Last weekend I had a major moment of clarity. I’ve been pushing myself in my business… hard… for over a year. One thing after another started to go “wrong” and it got to the point I felt I couldn’t handle it anymore. I even told my team, my husband and frankly anyone who would listen, “That’s it, I QUIT!”
Physically I’ve never felt better. I’ve been working with a personal trainer, eating uber clean and stepping it up in karate. So I actually believed my mind could keep up with my body (when in the past with chronic illness, my body couldn’t keep up with my mind). I didn’t even recognize the slow creeping sense of burnout I was experiencing… because I had physical energy so why not just keep pushing?
Then I had a string of small breakdowns… OK small might not be what my husband called them, but compared to how I used to “react,” they were… relatively… small. And the clarity? In the middle of one of these breakdowns I said out loud, “What else could go wrong today?”
That’s a very important question… because the last time I had a breakdown I set an intention that if I asked that question it would trigger my mind to see what was really happening. And as soon as I said it, I stopped. Shortened my breath… broke down and cried.
I’d reached the tipping point. The point I couldn’t go on any longer. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. And I desperately needed a break.
So I did something I normally do… I went shopping. Only this time Tony and I went to Michael’s and picked up a bunch of fun art supplies. (Not that we don’t already have enough supplies in The PlaySpace, but there were a few things I wanted for a project I’ve had in mind to do for over two years. (If you’re beating yourself up for not starting that idea you had way back when… STOP IT! It’s NEVER too late! Read on…)
Then something MAGICAL happened.
As I dove fingers-first into gilding, paint, toys and a LOT of glitter, my mindset changed. I immediately felt lighter. My creative-brain self has been starving for the past couple years as I’ve barely satisfied it once in a while with a LEGO set here and there… which honestly is more an analytic-brain activity (following steps) than creative.
My brain was so hungry it wanted more… and more… and of course, me, being the ninja that does everything in series, started a series of mixed-media toy-inspired steampunk art pieces. Having never done mixed media before (but always admired it), I was a little nervous sharing my work… and my mess… with the world.
But the fact is there’s NOTHING more freeing than making a mess and covering your world in glitter. 🙂
What I discovered was the power of recalibration. My mind knew exactly where it wanted to be, it just needed permission to go there. And what I thought for sure would take me months to recover from (I’ve burned out before and it took 6 months to “find myself” again) only took a few minutes. WOW!
I thought I’d do a Facebook Live video to share my mess with my friends… and since the technology on my phone wouldn’t work right, I figured I’d just do a regular video instead. I uploaded it to my Writing with Kristen Joy Facebook page, and thought I’d share more of the behind-the-scenes story here on my blog.
I hope it inspires and encourages you that if you’re facing burnout, or headed toward overwhelm, or not sure what to do or where to turn next… the answer could lie in something as simple as “feeding your soul” (another phrase I never understood before this moment of clarity…) and satisfying your inner child with permission to be creative.
Enjoy the video… and check out the photos below of my first couple art pieces.
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Photos of my first creation…
Photos of my first in the toy-inspired steampunk series… “Ivy”
Art often has hidden meaning to the artist… and these pieces definitely have that. But I’m interested in what YOU see… How do these speak to you? And how do you unplug from daily life and work and be creative? Comment below… I want to hear from you! 🙂