Yes, I love metaphor and making nouns out of any verb that seeks to be nouned.
Many of us can relate to the “ugghhh” feeling of being bloated or noticing our weight gain while attempting to put on our favorite pair of blue jeans. We may find ourselves lying prone on the floor sucking in our gut, tugging, yanking, and willing our fly to make it up those final centimeters. Some people actually use a hanger or try the ole’ sit/stand thing attempting to stretch out the waistband.
Here’s the thing, we always have choice, we can stop overindulging, go on a diet, limit our caloric intake, keep the jeans as a relic in our closet, decide to wear sweats, go purchase a larger size or simply accept the discomfort.
In my case, what started as occasional discomfort turned into somewhat of a chronic condition much like the discomfort of feeling like my favorite jeans were too tight until I simply made the choice to take them off and start arting.
In April, I began to sense some overwhelm while attending Zoom groups and then the discomfort seemed to be exacerbated by the attempts I was making to keep my corporate entrepreneur gig afloat, accepting many new contacts and allocating time to meet many of them on one to one zoom calls, spending hours listening to podcasts and simply taking in copious amounts of content as well as engaging wholeheartedly with said content all of which felt which used to feel okay, like my favorite pair of blue jeans, until 2 months into COVID 19. In June, I finally decided I’d had enough and I drastically reduced my content consumption including a total LinkOut from LinkedIn.
“Hello, my name is Shelley and I’m an Overengager, Overreader, and Platform Addict,” I said to myself. This is the first step in the recovery process. I welcomed myself to this admission and learned the steps to my recovery:
- Acknowledgment and acceptance of the way I feel
- Willingness to do something about it
- Decide to take radical action, which for me was Linking Out and reducing overall content consumption.
- Let go of the guilt and feeling that I owed anything to anyone
- Come to realize friends don’t expect friends to be their “Audience”
- Acknowledge that most people wouldn’t even notice I was gone
- Make a choice to invite comfort and quiet into my life
- Realize we only have a certain amount of bandwidth for feeding, watering, and pouring sunshine on our relationships while continuing to feed, water, and pour sunshine ourselves
- Cultivate space and be present for it
- Live in possibility by following my own GPS
- Find the continuation of the truest essence of who I am and I what I love
- Invite others to their own joy through my joy
So what did this look like? I got quiet and started arting like crazy. Well okay, there’s been a whole lot of listening to music as well that often provided the perfect muse for my creativity.
Since LinkingOut and reducing my content consumption:
I’ve been spending a few hours a day arting and listening to all kinds of music that I’ve loved through the decades. Singing and arting.
I taught myself to draw and never knew I could draw whatever comes to mind, Fruit Stripe Gum, 1970’s technicolor pop art, crap in my purse in the ’80s, a sock monkey, a tribute to RBG… And the thing actually comes out looking like the thing I meant for it to look like. Even better, people actually like the things I draw.
I started making daily hand-cut collage again and launched a greeting card line to #joyitforward (to which I will be adding 20 more cards and begin to wholesale www.etsy.com/shop/theglueisdrying)
I found a wonderful publisher for my book that has been asking to be shared.
I participated in a TEDx masterclass and signed up for a speaker coaching class to craft my future TEDx talks.
I began inviting people to the practice of mindfulness through the deeper self-awareness work of one on one mindfulness mentoring.
I’ve spent countless hours in beautiful one on one conversations to deepen friendships.
I am singing, arting, joying, sharing, living, loving, sleeping, giving, being while also holding space for the suffering in our world.
What I know for sure is that we have choice and I choose to art really loud with life’s many mediums including the most important three:
The other thing I know for sure is when you align with your deepest values, the Universe, God, Spirit, or whatever will never ask you to apologize for your iterations.
Take a risk, take off the tight jeans, and remember what brings you joy or try something new. Your joy may just spark joy in others.
I call it joying because it asked me to make it a noun.