As a general policy, I choose not to repeat things on my site that I send out to my mailing list first, with a few — usually technical — exceptions. I’m honored that people choose to allow me to hop into their inbox, and the mini-essays that I write for them are usually just for them, whether that’s a story about embarrassing myself on a CBC radio show, or about accidentally seeing Stonehenge. But I’ve decided to “repost” this past Sunday’s email, with additions, because it’s about a few things that I feel compelled to share with the broader audience.
While in England, there was a single day at the retreat planned for a day in Glastonbury. Due to my ongoing illnesses, I’d been conserving my energy throughout the retreat, which looked a lot like going to my room and lying down for hours between workshops; and so the idea of going to Glastonbury for an entire day made me nervous. I’ve lately been considering the fine line between not pushing myself hard enough and respecting my limitations; as someone who has both schizoaffective disorder and fibromyalgia, the issue of conserving energy comes up quite a bit. But I decided to go to Glastonbury. I did visit some shops. I did eat a jacket potato in a tiny café, and I did consider the signage for a local shaman.
After two or three hours, however, I felt my energy levels dropping. I knew that my fellow retreat-goers were exploring the town; this hung heavily in my mind as I dragged myself to the parking lot where we were to be meeting the bus in three hours, hoping that the bus would be there, simply waiting, and that I could implore the driver to please let me lie down until it was time to go.
But there was no such luck. There was no bus, no van, and no driver. I momentarily considered renting a room in some kind of inn, but the expense of doing such a thing for the sake of lying down seemed ridiculous. Instead, I went to a restaurant, ordered a cappuccino, and journaled for hours, hoping to let my mind and body rest without actually going to sleep. The lunch hour passed; I was the only customer in the place, fervently hoping that the waitress wouldn’t shoo me away. (They didn’t, and I left an enormous tip before finally leaving for the bus.) Was I absolutely bloody exhausted? Yes. Did I regret going? Not entirely.
What does it mean to show love for yourself? Is it the promise of a day alone, resting in a beautiful English manor, waiting for everyone else to return with bags of crystals and stories about the Abbey? Is it giving yourself the gift of pushing your limits, even if it means discomfort, having taken photographs of the Glastonbury streets?
I’m trying to figure this out for myself every day — in business and in life. Lately I’ve been rather unwell, with multiple doctors’ visits that result in half-hearted maybes (perhaps a seizure, perhaps not; perhaps Lyme disease, perhaps not), and so in my depths of feeling utterly disheartened, I’ve considered postponing parts of my business. And yet I keep thinking about the utterly inspirational interview with my friend Grace Quantock in this year’s Soul*Full Summit, in which she mentioned that every day is a day with pain and illness; and so she has chosen to go forth, which is also a certain kind of love and self-regard.
I am in a place right now where I am, over and over again, accepting that I currently live a life where I am sick more often than not. In the past, I chose to give myself extended breaks to deal with this; presently, this is not a luxury that I am choosing, because there are things that I want to do; there is a purpose to my life, and I am choosing to go for that purpose. I am tired. I am in pain. Sometimes I cry, and I don’t feel brave or strong. Learning to be this way, to accept these things, to show up, is an ongoing path. It’s my current journey.
One of the things that I’m most excited about lately is planning for the launch of my copywriting services in early 2014. As a brand story specialist who’s been copywriting for larger companies for the past three to four years, as well as being a mental health advocate, I’ve recognized that what really fires me up is to write for entrepreneurs who want to change the world as much as I do — whatever that looks like for them — and from the people I’ve been talking to lately, so much of that kind of purpose-driven business is driven by, and centered around… love.
Life coaches who work with the concept of the elusive concept of self-love.
Jewelry makers who make wearable art that says: I love myself. I deserve to be adorned. Or: someone who loves me wanted me to have this.
It’s really beautiful.
If you’re interested in jumping on my mailing list for purpose-driven entrepreneurs, head on over to sign up for the copywriting-oriented list. No commitments. Just information.
And if you’re in the San Francisco area, and are a maker and/or a seller, I’m teaching a class at the Makeshift Society on November 11th about the art of product description writing. It’s going to be really fun.