Affirmations, focus, goal setting, inspiration, journaling, mindfulness, Personal Development, Personal growth

“What Do You Do?”: Moving Beyond a Work-based Identity

Me back in ancient times, playing with my pet turtle in our blow-up swimming pool

In the culture I grew up in, training to identify with work started at an early age. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A lot of kids answers have some element of adventure to it, once you take away the label. Fire fighter, astronaut, faery, explorer. Some are more practical: teacher, nurse, scientist, doctor, parent. For an entire year, I insisted I was a pirate named Maria.

Later, if we go to school beyond the teenage years, it’s “What’s your major? What trade are you training in?” And of course, the good old fall back at social gatherings: “What do you do?”, meaning what do you do for work. It’s a way to compare social status, I suppose.

All of these are identifiers as who we are as commodities, or part of a work community, but not who we are as people. I’ve done everything from cleaning bathrooms, to being an executive assistant to having the privilege to meeting a U.S. President. Those are all things I’ve done for work, but not who I am as a person. They don’t describe how I like to watch the play of light and shadow, stop to talk with birds, feel the texture of beads in my hands, get carried away in meditation, or how creating music will carry me away for hours. For a time I ran a group called “I am not my day job”, where we celebrated what we enjoyed when we weren’t working.

I’ve mentioned before elsewhere how having an event at one of my workplaces changed how different departments viewed and interacted with each other, simply by having a day of sharing what we all enjoyed doing outside of work. It elevated communication and interpersonal respect, and that improved productivity.

There’s so much beyond that practical value, though. I feel in so many cases now, there’s more and more pressure and expectation to produce more, with less time, and give up more of our time to our work. In some jobs, the time it takes to complete a task is monitored, not taking into account that workers are biological beings, and not machines.

This leaves very little time for us to do things we love, spending time with family, and just being. It’s gotten to the point where many of us are expected to be available for work 24/7. Belgium just recently passed a law that government workers no longer have to answer work emails or calls after work hours. Technology’s been great in so many ways, and it’s also accelerated burn out for workers.

It’s time to change how we identify, if we haven’t already. One of the- I suppose you could call it gifts- of the past couple of years is that many had an opportunity to rediscover things they love to do, and the desire to have a better balance in life.

My invitations to you this week are these:
When you meet someone, instead of asking them “what do you do” ask them what brings them joy, where’s the best place they’ve visited, first music they bought. Get creative in your inquiries.

And for yourself:
Write “I ….” and list as many things you can think of. Challenge yourself not to edit. These can be affirmations, such as “I am joyful”, things you like to do “I like wiggling my bear toes in the sand” “I love sinking into my bed after a long day” “I make music that fills my soul” “I am a friend/lover/parent/child”.

Make a list of your values. How do these reflect what you love to do? Who you are at your essence? Does what you do for work incorporate your values, or is it in conflict with them? (Sometimes we have to do what we have to do for work, and that’s OK!) If your work doesn’t align with your values, how can you make more space in your day for what does? Are there changes you can make within your current circumstances to better reflect who you are?

Look to see if there are groups or categories of identifiers. Are there unmet longings? Habits-in-waiting asking for attention? What action steps will you take today to bring these to reality?

I’d love to hear how it goes for you.
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This is a taste of the course I’m developing on defining one’s life purposes that I’ll be offering later this year. If this sounds interesting to you, send me an email at info@craftingthespirit.com and let me know you’d like to be on the mailing list.

Adventure, Affirmations, goal setting, inspiration, journaling, Personal Development, Personal growth

Making It Real, Step by Step

What will you do with your sweet imperfect life?

Throughout life, I’ve had this vague vision of how I want to be in the world. To create beauty. Help others. To explore.

A multitude of varied and seemingly unrelated experiences, both personal and professional are amalgamating into something wondrous. Something that feels like home.

This video is an expression of that, in a way. I might be doing it sideways, but I’ve never been known to do things in the expected way. It’s a leap of faith. One of my Oh s**t moments. A commitment to keep moving forward, step by step. Do the next right thing, however small it may be.

It almost didn’t happen. I could see it in my mind almost immediately, in it’s entirety. I started getting bogged down in what I thought were practicalities. How would I film it? Release waivers? And on and on.

Then I wondered about free public domain images. And found some. Created some music. Taught myself a little editing, and released it out into the world.

All of this so I can walk with you as you explore your own way of being in the world, and continue to explore my own.

I can hardly wait to see what happens. For this. For you.

Won’t you join me?

Affirmations, goal setting, inspiration, journaling, meditation, mindfulness, Personal Development, spirituality

Getting to the Core of Things

Each year I receive a theme for the following twelve months. 2020 found a lot of us rediscovering what we enjoyed doing most when we were young and didn’t have the responsibilities of being an adult, and as I was reading everyone’s reflections of the past year, I realized that the theme for 2021 is CORE. Getting back to the center of things.

