You see the picture below? That's me, lying down on a patch of grass—the kind with no ticks and no chiggers—in the shade on a warm afternoon. After living in NC for 23 years, that brief moment last month way farther north than here was heaven. It was like stepping back in time to my young-teen years, with no heavy responsibilities weighing on my mind and an infinite number of future paths ahead of me—and no hurry to choose one.
Do you remember those days? They seemed so overwhelming and angsty at the time, right? But wow, how preciously simple and hopeful were they?
In a couple of weeks, my business will be celebrating its fourth anniversary. Can you believe it?! I have enjoyed meeting so many people, both studio guests and other local business owners, throughout those four years. It's not only been a fantastic learning experience, I’ve even helped people express their own unique sparkle in over 600 custom perfume formulas. It’s been amazing!
And it’s also been hard. Like, super hard. I discovered pretty quickly that, to make a successful business, I had to do “all the things.” And you know what else I found out? It's REALLY hard to do all the things—no, impossible to do "all the things." But, gosh darn it, I tried.
(I can just hear you now: “Oof, ‘tried.’ I can see where this is going.” Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Keep reading!)
As time went on—over three years to be exact—I got burnt out from doing all the things, and more specifically, I got really stressed over the things I couldn't do (or, at least, couldn’t do well). Combine that stress with financial concerns, having to rapidly transition from being a child to instead parenting my parent, and the emotional fallout from those things and more, and, well:
It all became a bit too much.
In a wise moment I took stock of what I couldn’t control and what I could and decided to reduce what I didn’t have to be responsible for (some volunteer work) and free up a considerable amount of money (by selling my house). Once I (slowly) rose above the potentially irrational feeling of failure, I took a deep breath of calm for the first time in a LOOOONG time. And I eventually came to see that in saying no to some things and yes to myself, I gained freedom: freedom to take my time, to explore options, to try out new things without having to make a profit on them, and most important, to just...create.
I’d known my creativity was barely a spark by this point, but what I hadn't realized was just how much my creativity had gone into hiding from the stress, from the constant worry, from feeling like I had to do “all the things.”
Once I gained that freedom, it was like my brain came alive. Actually, it was more like my brain finally took a little break and let my heart come alive, then came hope, then thoughts of a future with more than one path.
There's an adjective I heard recently that describes who I was as a child and who I’m opening myself again to be now: multi-passionate. (They used to call this being a “Renaissance [wo]man," but my version comes without the bucolic landscapes and courtly benefactors paying me to let my imagination run wild.) Compare that to this time last year, when I wasn't even passionate about just one thing—including perfume—let alone many. My head, my brain, my heart, my to-do list, had me so bogged down that I was doing the minimum to get from day to day in all facets of my life.
It’s like all my creativity was bottled way down inside, capped and fermenting, until a big dose of freedom popped the cork and ideas started spilling out uncontrollably in intoxicating, fizzy bubbles.
So what does multi-passionate look like? For me, it means opening my heart, listening to what it has to say, paying attention when it notices something and finds it interesting. Multi-passionate also means I'm doing a heck of a lot of different things this year—things I might not have considered a year ago, 2 years ago, even 20 years ago. And I'm really looking forward to sharing a couple of them with you soon.
I hope you want to come on that journey with me.
I'm beginning to realize that, even though the mindfulness I work to embody daily tells me to accept what is, including myself, I also need to accept that that person will continue to change and evolve and surprise even herself. I’m still going to envision different futures, seek new outcomes, and achieve things I haven’t even dreamed of yet. Accepting who I am doesn't mean I want to stay the same. But accepting myself does mean celebrating who I am and where I am in every moment—no matter what stage of my own personal evolution that is.
And you know what?
You deserve to accept and celebrate yourself, too.
So, tell me: what do you want your life to be? What do you want your heart to open up to? What dreams are you ready to start walking toward, even running toward, rather than denying anymore?
Most important, how are you going to celebrate the you of today and grow toward the you of tomorrow?
(Add your answers below so we can all celebrate our now together and gently push each other toward the us we want to be tomorrow.)