I’ve spent the last 4 1/2 days in a bathrobe in my room. Not talking to anyone or doing anything productive. Just reading books and watching Netflix and napping. I just could not. Could not think of anything related to my business, could not think of anything upcoming, could not focus on anything that wasn’t right in front of me. I wasn’t necessarily sad, just detached, hermit-like and interestingly enough, really present.
Today I’m starting to emerge from this state and I realize now that the way I’ve been conducting my life is not sustainable. I’ve understood for a long time that I’m introverted and that lots of socializing and interacting with others drains me and I need solitude shortly thereafter to balance out. I’ve also long understood that I love connecting with people, love to dance, love music, love living a full life and doing all the things. What I’ve come to understand now is that in order to do what I love while still honoring myself I must be much more strategic about the placement of all of the things. When I’m in action it’s all good. But burnout is real. I don’t enjoy feeling like I’ve hit a brick wall.
Around this time last year I wrote about erring on the side of NO which explored choosing not to move forward with projects or commitments that didn’t elicit a full body Hell Yes! and I think I’ve done a pretty good job with that. Now I understand I must acknowledge the fact that enthusiasm and the desire to create, even under the best circumstances , when not balanced with stillness and rest will still lead to a feeling of complete burnout. I also understand that my innate quality of rapid implementation (quickly moving from having an idea to putting it into action) is usually beneficial but in some cases it isn’t. When I have a creative idea I want to move on it IMMEDIATELY! While I pride myself on being someone who is “bout that action” it’s become clear to me that I don’t consider if I can sustain the action needed to complete said project. Key word: sustain.
There’s nothing I love more than to go out and hear good music and dance. I also enjoy supporting people here in the community who produce art and events locally. I understand now that those activities are best done in a vacuum. I’ve been stacking stuff on top of each other. ” I can go this show, than pop up and support this event and then teach my class the next day, I’ll be fine!” And I feel great, dancing at the show. I also feel great being an invested member of the community and showing up for things. I feel the greatest giving my full energy to my class and seeing the participants feed off of that. But when it’s all over I realize that while everything was so damn great, there is nothing left for me. I am depleted.
I have a whole ass family that comes before all of this stuff and I want to be present with them and have the energy to support them in whatever way they need. I’m still gonna be doing all the stuff. Just much more strategically and with more thought given to the effects on my well being.. A part of me feels wack even writing this. “Aww poor baby introvert girl needs her special quiet time” is what I hear in my head. I acknowledge that I am privileged to be able to sit in my room for 4 days while I figure this out. I acknowledge that I have a group of friends I can share with and that don’t take it personally when I’m on silent mode. I acknowledge that I have a partner who holds it down and encourages me to take whatever time I may need without me having to worry about bills getting paid.
During the course of writing this it occurred to me to go back and listen to a reading that I had gotten back in April. I’m so glad that I thought to record it. “Go somewhere and get quiet, that is your 2019. Those moments are gonna be hard to come by. Whatever it takes for you to zone out and connect to your higher self, that’s what’s gonna push you through”
It’s not always about what you can gain, but what you can sustain.
The Marathon Continues!
I’m realizing I’ve held a very fixed, black and white view of money for a while now. It’s either sacrifice, miss out , restrict and hoard resources for the benefit of my future OR enjoy, take part, consume and experience at the expense of my future. When I think about it, no matter what my financial situation is at the time, whether I’m flush with cash or my resources are spread thin I’ve had the same negative emotions around sending money. I always question any purchase that isn’t directly related to my survival. 9/10 times my feeling is negative.
“Yeah I really enjoyed this concert but I could’ve put the money in savings” (Guilt)
“Ok,I’m buying myself this item but then I’m not spending another dollar for two weeks” (Punishment)
“This is the perfect gift for______ but I don’t feel comfortable buying it now, my account is kind of low”(Scarcity)
I feel free and generous in every part of my life so why when it comes paper currency do I feel tight and negative? I’m done feeling that way. Money never truly belongs to you, it’s just your turn with it. I have not once found myself without shelter,clothing or food. To the contrary, I live a full life. The crazy thing is that in all the scenarios above, I have the money!! It’s not an issue of lack, it’s an issue of mindset and training my mind not to focus on absence but on all that I have right here and right now and using that feeling to be at peace. That is not to say, there is no need to save or to be pragmatic with money. It simply means I can be at peace knowing that I have all that I need and remember that I am an abundant being. Not only abundant in health,spirit, love, and joy but also in resources.
- having or showing a modest or low estimate of ones own importance.
