- By Chrissie
- February 27, 2014
It's been a rough couple of months here, personally and professionally. Just after my birthday and before the holiday, I wound up having unexpected emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder. So that was my holiday -- bed ridden and doped up on Percocet for pain for nearly two weeks. While it was certainly a down time, a chance for rest and reflection, I also felt like I was gypped out of the usual enjoyment around the holidays. I couldn't make my little guy's holiday concert, had to forgo the light show at Macy's downtown, and all other fun excursions between Christmas and New Year's. Rest due to surgery is also much different than the rest and recharging that can come from a four day weekend when one is physically fine. By the time January 2 rolled around, there was more snow, days off, and I was thrown back into conference planning mode as APAP and IPAY were just days away and a week apart. I had maybe 3 appointments on my calendar and a huge tour for one of my artists to hustle to completion.
January and most of this month have been filled with travel, snow and more snow, and then some ice and sleet, and I lost count of how many snow days my little guy has had off from school. We're a household with two small businesses, mine being home based, and it's always challenging in these moments when all plans go to hell. When Mother Nature doesn't give a damn about my tour. Meanwhile, while everyone else is enjoying the day off, we're calmly looking for a solution at best, and stressed out at worst. Sledding? I haven't had a second to think about enjoying the snow...and that's upsetting too since I actually like winter.
Talk about testing one's physical, mental and emotional strength. I've gotten better at managing stress as I've matured and yet the set backs, the defeat, the lack of sleep, sometimes lack of support, and the lack of time to recharge before diving into the second part of the season has me cracking a bit. I'm fairly certain people have seen the absolute worst version of me in the last two months.
In need of a little inspiration and motivation yesterday, I remembered my favorite TED talk: Elizabeth Gilbert on your elusive creative genius. I found this talk about 18 months ago coming off a conference. I wrote some thoughts then about it and they feel relevant now:
It's hard (for me) to not always be thinking, what's next? What is the next goal to achieve? It's hard to be in the moment. Be content and appreciative and grateful of this time and this experience. That overachieving side of me is one of my greatest strengths but also a weakness since it can eat away at a sense of worth. It's easy to let myself be defined by a series of achievements and met goals. I'm remembering this TED talk about how it's important (and often enough at times) to just show up. To show up, bring our best, put the time in and do it. Not every day is magic or brilliant.
Not every conference or meeting or moment is awesome and most probably won't be.
Not every piece of art I create is stellar or needs to be stellar.
So accepting that and being OK with showing up and creating for the sake of creating...that's enough. And in the world of conferencing and artist representation, I need to find a way to be OK with the mundane. I suspect these two are related. If I can get back to some things that I've missed for some time, namely creating some art, I think I will find an inner peace that will allow me to feel like the hard and smart work of each day is enough, and will in time, allow for another moment of brilliance.
We're always tested. It's going to suck and sometimes we'll succeed and sometimes we'll fail. I love Elizabeth's analogy that maybe we're not solely responsible for every success and failure. Maybe some of these amazing and brilliant moments are on loan from some divine force (or fairy!) like in the ancient Greek and Roman times. In that regard, we don't put all the credit and responsibility on the individual. How freeing is that? It frees us to show up and do our best and smartest work and not feel like either success or failure define us for a lifetime. I struggle with this immensely - partly because I put 100% into everything and because I had so many mishaps with employers in my past. So many lay offs leaves one questioning her place in this big world. I come back to Elizabeth's talk and message frequently -- Even when we're derailed, feeling like failures, and subsequently the worst versions of ourselves, we can own our part, come back, refocus, and begin again.
"'Ole!' to you, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up."