I got dumped last week.
It was just a regular workday, but I was struggling to concentrate, so I decided to revive my spirits with a cheeky lunchtime dip in the ocean. I reasoned that this would not only fulfil my newfound commitment to regular self-care, but allow me to check another accomplishment off my 100 things to try in 2016 list.
At least that was the plan… But then my last client call ran over time. I should have abandoned my swim for another day, but instead I raced around the house, madly shutting windows, searching for car keys and wriggling into my swimsuit.
I got to the beach with approximately eight minutes to complete my swim, get dressed and return to the car in time for school pick up and back-to-back guitar lessons. Phew.
Still I forged ahead, plunging into the unusually rough waves. For a few minutes, I floated pleasantly on my back, enjoying the sharp drop as each wave passed through.
It was time to go in. I tried to body surf back to shore, but the wave broke right over the top of me, knocking me sideways. I was like a ragdoll, spinning over and over and over, corkscrewing down, pinned to the seabed. There was nothing I could do but relax and wait for the wave to release its grip.
At last I stood up, breathless, my hair torn loose from its ponytail, covered in sand and seaweed. For the first time in years I’d been properly dumped – and I knew immediately that it was a fitting metaphor for my life and work right now.
I had finished 2015 emotionally spent and in a state of near burnout. I was exhausted, out of ideas and my back had completely seized up. I could only type lying flat on the floor, with my laptop balanced against my thighs.
Clearly, things could not carry on this way.
I often tell my clients that building an online business is an exercise in self-discovery. It’s common for a business to start out as one thing and morph into something different, as you become clearer and more assured of your purpose.
The key is to tap into what lights you up, to figure out when you do your best work and then do more of it, allowing the overall picture to unfold.
Over the last six weeks, I’ve discovered it’s not so easy to “eat my own cat food”. Figuring out how I really want to serve and how to best use my gifts to help others, takes some deep soul-searching and a willingness to look at my work with genuine curiosity, openness and a critical eye.
With the help of biz coach Natalie Tolhopf, I’ve realised I have a tendency to get distracted by shiny opportunities and other people’s agendas. I needed to let go of some of my plans for 2016 – even if that meant disappointing others. I needed to do less, while doing more of what was in alignment with my soul’s work. And I needed to save some energy for my family and for myself.
I’ve also been working with an energy healer who showed up in my life at a time when I knew I needed to clear some of the subconscious blocks and beliefs that were holding me back. Working with the amazing Belinda Phillips is a new experience for me and the results can be intense. There have been times over the last two months when I’ve felt tossed around and pinned down, just like that wave, as old fears and limiting beliefs showed their ugly faces. Thankfully Belinda is always there to support me.
So what does 2016 hold? The picture is now emerging and I know the ultimate result will be beautiful and more in alignment with the work I am here to do. In the meantime, I’m treading cautiously, concentrating on serving my clients fully and from the heart. I’m thinking carefully about the alliances I forge and the information I allow into my newsfeed.
I’ve also learned that true self-care has to be a priority for me now, not something to be checked off a list and shoehorned into an eight-minute window.
Or does it?
Yesterday I went down to the river after yoga. The tide was in. I dived off the jetty, and swam upstream against the flow, admiring the bobbing, bathing-capped heads of the mostly elderly swimmers.
Then I lay on my back and drifted back to the jetty, feeling the warm sun on my face and the pull of the tide, absorbing the peace and the stillness and the velvety texture of the water.
The entire swim took eight minutes.
Like anything in life, perhaps what really matters is our intention.