I was riding on the back of a motorbike in rural Indonesia, just a few short months ago and I realised something was very wrong. The wind was rushing through my hair, I was resting my head on my husband’s shoulder and everything within me should have been buzzing. This situation in the past would have filled me with adrenaline and my heart would have been racing.
As a creative, pioneering soul, my heart aches to rebel. It is like I have always been curiously designed to push the boundaries, not in an intensely negative way but an innovative edge to challenge the status quo. Honestly, I believe if we are not pushing boundaries, then we will be constantly seeking comfort and nothing new is birthed in this position.
It was this Thursday afternoon in Indonesia that I knew something needed to change for 2017 and that my time as a stay at home Mum after five years was coming to a close. It was a natural transition, as my now not so little first born Maximus was starting full-time school. My second born Liberty has that same I want to leap out of the nest innovative style like her Mum, so we have decided to put her into a pre-kindy program and I am stepping back into part-time work.
After a lot of processing, I have come to the conclusion that there are many reasons for my squashed adrenaline response on the back of the motorbike that day. One being grief, I realised that to shut down to pain was to shut down to joy. I also realised that the constant stimulation from little people’s questions and demands had depleted my creative heart. I also knew that tiredness and lack of solitude had zapped my inspiration tanks. Together, my husband and I have come up with a simple plan to refuel my inspiration responses this year with ten simple ways I am bringing inspiration back into my everyday life.
TEN WAYS I AM BRINGING INSPIRATION BACK
I am prioritising “rhythm over accomplishment”.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the urgent rather than the important. The life of a parent is filled with urgent needs in front of our vegemite smeared faces and yes our attention is absolutely needed by those closest. But an empty washing basket, worn as a badge of honor, that is prioritised over a manuscript that is awaiting attention does not give me the same long-term satisfaction as expressing the gifts that lay dormant. I am pursuing a rhythm this year, where I am seeking the important over the urgent and saying no to those things filled with the obligations that drain. Five-minute journalling and reading every day, rather than a big binge once a week.
I am prioritising “connection over scrolling”.
There are many days that I cannot remember who contacted me where and what I am responding too. It is like social media has fractured my connection space and it used to be one of my strengths. I have messages waiting on Instagram and people texting me replies to something I posted on social media and facebook messages, tweets, likes, follows and comments. My brain is exploding from all the messages that are flying back and forth and it is changing my capacity to remember who I have spoken to about what. I have decided this year, that I am not going to feel the pressure to respond to every text, message, and invitation that flys at me. I am prioritising face to face connection and phone conversations with people. If anyone wants to communicate online with me I am asking them to email me and once a day I will respond via email. I have also disconnected email from all my different computers and screens. I am only having my email account on my laptop and will be unsubscribing from all the emails that do not add value. I am prioritising my connection with people and thoughtful responses over scrolling and half answers and emojis filled with rolled eyes and exhales.
I am prioritising “health over speed”.
My life as a Novice Mum has been categorised by vegemite toast on the run and coffee going cold in a cup. I have survived the last five years, by saying yes to all of you and my children over time walking, exercising and creating healthy boundaries with food. So once again I stand here at the beginning of a new year and I am faced with the weight I have carried around with me, as I have chased my children through life. I am choosing health over speed and apples over toast, water over Pepsi max and herbal tea over coffee.
I am prioritising “writing over pleasing”.
Social Media brings with it such instant gratification. Every time you like my post, my people pleasing nature is ignited and the loss of online engagement over the season when I turned my phone off, made me feel deep places of rejection. This year I am choosing to write instead of people please online. The requests, the reaching out and the conversations are all so important, but it has come at a cost and the cost is the voice that I have been developing each time I sit to write with intention and grace. This year I am promising myself to write more and people please less.
I am prioritising “music over noise”
I like to know what is happening in the world. With two little people listening to the news in all its glory, I have realised how deeply destructive our media is. Each morning I like to put on the news and listen to it as I make breakfast. I also have a habit of listening to the news at nighttime as I prepare dinner. This year I am changing that deeply engrained habit. I am choosing music, uplifting songs and atmosphere’s, over the systemic nature of the world and its media organisations. This decision is one of my hardest, as I feel like I am saying goodbye to friends. But I would prefer to read articles and books with a more balanced world view, that the way the media has turned.
I am prioritising “being present over perfect”
One of my greatest privileges of 2016, on that trip to Indonesia was reading a couple of books that were profound. I read Shauna Niquest’s book Present over Perfect and I think it was the grace shift I needed in this whole season of my life. Here is the link if you want to have a read. We have also decided in February to do a book club with Elaine Fraser, Jodie McCarthy and I with this book if you want to order and read along.
I am prioritising “listening over apologies”
This one is a hard one. My husband said this recently “Do you realise how often in a day you apologise my love?” Woah, a stop the car moment. I spend so much of my day teaching my children to say sorry and to stop and to sit in the corner, that I have become an apology machine. When I slow myself down, I have realised that I constantly apologise for my voice. So rather than say sorry, I am going to listen more and be slower to speak.
I am prioritising “space over clutter”
Yesterday we de-cluttered our spare room and we deep cleaned our pantry. The plastics cupboard got a good spanking and our fridge was emptied again. I am a serial de-clutterer, but I absolutely believe the only reason I am able to write today is because my space is prioritised. It is the simplest inspiration principle, but it is profound. This year I am once again prioritising buying quality over quantity and removing myself from the culture that more is more. Whoever dies with the most stuff does not win. I refuse to be drawn into this cultural phenomenon, that if my Instagram feed is full of the latest and greatest, that I am somewhat successful.
I am prioritising “making over buying”
In my pursuit of consuming less, I am taking the time to make things, rather than just buy them. I have pulled out my sewing machines more times in the last couple of months than I have in the last few years. Second hand to me is my delight and hand me downs are our sustenance. I refuse to mindlessly scroll the shopping centre, throwing stuff in my basket so I feel better, I am going to get my hands dirty and make food, clothes and I know I will find the satisfaction of making there.
I am prioritising “the pavement over the couch”
Last night as the sun was setting my husband dressed our family in their outdoor gear and pushed us all off the couch. We should have been having showers and settling in for the evening, but he forced us out to the beach and the result was profound. The whole way as the pavement stared up at me, I wanted to return to the comfort of the couch but getting active and breathing in fresh air is the best remedy for inspiration that I know. Drinking water, talking and walking is one of the greatest ways to connect as a family and I am prioritising the pavement this year over the couch.
What are you prioritising this year?
Welcome to my new series that I will be publishing every Friday of 2017, “ten ways with Amanda”. A series of articles that will be releasing each week encouraging inspiration and encouragement for our weekly lives.
Happy Creative and Inspired Year truth Seekers,
I’m hoping to write a lot more in this space this coming year.