Stretching the Focus muscle

finding-focusMaintaining focus is difficult. For me it is a constant battle to keep my mind on one thing at a time. I am constantly getting distracted by laundry, dishes, sorting kids clothes, etc. It is part of what I love about living in a community, you can rely on other people to help you with your basic needs. This gives you the time to be more focused on the work you need to do. But it also costs you the time it takes to do your part in the community as well.

And there I go again off on another tangent, each one is related and just a few degrees off topic of course. Focus allows us to be productive and to be more in touch with our life. It is essential for a good work life blend. I also belive that we must focus on being positive as well in our daily lives. The more we focus on how negative we feel about our job, life, relationships etc. the more we degrade our own lives. People love to claim that they are being realistic when they have a negative view. What they don’t realise is that they are creating their own reality with negative thoughts. Each one of us is in control of how we perceive and react to the world around us, we must strive and focus on using a good lens.

Focus is not just about controlling what your mind is doing in the moment, it is also about controling the priorities your mind views things with. Having clear priorities allows you to say ‘Yes’ to the things you want and need to be doing and say ‘No’ to the things that will not serve your life. I struggle with saying No to things, I love to help people and making people happy. But I have lost the closeness with friends because I said yes to customers more often than I said yes to my friends. It is an error I am working on correcting but one that will take time and effort to fix. Effort focusing on the positive and what will be positive in my life.

Focus is a practice like meditation or a martial art. We cannot get better at it unless we do it daily and work to improve. For me that is part of why I am writing here. I am working on my focus and on my personal growth. My goals are large and ambitious especially because I do not wish to sacrifice my social life for them.csez15qwaaajofg.jpg

Striving for Simplicity


Simplicity is a beautiful thing. But it has also always been a very difficult thing to achieve. Today I was working on cleaning and purging my home. As I worked I thought about how dependant we are on our stuff. We rely on it not only for happiness but also for memory. And stuff requires us to care for it as well.

Throughout history there have been many wise people who have advocated for simplicity. We are seeing a growing trend towards simplicity right now. Tiny houses are popping up all over. People are working at using less for the benefit of experiencing more. We are starting to realise what a wonderful change we can make.

I am working on simplifying my life one step at a time. I’m getting rid of things we no longer need or use. I’m also letting go of a career that only was seeming to complicate life. I hope that my family can get used to living in less space. Not only will this shift allow us to enjoy our lives more but it will also prepare us for long trips together.

Simplicity is hard work but well worth the effort. We idealize simplicity because we think it must be simple. But as with most things that make us happy they do not come without our participation.

Celebrating Freedom!

Celebrating Freedom!

csez15qwaaajofg.jpgFreedom is a beautiful thing and I am getting closer day by day. Yesterday was a huge milestone for me because I was able to deliver the last part of my last wedding order. I have three small orders still left to do but the large stress of a wedding is gone finally. Taking the time to do this blog challenge each day has allowed me the space to think and dream for my future has been my favorite part of this challenge.
Letting go of a job you hate has its own challenges but it is something that is often celebrated. For me I am letting go of a job that I still love on some days, that is challenging. Writing each day about how and why I am moving on has helped me shift my mindset towards myself and my career. I got an email from a potential customer today who would like a cloak. It’s an easy thing to make. It would be very easy to say yes. I would love to use up the fabric I have so I don’t have to sell it on eBay later on. But I need to say NO because my time is precious and I am moving on to better things for me. Even writing that is hard for me to do, I hate to disappoint someone over such a simple job. This is what I have loved achieving thru this challenge.

4c316ea2ae01be634bc9783ca982f55fMy favorite day of the challenge so far has been Day 5 – A plan for Success with kids. For me I love a simple plan for daily action to move me closer to success, not just get x job done. This whole process for me is not simply about changing jobs it is also about changing my whole lifestyle. I love waking up early and wanting to get up because I am excited about what I will get to do today. I love that I am working to make taking care of myself something I just do. The mental shift is so freeing, I am doing.

At the start of 2016 I gently announced that I was going to close my business making clothing. I wasn’t clear on what I was going to do next, but I knew this year was for transformation. I have tinkered with many different ideas on my own but I hadn’t hit on anything that rang true for me and excited me. Then I signed up for Natalie’s Idea to Income course which I loved. It was simple and quick and helped you look at what you want to do from new angles. Now I need to work thru the tools the course gave me to get my own podcast and blog up and running for my new venture. Doing this blog challenge and starting this personal blog has been a great confidence booster and habit builder to get me moving in the right direction.

