Planning is the bane of joy. So why do I do it all the time? Why do I give myself a goal even on my days off? Why is it so scary to leave things up to chance and whims?
April 15, 2016 - Daily Notes
This week, I met Lucia's design advisor, Karly, for dinner on a sailboat. She swung through town and in exchange for her creative work had been offered a few nights' stay on a 32-foot floating beauty. She invited me to come for kale salad, wine and to talk Lucia.
It was Tuesday and it was raining. I was exhausted from waking up at 5:00 a.m. to help support one of my clients hosting Hillary Clinton for an Equal Pay Day event in New York. My job was to be a scribe; to watch the live broadcast, listen carefully, and quickly write a press release re-capping the event.
That work, my day job, is what enables me to continue going with Lucia right now. It also requires my full attention most weekdays. Pivoting from that headspace into the softer heart place from which I can write, speak, plan, manage, envision and create Lucia does not happen on a dime.
It stopped raining so we decided to go for a walk through Golden Gardens, the beach next door to the marina. Climbing out of the boat, Karly asked, "So, what's your plan for funding Lucia from here forward?"
Karly has a way of asking direct questions. I have a way of not being able to give succinct answers. Her question hit the center of my tired brain and I could feel the stem where fear lives rile up. The electrical charge moved out into my limbs and then back in again where it squeezed my gut enough to send my defenses straight up. I squirmed.
"Or, do you not want to talk about that? We can talk about something else," she said.
The only thing I dislike more than fear is letting it have its way. For my 34th birthday my parents gave me a card with a photograph of a small kitten sitting in a giant food bowl labeled "DOG." The kitten's wide eyes revealed terror, determination and optimism all at once.
"We can talk about it, sure," I said solidly, as my big leather boot stepped off the boat onto the concrete dock.
"I don't know yet and it scares me," I heard myself say. What ensued was an hour-long exploration the whole uncomfortable topic. No hard or fast answers appeared, but I did hear myself speak truth. I listened to Karly's ideas. I stayed in the bowl.
Good advisors, I think, are not people who have all of the answers. They do not always have more experience than you. Good advisors are the people who care enough to ask you the hard questions.
Karly fed me gourmet chocolate when we returned to the sailboat and gently steered our conversation back to design, editorial, and the only slightly less terrifying topic of my love life.
That kitten in the dog bowl is not fearless and neither am I. But the idea of making friends with the dog--of figuring out this puzzle and succeeding--is more exciting than it is fearful. So I keep going.
I must. You must. We all must. Fearless is so not part of it.
January 14, 2016 - Daily Notes
"So basically you are doing two full-time jobs plus another part-time job," said my primary care physician.
It was my annual visit and she is thorough. This came at the end of a series of questions designed to get at the possible underlying cause of the edgy feeling I've had for two weeks. My blood pressure is perfectly calm. Pulse strong and vibrant. Lungs working beautifully. Nothing a doctor can measure is imbalanced. My body is healthy.
This tense anxious feeling? Apparently it does not originate in my heart. I started to explain where exactly I feel it. In my head. The vibration travels down my spinal column before it branches to my limbs. My ears constantly hear it, a high-pitched ring.
"Let's keep an eye on it, if it doesn't resolve in a couple of weeks then give me a call," she smiled. "I think it's stress. See if you can reduce it."
Today and tomorrow I hope to write the marketing and business plan for the launch of Issue Two of Lucia. I am beyond excited. I don't know exactly how it will get done, though. The likelihood is I will spend Saturday and Sunday working on Lucia because today I have PR clients to attend to. Media to pitch. Research to do. Calls to make. A living to procure for myself. Or at least, February's rent. Then there are taxes. Bills to pay. Emails to answer. And it's my night to teach yoga at the women's shelter, one of my favorite things. I know you know. We all have things.
The independent magazine business is wholly different than I envisioned it being one year ago today, when Lucia was an idea beginning to take form. I am still finding my feet. This struggle to be creative during the week while needing to manage the practical, the organizational, the tangible, the everyday work--I am not alone in it. I find comfort in my artist friends who tell me their experience is similar. "Managing" time requires headspace. "Creative" time requires heart space. One must be like a ninja during the week if she is to jump between to the two and not lose her footing.
This morning I looked at the watercolors I've been painting since August. When I painted them, I was not in my head at all, I was painting from a deeper place. I put my hand on my heart, closed my eyes, and listened.
"Work with me," heart said. "I am here for you."
The exquisite tool that is my brain has been trying to run the show for the past two weeks. Gathering momentum, the juggling act of plans, schedules, ideas, dreams...it does so much. It's quite an instrument, but it can not work alone. It needs heart to ground, shelter, feel, and guide. Heart is what can make everything brain imagines into real.
I am teaching the two to work in tandem. It is a practice.
How do you do it?