It’s all about space…

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed and stuck? Like you have all this stuff you want to do, but you can’t seem to get there?

That was me two weeks ago. It kind of felt like I was drowning in my to-do list. I was feeling increasingly frantic.

So I decided to do something about it.

On August 12 I announced that I was going on a blog-holiday. Two weeks post-free to rest and dream and work on other things.

I had three goals:

1. to unplug and relax and catch my breath
2. to take care of the MANY things on my to-do list that kept getting bumped by post-writing
3. to get the kind of perspective on my blog and business that only time away can provide, and to come back with new ideas and dreams and insights

And you know what? It totally worked.

Here’s a summary:
The first weekend, we took a road trip to PEI and stayed with some friends.

Photo of giant-ass Confederation Bridge not-by-me

It was fabulous! I left my laptop at home, we drove over the bridge under a spectacular full moon, and we had a glorious day-and-a-half in the sun on the Island. We played games, we went to a beach, we ate supper at the Churchill Arms (SO GOOD), and we went for an evening walk in downtown Charlottetown. It was short, exhausting, but good (even though we didn’t get to visit everyone we wanted to).

The next week was the perfect mix of work and play. I checked about a dozen non-blog-related things off my list. I scanned some photos and paintings. I collected some quotes to tweet. I journalled. I came up with ideas for not one, but three e-books. I watched all of the new episodes of Torchwood. And that weekend, we went swimming at Dollar Lake. We drove out late Sunday afternoon, and the water was perfect.

Last week I ended up doing a bunch of website-related stuff sort of by accident. I changed the blog theme, and accidentally wiped out a bunch of my settings. Oops. But somewhere in there, while I was rebuilding my sidebar from scratch, I realized that I actually liked the change (this, I believe, is typical Mercury Retrograde stuff).

...at least this didn't happen...

Somehow that “oops” launched a whole series of blog-related techy things that I had been procrastinating on for months because I didn’t know how to do them. (I maintain that this doesn’t count as cheating because I didn’t actually engage in blogging activities…just techy ones). I’m not done with the changes yet…there are big things —including a change in URLs— coming very soon.

And then we wound things up by spending a day at a friend’s house in the country and making a bonfire at the top of a hill covered in blueberry bushes.

Rest, check.
Work, check.

I’m still working on the third goal of the vacation, the blog-and-business perspective. But I do have some insight on the vacation itself:

This vacation was all about space. Creating space for change to flow in.

I made some space in my schedule by eliminating blog-posting for 2 weeks. I cleared some space in my to-do list (and my brain) by completing nagging tasks. I changed things around, and in the process I ended up shifting massive blocks and moving forward in ways I didn’t expect. I needed to clear the space for this to happen.

And now I feel like a snowball at the top of a hill, just edging toward the slope…things are moving! I like this feeling. Now I’m wondering what else I can do to make space for change in my life…I can’t be on vacation all the time (that would sort of defeat the purpose!)

What about making some physical space?

…if you read yesterday’s Inspiration Tuesday post, you’ll notice that the Internet presented me with this post: Andrea Schroeder, in the throes of pre-moving stuff-elimination writes,

I’m doing a full-on all-out clearing.
Everything that no longer serves me – gone.
Blocks: dismantled and their components taken away to the thrift shop where someone else can build something beautiful out of them.
Obstacles: thrown into the recycling bin like they should have been long ago.
As I’m doing this with my stuff I’m also doing this with my stuff.
It’s a huge job.  It’s tiring physically and it’s exhausting emotionally.
Creating space for the next stage.
More creativity.  More freedom.  More possibility.  More flow.  More space.  More sparkle.

That’s starting to sound pretty damn good to me.

After all, right now it’s all about space.

…and now it’s time to rest…

…I think the Internet’s trying to tell me something.

Last week, if you’ll recall, I found and shared this post.

And I told a friend that I was feeling like maybe I needed a short blog-holiday to get some perspective and catch my breath.

This week I found this post, and this post, and this one.

…a bit heavy-handed, this Universe of ours 😛

I love this 3-posts-a-week schedule of mine. It’s a great rhythm for me, and I don’t feel like I’m bursting with things to say that go unsaid for want of time (which I was starting to feel when I posted twice a week). But, here’s the thing: I’ve been posting regularly since January, and Mama needs a break.

I’m going on a 2-week blog-holiday. Part of that will probably be a full-on internet-holiday. I’m really doing it. Starting tomorrow.

But, since I have a couple more things up my sleeve, I’m scheduling 2 posts for next week. I have a reduced-version of Inspiration Tuesday to share (because I’ve already found some great stuff), and I have a 5Rhythms Friday post (I KNOW, right?! Awesome!). So you’ll only really miss me for the last full week of August. And then I’ll be back. Promise.

I’m wrestling with some fear on this whole break-taking thing. From what I’m reading, most bloggers and creative entrepreneurs do. They don’t want to be forgotten. They don’t want to lose momentum. I don’t want those things either. But I need to take a breath and prepare for September. September is always a HUGE month for me and Matthew. And I have some big plans that need some fully-dedicated time.

So…2 posts next week, then one week off, and then I’ll be back. Full of dreams and ideas and fresh insight. I can’t wait!

