So, dear readers, if you’re still around, you may have noticed some technical difficulties going on around here. During my creative funk and unplanned vacation from blogging, my domain name expired and is now being used by another site. This sucks quite a bit, because my readers seem to be having a hard time finding me. For now, we’ll be back to handprintsoul.wordpress.com.
However, this is one of many events that have prompted me to make some changes. I’ve been writing Handprint Soul for almost two years now, but I’m finding that this blog and Etsy might not be what I need to support my artwork, so I’m working on getting a new site. I’ll let you know when that happens, and I hope you’ll join me there!
This isn’t a goodbye! I still plan to write here at Handprintsoul (.wordpress.com) although I may transfer to a blog on the new site when it goes up. I really love writing here and connects with my readers all around the world!
Sometimes, life pushes us to change. I’ve been struggling with several big decisions involving my career lately, and it seems like my own mistakes and insecurities are answer them for me. I consider this blog a first step and a starting point for many things I plan to do with my art and writing, so I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my work as it develops, moves, and progresses.
Thank you for being such wonderful readers!
Most of us are busy. “Busy” means different things to different people, but by this I mean that a lot of us are operating at full capacity most of the time.
Do you ever feel like you’re just spinning your wheels, or is your busyness moving you in a clear direction? Is that direction somewhere you want to go? Did you choose it? Do you know why you want to go there?
The other day, I noticed that I felt off. It wasn’t quite sadness, so I wrote in my journal to try and sort it out. I realized that I was feeling a bit lost and disoriented, and it was really uncomfortable.
How could I feel lost? I’m very ambitious, I have lots of goals mapped out, and I know the basic steps to accomplishing those goals. I sat with the feeling a little longer and realized something that I’ve never thought of before.
Goals are nothing without purpose. I have goals, but that’s not the same as having direction. Goals are what we want to accomplish, but purpose is why we want to accomplish it.
I believe we all have a purpose in this life, and that mine is to have joy and share it with others so that they might have joy too. That’s what I try to do with my art and writing. I’m not talking about the joy you feel when you watch a funny movie, but the joy you have to work for and that comes when you know yourself and learn hard lessons and develop a deeper understanding of your own purpose.
When we have purpose, we can align ourselves with that and work toward our goals much more efficiently and mindfully. When we forget our purpose, our actions feel empty.
Finding your purpose is a deep life question, but I’ve found that with some observation of your actions and desires, your talents and interests, it’s actually fairly simple. I’ll leave that question for you.
I’m curious. What are your goals? Are they part of a deeper purpose, or are you still figuring that one out?
Over this winter, I’ve fallen back into a bad habit that I’ve been trying to kick for years.
Stressing out over little things. Everything feels like an emergency to me.
Part of this may have to do with tired adrenals, which I suspect I’m experiencing, but I believe that 90% of our health starts in our minds. If anything is wrong with my body right now, it started in my head.
I mentioned earlier this week that I’ve been holding a lot of tension in my shoulders, neck, and face lately. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been doing things like I’m in a race. You should see me wash dishes. I move quickly, my heart rate seems to be elevated more often than not, my thoughts fly around my head like a swarm of bees, and sometimes I feel powerless to stop it.
Then I remind myself that the first step to change is noticing.
I know plenty of people who run on full throttle all day long and never realize it. Sometimes I compare myself to them and feel bad because they seem so much stronger than me, but I’m glad that I can notice what is going on and why it doesn’t serve me. Stress wears me out. When I notice that feeling, I can go into it and find out why it’s there. I can ask myself why I feel that way. 9 times of out of 10, its’ something that really isn’t a big deal.
I don’t beat myself up for stressing over little things. Instead, I ask myself a few more questions. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Even if it did happen, it’s never the end of the world. Will this matter in a few years? Probably not. Am I thinking realistically, or am I letting my imagination run amok? (The downside to having an active imagination is that it can take any situation and run off in any direction without looking back)
I’m getting better at reining myself back in a few times a day. It takes practice, but it’s getting easier.
How do you handle stress? Do you stay calm or do you tend to be a stress case like me? Do you notice before it runs you into the ground?
Some days are just rough. That’s how life is, because without the rough days, the great days wouldn’t be so wonderful.
Sometimes the darkness and cold of winter sinks into your bones and you forget that spring is just a few months away. You forget to let yourself settle into the slower time, to admire the landscape, and to appreciate the contrast from the hot, busy days of summer that seemed like only yesterday.
Sometimes it feels like your career will never get off the ground, that no one will ever want what you have to offer. You forget that the struggle to create your career is what makes you a stronger business person, and that the fact that your passion drives you forward anyway is a sign that you’re on the right track.
Sometimes it seems like you’ll never get out of debt or have enough money. Sometimes things get so tight that you don’t want to turn on the lights or drive to the library, but things won’t always be this way. It may be a sign that you need to be more conscious of the way you spend, or that you need to explore some unopened income channels.
