creative support for times of change

difficult decisions

Greetings to you from this beautiful winter wonderland here in Rupert, Quebec. I am so grateful to call this place home.

barn in winter, creek in frontMany of us are wrestling with difficult decisions these days, especially given the context of holiday gatherings and the relentless spread of Omicron. Each person has their own circumstances, realities, values, beliefs and needs to guide them.

In my case I had trouble trying to decide whether or not to join my friend in Montreal. Yes COVID safety reasons lead the charge but there were several other factors jostling for a say in this decision too.

There is the part of me that says ” What, you’re thinking of bailing?! But we haven’t been anywhere in ages! And it’s Michael, you love hanging out with Michael!” This part had a crystal clear vision of walking around enjoying the twinkle lights of Montreal, climbing the snow draped Mont Royal, warming up with games, laughter and delectable goodies. So tantalizing.

But my social responsibilities are there too. I have had a lingering sore throat and sniffles. Yes the COVID test came back negative but that had been a good week ago. As we all know, a lot can change, unknowingly, in a week.

Then I heard another part of me whisper “You know, you could use these three days to catch up from all your spinning. Just think about how much we could get done! Or even better… we can use this time to research and finally figure out the structure for what and how we’re going to offer our stuff next year. That would be so awesome, let’s do that! If we do that we could move on all these actions we have had on hold: set up the landing pages, write up the newsletter, create and schedule social media messages … and … and … and!”

Yikes, that part is so intense. I’m feeling overwhelmed and drained just writing that out. Did you notice the ‘we’? I suppose it’s implying numbers and therefore weight for its perspective. When it comes to “work”, that part can sure be relentless, and wily.

paper and masking tape sculptures Then I paused to see if any other parts or sensations wanted to be heard. It took a bit of time but after awhile I could feel something that appeared to be craving more time … in solitude ironically. (I have had so much alone time over the past two years, so this makes me quite curious.) It was looking longingly at the stack of tantalizing books that have barely been touched. It eyed my guitar and ukulele, the neglected yoga mat, the craft supplies tucked behind the chair. It even conjured up images of a first cross country ski or snowshoe. More snow is promised so that sure appeals.

As I listened to and acknowledged this part of me I could feel my body sigh and my shoulders relax a notch in response. Ah, solitude for the things I tend to do alone, that is when I’m not obsessed with work things or over socializing. Intentional, creative, solitude; rejuvenation, that’s what this part was asking for.

As I sat with each part, hearing and feeling their needs for me, this last one felt the most true, the most aligned, for me at this time and in this context.

With that acknowledgment I decided to stay home with the intention of creating a “retreat like self-care zone”. This means the focus was on slowing down, reading, creative play, movement and singing. (As I wrote that, I realized that I haven’t been able to sing for weeks because of the sore throat. No wonder this is what I was craving.)

Though the part of me that was excited to be going to Montreal with my friend is a bit sad, it also knows that he understands. We both agreed that, as bubble partners, there will be future opportunities to get together. Possibly even next weekend.

tiny snow heart

If you are wrestling with a decision, maybe give this process a try for yourself. I encourage you to notice what gives you a sign that a Pause and Body Check-in might be in order? For me that need is usually signaled by feeling stuck or like I’m spinning my wheels … or both! (Foot on the gas and the brakes at the same time. So easy to stall out! ) What are your signals? (Eating habits, not sleeping, irritability, spacey?)

Once you do ‘heed the pause’, let the different parts of you say what they are feeling and needing. Listen. Lean in. Be patient. Feel what you feel. Acknowledge it all. Let your body guide your response, not your mind.

“We make the path by walking it.” What path, what practice, are you making these days? Is it one that allows you to live your life more aligned with what makes your heart sing, with your values, with your dreams as well as with whatever circumstances arise?

As for my own path, I’m quite excited and thankful for the warm response to the ‘self-care practice’ courses I ran in the fall…where we got more acquainted with ‘parts’ of ourselves and had some creative fun too. Sign up for my newsletter if you’re curious as to what will be on offer in 2022. For anyone already signed up…you might want to check that I have your current address. It has been awhile since I was active with my blog as well as my newsletter. But that’s changing!

As we play out the last days of this wild ride that was 2021, I wish you moments of kind and compassionate connection with yourself as well as with the people you care about (virtual and otherwise) .

With an open heart and ear,