No ma’am. I happen to think I am very important. I think very highly of myself and I think you should too. I’m not perfect or above reproach. I am flawed in many ways but I most certainly don’t have a low estimate of my own importance. I think we need to change the way we view being humble. I think you should feel yourself, big yourself up and not be afraid to let the world know that YOU know that you are the shit. We all have good days and bad days but to be aware of and remain in gratitude for your own light and divinity…..that goes a long way. I believe in being proud and celebrating yourself fully, even when/if nobody else does.
- My life doesn’t have any more or less value than another human being
- Be kind to all humans I come into contact with
- Understand that there is always something I can learn from someone
- Being good at something doesn’t make me the sole authority on it
- Use my gifts, skills, talents for good not to deceive or get ahead at the expense of others
These are the values I hold tight to. As long as I never lose sight of them I am perfectly comfortable telling the world how highly I think of myself, and I think you should be too.
“You are always a valuable worthwhile human being not because anybody says so, not because you’re successful, not because you make a lot of money but because you decide to believe it and for no other reason”- Wayne Dyer
That when your body says rest, it’s time to rest.
That you will feel energized and spring into action when the time is right, no outside motivation needed.
That you do not need to be in constant motion to be productive.
That if you’ve been doing the work, the opportunities will present themselves.
That things are aligning in your favor that you don’t yet know about.
That authenticity will always be in demand and there is no need to alter who you are or pander to trendiness.
That your idea may not be unique but the way you execute it will be. Don’t be afraid to do what’s already being done YOUR way.
That you aren’t seeing even a sliver of your peers failures or disappointments .
That your worth is intrinsic and isn’t dependent on how many people purchase your goods, services or art.
That some seeds won’t bear fruit for quite some time. They are still growing.
That it’s ok to redefine what success looks like to you as you grow.
That you don’t have anything to prove to anyone. Don’t cling to a mistake because you spent a long time making it. It’s never too late to change course.
So I’m big into seasons. The tagline for this blog is creating your season all year ’round. Anyone who knows me knows that I refer to April 17-May 31 as MY season. My birthday is on the 17th of May and I consider that the start of my new year. May 16 is my new years eve. From the time the 4 week countdown begins till the end of May I’m in full on celebration mode. Life is a party and I’m the guest of honor. I feel powerful, unstoppable, energetic, playful and ready for whatever.Nobody can tell me shit and I feel really light in spirit. For some people that feeling comes in the new calendar year. They approach January as a time to make bold declarations about what they will implement for the new year and feel pumped up and ready to take on the world. Others feel a surge of joy and lightness in summer, more sun and longer days fueling both their productivity and sense of adventure. Whatever that special season is for you wouldn’t it be wonderful to live and feel that way all year long? I started thinking about what is it I’m tapping into that makes me feel so powerful, aligned and adventurous. How can I create this all year? So I broke it down .
What are the feelings?
- Refusal to let anything get me down- Don’t bring a cloud to rain on my parade!
- Playfulness – Hey I’ve made it another year let’s try something new
- More time spent in meditation and prayer- Talking and listening to the Most High
- Generous with myself and others, getting what I want without my usual price comparisons and find myself treating my friends more often as well – Ballin!
- I see everything as working out in my favor-All I do is win win win no matter what!
- I’m more attuned to beauty and take more time with makeup ,clothing choice and adornments for myself than I usually do- Glamorous Life honey!
How do I recreate these feelings?
- Faith- Understanding that even seemingly “down” periods are ultimately to my benefit and needed to create a balance
- Grace- Knowing that I am blessed even when I feel unworthy and that help from a higher power is always available to me
- Patience- Not rushing myself through slower, more restful periods. Allowing myself to be in them with no pressure to get back to high productivity. Knowing that once I’m rested,inspired, and have clarity I will naturally shift gears.
- Curiosity- Staying curious about life and all it has to offer me. Seeking out adventure and staying open to learning and trying new things
- Abundance- Feeling that it’s ok to splurge on what I really want or treat a friend to lunch. At any particular time.
- Keep it Glamorous- Tap into the fun of feminine dress, makeup and adornments.
Have I been successful at creating my season year ’round? Somewhat. I’m a work in progress and there are times when I get stuck. I have to remind myself often to keep it glamorous as I tend to prefer sweats, unmatching socks and zero makeup in my day-to-day life and it also takes some effort for me to truly remain in an abundance mindset. Patience with myself is another one that trips me up from time to time. But when I can take some time to think about how damn good I feel April 17-May 31 and having identified exactly what I’m feeling and what is required of me to hold on to those feelings I do a pretty good job at creating and staying in my season all year long and I wanted to share in the hopes that it helps others create and stay in theirs.