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This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10. I am so grateful that I stumbled upon Natalie’s podcast a while ago, it is inspirational and helpful every time.

 

 

The next step for me is to start acting. I need to continue to post here on a regular basis for fun and practice writing. I also need to get my former business wrapping up neatly. I need to get my new business up and running both financially and on the internet. There are many details to attend to but I am lucky to have the freedom to do it. So away I go!

This image here is my current visualization image of my future goal. I hope one day to build a place where a party like this is a regular and celebrated occurence. For me it ties into the concept of when you have surplus build a longer table not a higher wall.1abedf8cef332b8479710cae534b0718.jpg

Lifestyle Freedom

I wish I had learned about the many different ways of living earlier on in my life. I grew up in a nuclear family in America. That is currently how I live with my family. But I have experienced the freedom of living in a large group. I have listened and read about many more lifestyles. All in all I feel that how I live is luxurious and ridiculous at the same time.

For me part of making this shift from a very material career to a more digital career is very freeing. I have been able to take some vacations with my husband and family, but always at the cost of work time and selling at events. To be able to go on vacation and simply plan on a reduced work load while traveling is a game changing thought. In some ways because I am going into a field where I can travel to different historical events I can blend work and vacation easily.

For me I strive for a blend of work, life and adventure not a balance. I see no reason why a single activity cannot fall into multiple categories. There will always be those that are only one like reading to my kids will simply be a thing I do as part of my life for joy not work or adventure. But as I travel to a conference or event it can be an adventure to get there and be there as well as work getting done on the adventure. I can include my kids in my work so that they will learn more about the world than just what school has to offer them.

If I was on a fabulous three week extended vacation in Portugal (I can dream for sure) I would balance vacation time and work time by striving to keep my morning routine unaltered. Even in my current life when my husband is on his summer vacation from teaching we still get up early in the morning to start our day well. Waking up early with time to care for myself and get my goals and intentions for the day in order is critical. From that beginning I would make sure that I was keeping about a 25% work time 75% vacation time schedule throughout the week. I would do it by week so that we would have the flexibility to take a day long tour if we wished. That could be balanced by a more work heavy day where my husband took the kids to a local park to give me quiet time to focus.

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All in all I think a perfect day can be achieved while at home or traveling. I also think a lot can be learned from hearing about how others are freeing themselves by exploring the many lifestyle options available to them. This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9. Our ideal lifestyle shifts over the course of our lives. We must be the ones in control of those shifts so they happen when we want them to and are ready for them.

Choosing Adventure

20160917_085326.jpgToday I took the time to go on a walk with my family down to the river behind our house. If I am by myself I can get down there and back in about 35 min, we took over an hour for our walk today. Our forest is a mature pine forest so we had many mushrooms to stop and admire along the way as well as other interesting things we found. It was a delightful break from our normal weekday routine to get out and go for that walk. Because my kids are 3 and 1 it is not somewhere I can take them without another adult. The river was very tame today because it has been so dry here this summer but normally I worry about them falling in and being swept away.

I love being out in nature and enjoying the simple beauty of it. 20160917_092227.jpgTo me that is one of the saddest parts of how the main stream of modern society lives now. We used to be connected enough with the natural world that we could simply glance at the sun or the stars and be able to know what time it was. Most of us have lost that rhythm. So how do we work towards regaining our integration with our natural world. How do we let go of societies obsession with being young, perfect and rich and instead celebrate the changes and seasons of our lives as they come.

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

20160917_092749.jpgI am guilty of getting caught up in work and the fast hectic pace of life. I know that it is costing me so much. I lose time with my kids, the physical health of my body, the health of my mental state, the quality and depth of my friendships. All for what, for profit, fame, so I can finally have free time, so I can help the poor people of the world, so I can build a wonderous place. Some of these are noble goals some less so; but we cannot pour from an empty cup. In the end we only have so much time and time is precious. We must choose how we live. That comes out in how we care for ourselves and others.20160917_093602.jpg

 

 

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

 

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This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8. This challenge has been wonderful for me to work on my mental state and how I am going to re-structure my life so I can live the life I am meant to live. I will make time for more walks be they family time or alone time. These adventures be they big or small are precious because they are time well spent.

