Following my mastermind last week, several veils were lifted away (as often happens when we put our heads together with a potent group of like-minders), and I got crystal clear about how I’d been masquerading as a disciplined and dedicated artist…. when really I was overworking something awful.
Eeek – how did that happen?! The summer came up behind me and crashed over my head like a sandstorm, and kind of left me reeling!
Looking deep, I could see my mantra ‘I want to be free – no time restrictions at all – I want to be completely free creatively’. Of course it’s a great ideal to be free, but looking harder, I could see how there was something obstinate about this mantra: it was like a frisky pony, sneaking out of the field whenever one’s back was turned, diving away whenever someone tried to put a saddle on it, just plain ignoring any calls to discipline…
Living one’s life like a frisky pony is fine and good if we want an untamed horse lifestyle when we grow up – clopping about all over the hillsides, exposed to the elements, willing to fight off beasts and hunters.
the church and the sun, painting in progress
But if we want to live a civilised and comfortable life, it can be an issue to have a wild animal in the house! This is a great metaphor for me, in my ongoing discourse between freedom versus stability. All of us have some stormy element within us. We all have primal parts which need to be expressed, which are undomesticated. but there is a time and a place to let our wild self lead, and its never indoors.
(My own issue was never with the free spiritd-ness of my lifestyle: from an early age I said it like it is, sang and danced barefoot, upped and left with the seasons; settling down became difficult, as my unchallenged feisty instinct refused to adapt to the new pace of life. Schedules and commitments gave me the willies, and I methodically ignored or kicked-back against any of the responsibilities which are a natural consequence of putting down roots.)
Chatting with my wise women friends, it became obvious. As they questioned me more, my responses showed I was losing vast amounts of energy by confusing the busy-ness of my enthusiastic creative outpourings, with useful and focussed work which would actually lead me towards my goals. At the same time, I was leaving important things unfinished, and allowing all kinds of triviality to invade my studio.
wild swimming, painting in progress
I always equated freedom with the absolute lack of containment, but have learned that, without the container, the energy can’t be harvested sufficiently; all our force spills out, and so can’t alchemise into the kind of potency we require, to do our maximum good work in the world.
the girl in the landscape, painting in progress
It’s easy to spend energy, but unless we’re gathering it at the same time, and holding it – it escapes our control.
Here are 5 main areas which I recommend looking at, if we’re losing a lot of energy on the way to our dreams:
1. self-care and the right amount of rest
2. knowing your worth
3. being inspired
4. privacy/ lack of distractions
5. antidoting of the daily damage we’re exposed to
6. discipline appropriate to our goals and aspirations
For me, this last one is the most pertinent: it means working on my boundaries and schedules – and taming my instinct to buckaroo! It means acknowledging the depth of my dreams, whilst implementing behaviours which correspond with that dream being manifest -not cantering all over the place in joyous fervour, whinnying and stamping my hooves!
In practical terms, this means buying a proper agenda and creating a more concise schedule, then telling people who interrupt me that I am working: simple, potent, actionable! I’m also honing my sharings, and upping rewards on Patreon.
What’s your experience of discipline versus overworking? Have you nailed it? Let us know in the comments below!
Tante belle cose, Clare xx