When Thriving Means Letting Go by Amy DeRosia

CC Photo by  Hossein Ezzatkhah

CC Photo by Hossein Ezzatkhah

As life moves we need to move with it, not against it. Transition happens whether we’re ready or not. Of course it’s difficult to let go, to stretch, to accommodate, and to be in between here and there yet—discomfort is inevitable whether you remain in a stagnant story that no longer serves you or you decide to choose growth. So choose growth.
— Victoria Erickson


I very much believe in practicing the art of staying and fully living where you are. But no matter how good our attitudes are or how much we fight for something, sometimes we have to start over.  Sometimes our vision, businesses, relationships, or cities fall short. We've done all we can do to make them work. But it wasn't enough.

We often underestimate our capacity for change and hold onto things too long. If we get to the point where we're constantly saying, "I can't do this anymore." After a period of time, we have to honor that truth. Listen to ourselves. Let it go.

Saying "no thank you" to something that is no longer serving us can be one of the bravest, most loving choices we’ll ever make. We know a lot of good will eventually come from this experience, but right now it just hurts.

This is the part of the process we all like to gloss over. Facing the unknown after the "not this" realization can be scary, sad, and frustrating.

At this point, we need to forget about looking for the silver lining. Feel whatever emotions come to the surface. This is an opportunity to be super kind and loving to ourselves. Do activities we enjoy. Spend time with people we care about. Savor small moments in our lives.  Take time to re-envision what we want. Uncover what we learned from the experience. What worked? What didn't work? What will we do different next time? What are we grateful for?

Even if it hurts now or you don't know what's next, trust that you will rebuild in a stronger, more sturdy way because of this. Take small actions every day to move you closer to where you want to be.

As long as you take time to reflect, you will continue to make better guesses about what you want and need. Your skills will continue to improve. You'll get closer to creating the masterpiece, solving the problem, building deeper connections with others, and feeling more at home where you are.

For now, make sure you're taking extremely good care of yourself. Keep creating and experimenting. Realize how brave you are as you dust yourself off and try again.

Why Creating Is More Important Than Perfect by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Aaron Gilson

Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend.
— Anne Lamott

Last night, a few of us went to a friend's house to make some art. There was more talking and hanging out than creating which was still fun. The whole experience made me aware of my own self-consciousness about making something in front of others because I'm creative but not an "artist." 

Art is something that all kids do. There is never a question of whether or not a kid is an artist. They just draw, paint, sing, and dance because it's fun. These experiences are part of their daily lives.

Adults who make art are different though. You're supposed to be GOOD. Comparison and perfectionism keep us from enjoying the process of creating like we did as kids. There is a weird pressure to be an expert at your craft before you show your work. Many people never show their novel or album or painting to anyone. That is a major loss. 

We can become derailed by fear or criticism. But art is for everyone-so is activism, community building, and business. 

You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself.
— Seth Godin

Technology is cheaper and better than it's ever been. The internet has made it easier than ever before to teach yourself how to be an incredible artist/maker/entrepreneur/activist. You can create something, build your own platform online, or organize an event. 

Most of us, unfortunately, don't know what to do with this opportunity. We have to practice being uncomfortable and adjust our expectations. Failing and learning as you go is part of the process- so is having fun.

When you choose to put something new out into the world for others to experience, you're an artist. Nothing has to be perfect. Just keep working on it.

Also watch this excellent Ira Glass clip:

How do you keep perfectionism from affecting your creative life? Let me know in the comments.

Overwhelmed? 3 Useful Ways to Find Harmony by Amy DeRosia

CC Photo by Danist Soh

Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.
— Paulo Coelho

Balance isn't possible. We usually don't have control of the timing or pace of events around us. 

The past couple of months have been pretty overwhelming for me. I'm having fun but burning out. I feel busy and tired. But, my solution isn't to cut out all of the good things happening right now. I've got to manage my energy better. Striving for harmony feels more achievable.

Harmony, unlike balance, is not about keeping everything calm and controlled. You can teach yourself to embrace the crazy but switch gears easier. Uncertainty is something we have to deal with everyday. When you learn to react from a more conscious place, you can face any problem with steadiness and wisdom.

Here are a few suggestions to cultivate harmony:

1) Get out of your head.

Feel the feelings. Drop the story.
— Pema Chodron

We torture ourselves over events from the past that we can't change or situations from the future that may not even happen.  Negative feelings are useful. They point us toward what we truly desire. But, we can get stuck. Our thoughts and interpretations of these problems rob us of our peace in the present moment.

When you allow yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions then let them go, you can find clarity about steps to move forward.

Exercise: Take 10-15min. Write down all of the issues that are bothering you. Cross out the ones you have no control over. Then, get to work on your list.

2) Being, then doing.

Taking action is important. But your decisions are more effective when you're grounded in who you are and what you want. There is an obsession in our culture with DOING something, anything. But without space for reflection and contentment you waste a lot of energy.

If you're overwhelmed, consider taking a break first. By enjoying experiences in real time, you have the energy to handle the more difficult situations.

Exercise: Take an hour off everyday to recharge. Nap, play, create something, spend time with friends, exercise, or explore. Your to-do list can wait. OR If you've been goofing off too much lately, complete the first 5 minutes of a task now. Feel the relief of accomplishing something on your list. Then, go play.

3) Embrace the mess.

Sometimes BEING isn't an option. You barely have enough time to get the work done. The best you can do isn't pretty or perfect. Whatever happens or doesn't is okay. 

Elizabeth Gilbert agrees:

Unpredictable circumstances happen all the time. The better we get at accepting uncertainty and failure the easier it'll be to take the necessary risks to live an incredible life.

Exercise: Take a breath and celebrate whatever is good right now. That's enough.

How do you find peace when you're overwhelmed? Let me know in the comments.