Twenty years ago I was a busy mother with two toddlers, twenty piano students, a massive music publishing project, a 1950's cape cod house to repair, design, and decorate, college classes to attend, and extensive church service to fulfill.
Just writing that sentence makes me exhausted.
I loved all (well, most) of the things I was doing, but it was just too much.
I was trying too hard to DO everything and BE everything ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
Eventually my body broke down and I was forced to slow down. Ten years battling chronic illness has a way of changing you.
So, here I am in 2020 and I still like to do a lot of things, but I now realize how crucial it is for me to be more intentional with my life, energy, resources, and time.
I can't do everything and be everything all at once, but I can do SOME things and enjoy them more while doing them.
I certainly don't have it all figured out, but here are a few concepts that have really helped me be a more mindful multi-passionate creative.
LIFE IS NOT A RACE - I know this sounds obvious, but for some reason my mind likes to move in fast mode. I feel like there's this imaginary clock ticking and I've got to hurry and get things done before the alarm sounds. When I remind myself that I CAN ACTUALLY DO WAY LESS AND DO IT AT A MUCH SLOWER PACE, I feel so much better.
LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION - Social media would have us think otherwise, but it's just not true (as long as we stubbornly refuse to buy into it). It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. It doesn't matter that Drew has an eight-foot Christmas tree and mine is only four. (That thought did enter my mind for a moment yesterday before I shut it down real fast.) It just doesn't matter. When I stop comparing, I am always happier. I have to remind myself all the time that I am not some superhero I see in the media. I have my own unique resources. I have my own unique health status. I have my own unique personality and responsibilities. Life is simply NOT a competition. We can gather inspiration from each other, but we don't have to BE EXACTLY LIKE EACH OTHER.
MINDFULNESS ALWAYS PAYS OFF IN THE END - When I take the time to truly slow down and enjoy what is right in front of me at the moment, I don't need to be and do everything at once. Mindfulness allows me to appreciate the little things without feeling like my life isn't enough. It also helps me enjoy the process more when I do decide to start a project.
PLANNING ALWAYS PAYS OFF IN THE END - This is similar to being mindful, but has more to do with being intentional BEFORE I tackle something. When I take the time to carefully think through all of the different aspects of a project, I always enjoy it more.
I NEED TO KNOW MYSELF - I started writing in a journal when I was in middle school and I continue to this day. And it's not just for processing my feelings and experiences, but also a great place for me to articulate what I love, who I want to be, and where I want to spend my time. Writing these things down helps me know how to ENHANCE MY LIFE IN WAYS THAT MATTER MOST TO ME, SO I CAN SIMPLIFY EVERYWHERE ELSE.
I CAN SAY NO - I know this also sounds obvious, but I used to be such a people-pleaser that I had a hard saying no to people. (Ok, I'll be honest, I still have a hard time, but at least I'm more aware of it now.) When I truly accept that I GET TO BE THE ONE TO DECIDE WHAT IS BEST FOR ME AND MY FAMILY, then I end up feeling so much more peace.
IT'S OK TO TAKE BREAKS AND ROTATE PASSIONS - A few years ago I spent several hours a day working on my songwriting and recording projects. I loved it. I still enjoyed doing my other creative projects, but this one took center stage for a while. This passion has currently taken a back seat for this chapter of my life, but I'm trying to accept it. There may come a time when it will take center stage again, but for now, I am trying to enjoy the things that I feel most passionate about right now.
I HAVE TO LET GO OF PERFECTIONISM - This concept has probably been the absolute most important one of all for me.
Let it go.
The timing, the results, the process.
Let the perfectionism go and simply enjoy the creative process that is life.
My multi-passionate brain always thanks me when I do.