Sometimes life isn’t fun, but things always change. As cheesy as it sounds, a positive attitude and a bit of patience makes all the difference. Appreciate the moment, be grateful for it, and learn what you can from the current situation, and let go of the outcome.
Everything will turn out all right.
I’d wager that most of us feel a certain amount of dissatisfaction with our lives. We’d like to do more, have more, or be more. Is this an unhealthy attitude? Sometimes yes, but we’re not talking about the “You can never be too rich or too thin” attitude here. This is about striving to become a better version of yourself, to fully embody your purpose and passion and creating a life that feels completely free and authentic to you.
So, what do you want?
A career? A love affair? Better health? Social connection?
Are you getting it?
I want you to sit for a minute and really envision what you want. Picture it. Your career is thriving, it doesn’t feel like work. Your body is healthy and strong. You’re sharing a special moment with that special someone, or you feel like a valued part of a circle of friends. What does that vision look like? What does it feel like?
I’ve found that in order to reach a goal, we have to really understand what we’re striving for. We have to have a completely clear vision of what we want, or we spend a lot of time wandering in circles and wondering why we’re not getting anywhere.
I say we spend a lot of time instead of we waste a lot of time, because that time spent wandering is important. That’s where we make discoveries, and often when we discover that we aren’t clear on what we want after all.
So now it’s time to get clear. How? This process works differently for everyone, but it includes two parts: Pondering and Mapping
1-Pondering is just what it sounds like. Think about what you want. Picture it. Read. Gather ideas. Allow yourself to fantasize, and feel what it feels like to have what you want. I like to do this on long walks, but do whatever works best for you.
2-Mapping is different for everyone, but this is the act of getting your visions into something tangible. For me, I like to actually sit and free write and make lists. You can draw your vision, or make a collage or vision board. Make a Handprint List. The point is to get it out where you can see it or read it with your physical eyes. Most of us are sight-driven, and having something we can read or look at constantly reminds us where we’re going, and from then on we can begin the work of getting there.
Getting clear is the first step to getting what you want and something you may have to keep doing throughout your journey. Think of your desire as a block of wood or stone that you keep chipping away at until you free the sculpture within. It might take awhile, but the end result is stunning.
Do you ever feel like you’re getting in over your head? Or that you’re finally coming into a dream you’ve always had but you’re scared stupid because the journey is a little treacherous?
I feel like that right now. And I believe it’s a good thing.
I found an incredible piece of wisdom last week:
“Fear is just excitement with the brakes on.”– Maria Forleo
How perfect is that? I think we can all tell the difference between fear of danger and fear of the unknown. It’s the different between the fear you experience when someone almost hits you in traffic and the nervous excitement before boarding a plane to somewhere you’ve never been.
I’ve experienced creative fear before, but this is entirely new because I’m moving into the unknown. It’s not a fear of not getting what I want, it’s the fear of getting what I want and not being able to handle it, or not being worthy of it. I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m figuring it out as I go.
Everyone goes through a time like this I hope, because it’s a sign of growth. I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned about getting through:
- Have a guide. Find a mentor or a coach to point you in the right direction and provide support. I can’t tell you how valuable it is, because it’s like having someone to hold your hand as you walk through a dark maze.
- Take baby steps. Stepping out of your comfort zone is part of the game, but if you get too overwhelmed you’ll freeze. Grow in little bits at a time.
- Take care of yourself, love yourself, be your own best friend. Believing in yourself is the most important thing you can do.
- Remember, you deserve it. Everyone deserves to be happy, and whatever is coming is meant to make you happy. Receive it with grace.
I’ve struggled to eat intuitively this week and my body started feeling awful. Stomach cramps, heaviness, headaches and very stiff. I came home for my lunch break last night and sat down to figure out what underlying feelings were messing with my body and driving me to eat when I wasn’t hungry.
My go-to method of emotional exploration is to simply sit quietly and list whatever pops up in a notebook, and yesterday I came up with several things.
- We haven’t had sunshine in a few days; I feel a little gloomy.
- Feeling rushed, overwhelmed with balancing my full-time day job and my creative work. Feeling insecure about getting my career started.
- I can’t relax.
- Keep preparing for the future and creating my career, but enjoy creating now. Enjoy where I am in my life now, which is working a day job while I create to embody my purpose while learning to market myself.
- Cultivate a mindset of abundance with time, and then slow down a little. I have the time to write, study, paint, and perform self-care. Get back into my yoga practice and meditation to keep my body limber and to release tension. Before and after work is a probably a good time to do this.
- Dissolve the feeling of urgency that causes me to feel rushed. I can take all the time I need to accomplish what I need to.
- Are you taking time for self-care and your creative work, whatever that may be?
- Are you allowing your “work thoughts” to follow you home and keep you running on high even when you’re not on the clock?
- Are you operating on an imagined sense of urgency?
- Are your expectations too high?