As a kid, I loved being in Nature.. wandering the woods looking for mayflowers and magic.. Laying on my belly looking at things up close, and just being. Just being has often revealed so much to me.

In getting to the core.. to the center of who one is, letting go is also a crucial step. Here’s some wisdom from past me around letting go, moving forward, and becoming.

What burdens to you cherish and nurture? What negative mythologies about yourself do you believe to be your unshakable truth? The blocks- real and imagined_ that others and yourself have put in your path? What are your “I will never”s.. your “yeah,buts”… your “I always”? Your “I am not worthys”. Your “those sorts of things are for other people, not me.” Your “I want it, but deep down I don’t believe I deserve it”s. Your armor. Your shields. Your crutches.

Now think… what is your deepest desire? Your core truth. What you have worked to become. Your “someday I want”s.

Our past experience shapes us, but does not have to continue to define who we are, or who we want to/are destined to become.

Truth changes breath to breath; it based in the past. Are you willing to release your burdens, your mythologies, your negative tapes so you can begin to become your Self?

When we are babies, every thing we do and see is a new experience. each step a risk, and often a delight. As an adult it can be a challenge to see life as an unfolding of newness, but it is possible… and it can also feel frightening.

Take a moment to inhale deeply, then sigh it out. If water flows from your eyes, let it flow. Exhale until you feel the cracking in your spine. Feel the burdens fall off like scales. Stretch your fingers and toes as far as you can and release. Feel the pulsing of life.

Internalize:
I am open to receive all the good things.
I am unstoppable.
I am serenity.
I am jou.
I am worthy.
I am strong.
I am powerful.
I am humble.
I act for The Greater Good.
I am Love, and I am loved.

Thank you for reading. I love you.

Affirmations, Attachment, Creativity, focus, goal setting, inspiration, journaling, mindfulness, passion, Personal Development, Personal growth

Shining Brightly

I’ve been working through Danielle LaPorte’s “The Desire Map”, and at one point she talked about burning journals. So radical, so empowering.. so…. scary!

Journals are archives of our lives. A way to go back and revisit, and perhaps relive past pains and triumphs. Some of it, to me, might be worth preserving, but a lot of mine are deeply private thoughts I just had to let out “somewhere”. It’s an odd attachment to the past, even if they lay like mine, hidden away in a closet for years, or like the one I started this year with the intention of writing every morning. I stopped March 18th- the day everything shut down due to the pandemic.

I’m seriously considering it. It sounds freeing and energizing… much the way clearing out closets is. I don’t want to cling to the past, to who I was. I want to celebrate who I am, and who I am becoming.

In the first exercise, there is a writing prompt “What I know to be true”. Without hesitation I wrote “I am an amazing person who has deeply internalized that shining brightly is arrogant and vulgar. Whoa”.

The pen dropped out of my hand. I realized that has so long been a mantra shaping my life. Odd a little, as for many years I was an oboe player, and they are a bit the rock star of band and orchestra music. One hundred bars of rest, and then a sweet solo to open people’s hearts.

But that is a skill I channeled and honed with hours of practice. I applied my intuition to interpret what the composer wanted to convey. It’s not me being me in all my quirky, sometimes inappropriate, glory. Or expressing my thoughts, or creating my own music and art. I’ve long served and supported the ambitions and ideas of others, but often put aside my own passions “for later.”

Thing is, I have learned along the way I can be of service to others, while also honoring my own passions. Even my life mission statement of two years ago “I am a life long artist dedicated to creating excitement and enhancing life experience using my creative gifts while walking with others on our creative journeys” puts others first.

I can put myself first, and still be compassionate, loving, intuitive, and of service. I can incorporate the current life mission into my new one.

I’m going to create my new life mission statement.. right here, right now.

I am filling myself up with so much love, expressed through my creativity, that I cannot help but shine brightly and be a guide for others by the example of my own life.

Whew?

Are you ready?

I am!!
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You can read Danielle LaPorte’s blog entry about burning journals here: https://medium.com/@DanielleLaPorte/burn-your-journals-maybe-either-way-heres-some-inspiration-on-letting-go-a3f5ff67fcf6

and learn more about the Desire Map process here:
https://www.thedesiremap.com/

Affirmations, Attachment, creative block, Creativity, goal setting, inspiration, meditation, mindfulness, Personal Development, Personal growth

What is the source code?

Sometimes deep questions come suddenly to me. This is one that came a year ago to me, and I will be revisiting.

“What is the source code of my inner resistance to greatness?”

I wanted to find an image to go with this.. and contained in it is:

“Remove the rule as there is currently no need for it.”

So. I invite you, as I will be doing shortly. Sit with this.. and write it out… “What is the source code of your inner resistance to greatness?” Then remove the rule, as there is currently no need for it.

Let me know if anything shifts for you.

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photo from an internet search a year ago, source unknown. I will gladly credit if someone knows.