that is so revered only to discover that my reverence has shifted gears. I felt the juxtaposition of the life I lead today.
There is no way I will ever go back to that, I thought.
Once I know something, I can’t un-know it. Once I experience a new knowing of freedom and authenticity, back tracking feels gross - a law of the universe I sometimes would rather go without.
What do I know after a year of morning pages and pandemic life?
I need space to be, to stay tapped in to myself, usher in the muses, love the world around me, to fully nourish myself and in turn nourish others, and finally I need space because it feels good.
And, yes, I get to feel good guilt free! (So do you.)
In the Tetris game of life, it’s easy to stack task on task on task. In fact, my whole life I have been socially rewarded for this stacking, busy lifestyle and burnout.
These days in my personal Tetris, or what I call Divine Design, I will be stacking space as a daily part of my life. This need for space can be boiled down to a series of statements I know to be true.
Just before launching Mindful Music in January of 2020, I was on the phone with my Grandpa. He asked me what I was up to and a rattled off a list a mile long. I also vividly remember that this conversation took place over Bluetooth in my car as I was driving from one gig to another.
He said, “Don’t get too busy. Space is when you think of new ideas. It’s important.”
I felt how profound it was in the moment and I took it to heart. However, there is nothing like actual experience to really integrate and hit a lesson home.
First initiated by the pandemic, morning pages and then echoing out to all parts of my life, space has been the keeper of my ideas and creativity. Anytime I look away from a screen, let my mind wander, and have white space on my calendar - ideas from the heart burst forth.
It is important and it’s a need.
Variations on a popular theme, I have added an addendum. Yes, the older I get, the less I know. However, the more I feel.
What have I learned about feeling? My body never lies to me and each time I ignore it, it boomerangs back with a sting.
What does this mean for my spacious life? It means I went to bed at 8pm last night because I felt exhausted. My body spoke and I listened. Turns out, it works. I feel wonderful today.
When I sense or feel something is off, I trust it and act accordingly. This is why space is a now a need - without space, the world is loud, noisy and crowded.
In turn, my inner world can become loud, noisy and crowded - it can block my inner knowing and feeling with what everyone else wants to put on my plate.
The times I live and decide based on my inner knowing are the times when I am successful, and the times where I’m out of touch are when I create chaos and dissonance.
I am committed to following the feeling. And what’s my tried and true vehicle to my knowing and feeling? Space.
In the space and in the feeling of my life, there are messages. Any time I am blocked in any part of my life, this is the most fruitful question that I can ask.
Am I listening?
Am I flowing with reality and the ideas coming through, or am I resisting or arguing with them?
Am I banging my head against a wall doing the same thing over and over, or am I adjusting based on the information I’m receiving?
Am I not only in tune with my body, but actually listening to it?
Oprah famously says, “Your life is always speaking to you. If you don’t listen to the whispers, eventually you’ll get a scream.”
In my busy-bee previous life, I would go full canter in a direction and many times forget to listen. Not only forget, not be able to because I was going so fast.
I got many screams - relationships crashing, in bed sick, climbing the career ladder I was “supposed” to be climbing only to find myself somewhere I didn’t want to be.
Space allows me to ask myself the question, “Are you listening?”
Then I can listen and live on what I receive.
I can without a doubt say that every single one of my creative endeavors has been born and expanded in a state of relaxation.
Stress turns me into a robot or tin man - frozen, creaky, monotone. Relaxation allows me flow, ease and innovation.
Stress is different than calling forth greatness in a pinnacle moment. Stress is different than necessity. Stress is not discomfort or vulnerability.
To me, stress is a lifestyle of chronic ignorance and oppression of my soul. It’s letting the world around me dictate my inner life and state.
Through giving myself space, regardless of the outer world, I can tap into relaxation. I can lean back energetically and allow my creativity to flow.
Space is building a home in my life for relaxation - the perfect home for creativity to blossom and live.
The morning pages and a year of spaciousness re-taught me the power and importance of nurturing.
I actually killed three succulents in the past year. Yes, the farm girl destroyed three succulents, the hardest plants to kill. Sorry, Mom!
How? I didn’t nurture them. Why? I simply didn’t care.
Something that I did nurture day in and day out was my inner artist and my inner state. This is at the forefront of what I care deeply about. This showed up in spaciousness and expression in many forms.
I took long walks on the beach at sunrise. I wrote my morning pages. I gave myself one full day with no work-related obligations on the calendar each week.
I nurtured my soul and my creativity, I consistently filled my artist cup and in turn it flourished.
What I realized is that I had malnourished this part of myself for years. It had died in many ways.
Yes, I was a full time musician who was creatively and artistically malnourished. The “hustle” will do that to you - especially when dictated by what dominant culture deems suitable.
This year I revived it and I am committed to nourishing it through my newest value and lesson: space.
I declare that I need space in my life.
It fuels my soul, a life I love and allows me to serve others at the highest level.
I am committed to nourishing space as a part of my life forevermore.
In every declaration there are things that get to be released, or “broken up with”.
I am breaking up with the ideas and structures of “hustle” and “normal” that are beginning to knock on my door as things start to legitimately reopen.
I am breaking up with burnout.
I am breaking up with people pleasing.
I am breaking up with abandoning my creativity and inner voice.
I am breaking up with days jam packed with draining activities.
We are done!
And in the words of Taylor Swift, we are never ever ever getting back together.
This life of spaciousness and fulfillment is just too damn good.
As the world “reopens” I invite you to ponder what you have learned in the past year of spaciousness and what you are committed to carrying forth with you.
I invite you to commit to a non-negotiable based in your truth and no one else’s.
What have you discovered that you need in your life?
What have you nourished that you want to continue nourishing?
What will you declare and commit to?
And most importantly, what do you get to break up with to keep that commitment to yourself?
The biggest gap I see as a coach is not people not knowing what they want in life. It’s people knowing and not actually doing it.
If you’d like support with this as the world reopens and you commit to your life design and needs, book a free call with me and let’s talk about coaching! Click here to book your call. I am now accepting 1:1 clients and would love to support you in your journey through mindful empowerment.
Breaking up and breaking through,
P.S. Know someone who wants to create more mindfulness in their life? Send them this email and lets vibrate higher together!