Focus for the Free Spirit
Free Spirit, Acrylic on Canvas, 16″ x 20″
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I am a free spirit and definitely have sparkly object syndrome – oh what’s this, ooo that’s pretty, oh yeah I want to do that, oh look at that – otherwise known as “squirrel!” hehe.
My word of the year is “presence” and what I mean by that is to be here now, do things with more intention instead of just floating along. I guess in some ways that word is also about focus. I will not be as successful as I want to be without focus. For a creative, focus is something I kind of rebel against. I’m a free spirit! I want to drift from project to project letting my muse guide me. I have LOTS of passions and embrace that I am a multi-passionate creative. I have my personal art practice. I sell my paintings. I lead painting workshops and parties. I design for small business. I create jewelry tutorials. I sell jewelry. I want to combine my art and design more seamlessly. I want to illustrate. I want to license my art. I also want to participate in retreats, hold intimate soul painting gatherings and the list goes on. I do lots of creative work/play and for all that I do there is more I want to do. I feel compelled to create.
It comes down to the fact that I am an opportunist. I want it all, and I believe it is my potential to have all that I want – I also believe this to be true for everyone – we just have to work on not trying to doing it all at the same time. I started to think about this about a year ago and at that time, deep down, I was not convinced that I could or even wanted to focus on one thing at a time. There has been lots of soul seeking since then and realized that I don’t have to choose to focus one thing forever but, I do need to choose to focus on one thing for the moment. Focusing on just one thing at a time will give it the space and energy that needed to thrive. I had to let go of the idea of multi-tasking and embrace single-tasking. Sounds quite scary really. I lean towards what’s juicy and fun, and enjoy having lots of irons on the fire to jump around to, but this ultimately leaves the deeper work that needs more time and focused action to be birthed, to take a back seat.
Working on jewelry design projects and writing instructions for our new beading book Seed Bead Revolution with my co-author Sara Oehler and designing the book cover to cover was a big job. One that took months to plan and execute and now that I am nearing the end of the birthing part of this book making journey, I feel deeply satisfied with the process.
Seeing the bigger picture through all the shiny details can be tough and one reason why I think it’s hard to stay focused with a “big” projects.
Here are a few ways I help myself to focus and re-focus:
- Be Present. When I’m mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds, I lose track of time, become zombie-fied and end up feeling frustrated, tired and uninspired. If I’m present and engage my senses in what I am doing, seeing, tasting and hearing, I am rejuvenated, inspired and feel the fullness of all that life has to offer. Silence your phone or any other technology distractions, stop checking email or notifications and just be here now. Creating a natural mandala like the one above is a great way to slow down and be present.
- Create a daily, weekly, or monthly list and regularly look at it. I love lists. I love creating them and I love marking things off. I don’t always actually look at them though. That part is pretty important, ha! When I do look at them, I’m enlightened to see what the next step is. When I don’t I can easily get myself off task. One thing about lists I’d like to add is that if you have something you keep moving down or de-prioritizing. Stop and ask yourself why? Is it no longer something you want to pursue. Are you stuck on what the next step is. Is the task simply too difficult for you to do on your own and time to reach out for help?
- Carve our scared time and space. It’s easy to get swept up in all that has to be done each day. If you are going through the motions and ticking things off – jumping from one task to the next – you may be getting things done but at what cost? By carving out time and creating a sacred space for creativity to join in you shift from the energy of a drill sergeant to that of being the artist of your life. To create a sacred space you may have a ceremonious cup of tea, play music or listen to a podcast that inspires you, stretch, meditate or sage smudge before beginning. Show up with the mindset and rituals that signal to you that you are ready to work.
- Notice your own rhythm. This one is not as obvious but, equally important. If you work best late at night, early in the morning or maybe you’re a midday warrior, honor that as best you can. We tend to put big expectations on ourselves that simply don’t flow with who we are and when we are at our best. Notice what times of the day you are most inspired to create, write, plan or organize and when you feel drained and need of rest. You can even expand this out to the month, seasons, ect you best work in. For us ladies, following our moon cycle and noticing patterns there is also helpful, knowing when in your cycle you have a surge of energy, are most creative and when you need to rest and rejuvenate your soul.
- Have an accountability partner. Tell someone what you are working on, if it makes sense, post it on your blog, email or social media to hold yourself accountable. Let someone else gently nudge you along, be your cheerleader and celebrate the wins towards your goal – no matter how small. This could be one person or a group of people. Or better yet, work on a collaborative project so, you have support built in! Having support is priceless.
What things can you add to this list that help keep you focused and present while aiming to reach your life or business goals?