to be honest, i'm not sure where to begin.
nowhere seems appropriate, really, so i guess i'll just start here and work backward/forward.
i'm still recovering from the bakesale; i haven't had much downtime since the event, and i definitely haven't had a chance to process my feelings about it (or respond to all of the emails that continue to pour in). for now, please let a humongous THANK YOU suffice. one day, perhaps soon, i'll be able to organize my thoughts and tell the story around this incredible outpouring of love that deserves to be told.
one thing that's happened as a result of the bakesale is this: i've officially reached the end of my rope. no longer can i juggle everything by myself, be a bottomless pit of YES, and do work without being paid (or paid enough). what i need is an assistant, but since i can't afford that right now, i'm changing gears:
- i'm on the six month plan. in six months, i will regularly be taking one full day off a week.
- i'm imposing a moratorium on pro-bono gigs. or, shall i say, don't come to me; let me come to you. please don't ask me to organize/donate to/work at/promote your fundraiser or event for free; the answer is no. if you'd like to pay me to consult, however, i am open to discussion.
- we're taking pop-up general store from a monthly project to a quarterly one. this will allow me to make room in my life for the work that sustains me financially and intellectually. i love the pop-up, but i am constantly consumed by preparing for, recovering from, working at, or just being anxious about it. i don't want to totally let it go, but i can't continue to let it dictate my schedule. my other hope with this is: with more time between each pop-up, we can get photos of the items up on the website, expand our offerings, and just raise the quality of the whole thing in general. this is a change i'm excited about for many reasons.
- i'm realizing: i'm just one person. i can't do everything. i've become the tasmanian devil. i've created a vicious cycle where every time i perform better and produce more. though i wear myself out, i'm controlled by some irrational fear about the expectations i've created around what i do so i feel like i have to set the standard even higher the next time and achieve even more. why? i don't know. it's ridiculous, and i can't function like that anymore. i saw how ridiculous it all is when, after the bakesale i realized that typically projects of this scope are organized by entire committees of people, not just insane control-freaks like me. i did have a bit of help from elisa and alice with some emails and spreadsheets, but other than that i did the entire thing myself. and the thing is, i'm not proud of that. this isn't bravado speaking. it's more like, "WTF?!"
- it might be arbitrary, but my goal is to say NO five times a week. i was particularly pleased with myself when i said no last week to one of my favorite authors of all time: she asked me for an estimate for my work, and even though i HATE giving estimates more than anything i came up with one that seemed totally fair, and when she said she couldn't afford it i didn't bristle, or buckle, or even feel bad. i just let it go. a month ago i would have told her i'd do it for free just because of who she is. now, i'm up against a wall and i can't afford to do that, and so somehow, the whole exchange was much less emotional and stressful that it might have been.
after the bakesale, i spent a couple of days out at stinson beach hiding out from the world with some friends. we walked along the beach to get coffee in the mornings, collecting rocks and shells that the artist among organized into an incredible still life on a rotting wooden door by the house. one day, we hiked for hours, never crossing paths with another human, walking so far out along the point that i wondered if anyone had ever been there before. we ate simple, delicious food and took naps in the sun. my phone barely worked out there.
at one point, i started to fret--how could it be that out there i was so calm, so present, so receptive to the beauty of the mundane and yet the moment i returned to this life i'd get swept up into the whirlpool of unanswered email and phone calls, growing to-do lists, and every other way i constantly feel like i am letting everyone down? how could i hold on to that peace? was there a way?
even then, i knew the answer: it isn't so much about holding onto that peace as it is about being able to summon it at will. even i, in my most dervish-like moments, hold somewhere within me a spot so serene i could, and did, confuse it with that picturesque landscape out on the coast. for what i was feeling out on the beach wasn't so much awe at what i am apart from as awe of what i am a part of, of what is a part of me. this is the single most valuable thing i have learned in three years of practicing yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. i just tend to forget it much of the time.
being at the beach helped me remember. so i'm going to go to the beach more often. it's as simple as that.