Reflections

Slowing Summer

/ slow down / observant nomad

I think it’s something that all ambitious creatives face. The endless momentum of peering ahead to our next destination. We’re continuously looking for what we need to change, evolve, shift or improve on. Which is what makes us so awesome at what we do. We take on more and more, pushing ourselves harder to live up to some kind of superhero type of persona. But the side-affect is that sometimes it’s feels nearly impossible to really focus our attention on the moment at hand.

Ever since the move my world has felt more topsy turvy than ever before. Right now, I live in an utter mess of a house. Objects and boxes are piled in corners and they slowly move from one corner to another in hopes that somehow it will go somewhere permanent soon. But as if moving wasn’t stressful enough, let’s throw some long days at work and leaving in the middle of it for Moab on top of it all! I forgot how traveling adds a whole other dimension to the craze.

And even though I say that, my trip to Moab (while maybe poorly timed) reminded me of a feeling I had lost for some time.

It all came rushing back to me in the very middle of our decent down Schafer trail. The sky was a clear bright blue, the clouds dangled low, sprinkling into view. The vast sides of the canyon walls raised up above us. The calming silence of our breathing and the small hum of the motor joined us. There wasn’t a sound outside the car. Not a bird cackling, a wild animal calling, or even the sound of wind. Nothing.

In that moment I had a similar feeling to what I experienced in Spain several years ago. The deep understanding of absolute singularity. Nothing existed outside that moment, no deadlines, no clients, no bills, no meetings, no should-do’s or need-tos. Not even the other people in the car. Just me and that moment.

It was a feeling that gave my soul the permission to slow down. It told me to stop and take note of the world around me, and ask myself, what did I really want my world to look like everyday? Did I really want to carry around the weighty sensation of continuously looking forward all the time? Was I ok with stopping and asking myself, why was I working so hard with what felt like very little reward?

Shifting focus to the present

For a long time I’ve been putting my nose to the grind. Working long hours at the agency, giving 110% to my team and finding every way I could improve the work for our clients. Piled that on top of my side hustle, where I bring the same dedication and thought to my personal clients, you can guess living this way have never been easy. But what I realized deep down, is that even though I love what I do, the way it affects every other area of my life isn’t bringing me true happiness.

I want to love the work I do every single second I do it, and not resent it from letting me live a full life. Sometimes that means allowing yourself room to let the joy in. Instead of having my eyes down 24/7, it’s equally important for me to also look up every once in a while and take measure of where I am at, how my work feels, and where I can infuse more joy into it.

What does that mean? Well all it means is that I’m starting to make changes in my day-to-day. I’m actively creating time for myself to focus on the present more than just what’s coming next. Like investing in practicing my artwork again (like the hand lettering you see), decorating my home, and enjoying a slower pace to life. I guess you could call it a start to what I’m officially marking my slow summer.

Being selective to be effective

It also means I’m going to force myself to say “no” more often. First of all, I’m so thankful I’m even in a place where I can be selective about my work, because I know it won’t (and hasn’t) always been like that. All it does mean is that I need to be more mindful and selective about what I work on. That not only involves saying no, but also means asking some hard questions to figure out what’s right for me, my brand, and what I find truly exciting to work on.

Thoughtful steps towards smaller goals

For my whole life I’ve always been a lofty goal kind of person. I tend to focus more on the mountain top than the summit still ahead of me. But after listening to the latest Being Boss podcast featuring one of my personal favs, Charlene Johnson, I knew that I might be going about this whole “goal” thing the wrong way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a big dreamer! But I find myself building goals to the point where they become too large to tackle. Eventually they end up bringing more anxiety, than optimism. So when I heard Charlene Johnson break down goals into 10 specific areas of your life, I had to give it a try. And I recommend you do too.

What I discovered was that I wanted to improve a lot of things. Which in one way could mean that I am kind of dissatisfied with a lot. And honestly, that’s not unfortunate to me, it’s actually exciting. It’s beyond liberating to be honest with myself and admit that what I’m doing, isn’t working.

Now that I’ve recognized what I need to evolve, I’m more excited than ever to start working on my goals. Instead of obsessing over the large goal ahead of me, I can focus on the moment and work steadily and deliberately towards my plans. That means more energy into the present and creating time to reflect on where I am right now, in this moment, on my journey.

So this summer, it’s time to pause, take a moment, and breathe.

_____

lettering by observant nomad studio / photograph from death to stock photo

What do you think?

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Hey girl! I loved this post – super insightful! I am trying to slow down as well! :) Thanks for sharing and I hope you’re summer is amazing!

I know this feeling all too well. The irony is that I’m from Spain, and ever since I moved from there everything has been go go go with me. It gets to be overwhelming and I couldn’t agree more with you on this post. I’ve been reflecting on this lately, you couldn’t have written this at a better time :)

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