All actions are Imperfect

download-1One of the biggest challenges we all face is procrastination and feeling overwhelmed with a large goal. I am no exception. Some of it comes from my own self doubt, some from what I have absorbed from those around me. When you tell people ‘My life goal is to build a castle with a historical town for people to live in’ they all think your nuts. The best response I get is ‘How are you going to do that?’ It is a question I have pondered for a very long time. But I have seen the amazing things that people can do when they work together and I believe that it is possible. But where and how to start…

I don’t know if where I am starting will actually work or not, but I must start somewhere. I have minimal experience with events, but I have experienced a wide variety. The bottom line is I must act in some way. I can not wait for it to be the perfect action, even a professional level athlete can never know if their next action will be perfect or not there are to many factors that can affect the result. How often do our paths change or do we look back at our younger self only to say ‘I wanted to be what?’ Planning is good as long as you keep your mind open to change and commit to adapting to your current situation.

finding-focusThe imperfect action I am going to commit to is to writing and/or recording every day to move myself closer to a successful on-line business. I am a perfectionist because of my fears of failure and my desire to deliver a quality product. However I also try to balance perfection with practicality and acknowledge when I have done enough to act. The fact that I am here writing right now is amazing to me as a tiny step in the right direction.

leadership_and_powerThis imperfect action aiming in the right direction each day will allow me to grow my confidence and start practicing for the work I have planned ahead. By practicing the main things I will hopefully be doing for the next few years I will be able to accelerate my success. After doing this one simple action and hopefully adding a couple more over the next 30 days I will establish good habits for my future.

blog-challenge-badge-12This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 7 I have been so grateful and inspired by doing this challenge. It is amazing to me how well Natalie crafts her prompts to get you thinking and moving in the right direction. I am looking forward to my life each day with excitement which hasn’t happened in a long time and it is so energizing. Thank you!

Finding my Tribe

20160902_063203.jpgI have been part of many tribes over the short course of my life so far. In high school I was part of the nerd tribe and the odd outcast tribe. In college I was a theater techy and also a history nerd. After college I happily signed up for the rennie tribe (folks who work at, attend often, and love renaissance faires). I also joined the entrepreneur tribe at the same time as I started my business. Currently I am working on joining the reenactor tribe and joining the event planning tribe. Each different aspect of our lives could be defined as a different tribe if we chose.

I prefer to think of my tribe as the do-ers I know, they are the ones I feel the most kin-ship with, that is the common theme in each tribe I listed above once I hit college. I love planning and organizing and simply being an energized bunny some days. At the same time not everyone I know fully understands what being a do-er means. Each phase of my life has moved me closer to the right tribe of people.

20160902_082114.jpgAt the end of this summer I was fortunate to be able to work at Sandy Island for two weeks. Sandy Island is a family camp run by the Boston YMCA. Many families come back to the same week year after year, my family is one of the families that goes every summer. I grew up knowing that Sandy was a magical place. From my experience with events and theater I knew the staff was the key to making Sandy the wonderful place it is. This summer I got to experience being part of the team that helps make Sandy such a happy and peaceful place.

The team of Sandy Island is united by a love of Sandy not only as a place but also as an experience and they know that their work helps not only the guests but also the staff enjoy their time at Sandy. The beauty of a good team is trust that every job will get done and that every member of the team will be cared for. My final weekend there the director of the camp was sick with a fever and her assistant had left for the season. The whole staff worked together and made sure every job was taken care of.

blog-challenge-badge-12This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6. Our challenge for today is to write about someone who is living the life you want to live. For many years I have admired Kate. Kate was the director of Sandy and now is the executive director of three YMCA camps including Sandy. Kate also is a mother of two cute boys and a wife to a loving and supportive husband. Kate finds time be with her family and has days that are crazy busy, and yes I somehow know that is what I want. I want to have a fantastic team, a place that is a joy for people to visit and live at, and new challenges to solve each day.

If I only had one question that I was able to ask Kate I would ask her ‘What is the best way to care for your staff?’ In any customer service industry ensuring that your staff is ready and able to serve your customers is critical. I have heard Kate comment before that she takes care of her people so that they take care of the campers. This is the sign of a leader who leads from the front with action in a manner that her subordinates know that they can trust her to have their back if needed. I can only endeavour to be that effective.

For my castle dream I am sure I will need more mentors, guides and tribe members. I still have work to do and more people to meet on my journey. I trust that I will recognize my tribe when I find them. Their passions will sing to mine.