Most of us are unknowingly moving through life making choices not based on what we truly feel in the moment but based on our programming or what we feel we “should” choose based on our inclination to define ourselves. I find myself doing it all the time. “I’m a foodie and I want the most interesting thing on the menu!, I’m a dancer and I always stand in the front of the class! I’m a mother, I should change the station when curse words come on!” But sometimes I just want the chicken, sometimes I just want to hide out in the back of a dance class, and deep inside I know that curse words in rap songs aren’t going to be detrimental to my child in the long run. I make these choices based on the different roles that I play and the expectations that come with them. I have had to really check myself on several occasions because I’m not one to change direction mid-course. If I tell my daughter to change the station, I’m not turning it back. If I order the most delicious sounding interesting thing on the menu I’m not gonna flag the waiter down to order the damn chicken. Chalk it up to stubbornness I guess, but I have ended up dissatisfied because I didn’t choose what I really wanted in that moment.
That’s why I feel it’s important to sometimes forget it all and do wtf you want! To others that may look like you’re wilin’ out because it’s a different action than what people have come to expect of you but so what? One of the best thing I love about teaching dance is the liberation. Seeing people come in with friends or co-workers who are completely surprised when the quiet shy one who doesn’t really go out comes down the soul train line, busts a full split and starts twerking like she’s getting paid for it. When people can leave behind their roles and expectations and do what feels natural and good it’s beautiful.
There is something exhilarating about doing something you thought you’d never do. It’s powerful to make a mindful choice, one that’s based purely on the present moment. I jumped in the ocean to snorkel last year for the very first time and I seriously considered the consequences. What if I got bit or freaked out? I was terrified! This was something clearly on the “Things Lily doesn’t do” list. I did freak out just a little bit but more importantly I mentally threw away that list. Lily does whatever the hell she wants. There are no more lists. I will no longer place limitations on what I can experience.
The photo for this post came out of one of those moments. We were shooting in a very sparsely populated nightclub in the middle of the day and the photographer was getting some great shots. There was a moment where I thought, “there’s hardly anybody in here, I’m about to take my shirt off and get behind the bar “. If I had still had my lists this one would’ve been titled “Why you don’t need to this ” and would’ve read – You are 37 years old, not some 21 year old at Mardi Gras, you are a mother, you don’t need to sell sex, you don’t even really like your boobs, you’ll be embarrassed if someone walks up and makes a comment, what’s the point you won’t actually use this photo anyway…blah blah blah.I turned all of that off. It was fun and spontaneous and those are qualities I want in my life so I took the damn picture.
Why the hell not?
Photo: Tia Boyd
Life out in the real word doesn’t come with trigger warnings. At any time life could present us with a disturbing set of circumstances so it’s important that we arm ourselves with the necessary tools to ensure that we can maintain our balance when shit gets real. That’s where rituals and routines come in. Having something that you do every day regardless of your situation or environment serves as an anchor. It gives you stability in uncertain times and provides you an opportunity to reflect in gratitude in calmer, happier times.
For me, having a ritual allows me to be in observance of myself. To see myself not as someone just in the wind, blowing wherever the circumstances dictate but as a person with the ability to stay rooted and to honor the commitments I make to myself no matter what. That’s gone a long way in building my confidence and self-reliance. When I first moved to Austin I started taking walks in my neighborhood park every morning. I had no job, I was unsure of how my daughter would adjust to life in a new city and nothing was stable. It made me feel good that although I didn’t yet have a favorite breakfast place, didn’t know where to get my hair done, and had no established hangouts, I had my walk. The seasons changed and I had my walk. A few suitors came and left and I was still walking. I saw the older lady I usually greeted along the path who was always alone begin to pop up holding hands with a gentleman and gazing lovingly at him as they walked. Park lady had found a boo and I was still walking!
By creating this every day routine I was able to feel connected even though everything around me was changing. At different times in my life the ritual was different. In high school I would wake up and do 50 crunches, for a spell of my time in Vegas it was a cup of coffee and listening to James Brown. In Austin it’s been the walk. These days I don’t go to the park every morning but I do make it a priority to adhere to a daily ritual. Whether it’s simply listening to uplifting music, doing breathing exercises, practicing yoga or going for a run, any positive habit you can put into practice on an everyday basis is a step towards self accountability and the strength you need to be able to weather any storm.