Be good while I’m away!

xox

Meg

Whatever happened to 5Rhythms Fridays? (and what comes next)

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I had a series called 5Rhythms Fridays where I undertook a regular 5Rhythms practice and blogged about it once a week. I did it for 3.5 months, give or take a leg injury. I started digging deep and healing myself with the dance. And then I stopped.

I didn’t just stop writing about the Rhythms, I stopped doing them.

And I’ve been feeling guilty ever since.

I know that a bunch of new readers have joined me since I last wrote a 5Rhythms post (Hi there!), so just in case you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, my comrade-in-arms, Jennifer at Flowtation Devices has written a fantastic introduction to the Rhythms.

Jennifer is lucky. She lives within driving distance of a 5Rhythms class. I, on the other hand, would have to drive for about 19 hours (one way) to get to a teacher. I’ve never taken a Real Live 5Rhythms class. The only reason I know about the Rhythms at all is that one day, years ago, a Reiki Healing Dance teacher at a weekend workshop recommended a book called Sweat Your Prayers to me, and I bought a copy. Any kind of 5Rhythms practice I’ve ever had has been based on what I’ve read in the book and heard in the vocal prompts on Gabrielle Roth’s CDs.

Sweat Your Prayers changed my life. It opened my eyes to new ways of moving. It gave me inspiration and insight and confirmation that there was, indeed, another way of dancing. And my experiments with the 5Rhythms have also been life-changing…I just read through my 5Rhythms Friday posts, and they are full of insights and healings and Beginnings of Big Things.

So why did I stop?

My original draft of this post listed 4 reasons why I stopped. But I think that, really, it boils down to two:

1. I was totally effing terrified.

One day I found myself engulfed by misery and wracked by huge, animal sobs, and I got some idea of the sheer extent of the rage and pain my body was holding onto. And it terrified me. After that, 5Rhythms sessions were harder to do because I was afraid that it would happen again. It was harder to get out of my head. I was resisting and avoiding.

In the time since I stopped doing the Rhythms, I’ve still been dancing, but I haven’t moved with the intention of healing. I haven’t peeked below the surface. I haven’t had the same meaningful movement experiences I had when I was doing the Rhythms. And I’ve been creeping back into stasis (which is my term for not-moving-at-all). Yes, fear was definitely part of the problem.

2. I was doing it wrong.

Yes, yes, I know that you can’t do the Rhythms wrong, that there’s no such thing as a bad dancer or bad steps (that’s the backbone of my own philosophy, after all)…but as I look back at my practice, review Sweat Your Prayers, and start playing around with the Rhythms again, I realize that, actually, you can totally do the Rhythms wrong. In a manner of speaking.

In Sweat Your Prayers, Gabrielle Roth says,

“The only discipline it requires is for you to show up and be true to the part of yourself that is committed to moving. Although there are five rhythms, today you may only do one and tomorrow you may do three. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do it. You’ll soon learn to listen to your body and to do what’s appropriate for you in the moment.”

In spite of all of my breakthroughs, in spite of all the times I’ve written about dancing from the inside out and listening to your body…when it came down to it, I was still letting my head lead the dance. I obsessed about whether I was doing the rhythms “right,” and I got down on myself if I stopped before completing all five rhythms. My mind was a continual chatter of thoughts.

I was still, after all these years, doing the trained dancer’s trick of dancing from the outside in…and that meant I was “making” my body do steps instead of letting my true dance come out. I wasn’t listening, I wasn’t doing what was appropriate in the moment, I was going by the book and not by the body.

As far as a technique in which there is no “wrong” goes…that’s about as wrong as you can get. And even though I didn’t know exactly what the problem was, I had this sinking feeling that something was off.  Dancing the Rhythms was a struggle (far more so after the aforementioned fear kicked in).

But the thing is…this work is important. I want to heal. I am so close to deeper understanding and Knowing. And this is what I set out to achieve this year: Homecoming. So screw the fear. It’s time to take another leap (or at least a gentle step).

I’m coming back to the 5Rhythms. Very very slowly. But with a difference this time:

1. I will not commit to writing weekly 5Rhythms posts.

That puts too much pressure on the practice. If anything post-worthy comes up, I promise to share. And I may give occasional progress reports. But the weekly post thing was just not working for me, at least not as a hard-and-fast rule (if I find that every week gives me something 5Rhythms-y to write about, I will absolutely do so…but I don’t want the point of the practice to be finding something to write about, you know?).

2. The only thing I will commit to doing is showing up.

I’m starting right from the beginning. I’m not even going to try to do the Rhythms, I’m just going to commit to putting on some music and doing the tuning-in/warming-up “Body Jazz” part of the practice. If I feel like dancing more after that, I will, but I will stop if my body tells me to, with zero guilt and zero expectations. Just like I tell all of my students to do.

3. I’m returning to the source.

I skimmed through a bunch of Sweat Your Prayers before I started my practice last time. This time I’m going to really read it. Sentence by sentence, highlighting and note-taking all the way. It’s going to take me a long time…there’s not much time for reading in my day, but I’m going to inch my way through and really digest it as I go.

After all, the point of this is to focus on the journey, not the destination.

If you want to find me, I’ll be shut in the guest room with my eyes closed, listening to what my body has to say.