Gaining a fresh perspective - Embracing me...my blogging break and dealing with change
Don't you just love flowers that bring a brightness into your home? Seeing pretty blooms in my home gives me a spring in my step. Whether it's seeing one of my orchids flowering, a bright bunch of tulips, a hot pink gerbera or a bunch of pale vintage pink peonies standing tall in a vase...my spirits rise...and I smile.
Flowers were one of the first subjects that got me truly interested in taking photos, moving me from taking snapshots of people around me, to taking photos of objects and capturing the details. When I take photos I experience a creative high and feel a real flow...A few weeks ago I decided to treat myself to a beautiful bunch of tulips to brighten my desk in my craft studio. A couple of days later the tulips began opening and I took some photos. Within seconds a wave of positive energy hit me. Taking that photo pushed a certain button in me to get kick started and be inspired again...
Why am I telling you this?
As you may have seen I've taken a bit of a blogging break. Life for me is normally full of really positive and happy times but recently we have been hit by a whirlwind, well what feels like a tornado really, of numerous things happening in succession that has taken its toll. I want to tell you what happened and how I've tried to navigate my way through. Grab a cup of tea and I'll tell you a bit more... Over the past 7 months or so I have learnt just how truly important the day to day is and how, in an instant, things can change through life changing events, illness and loss...Before Christmas I lost my one and only grandparent I've ever known, it was an emotional few weeks of illness upon illness, culminating in her passing away...Over the past few months we've been trying to deal with, and be there, for a special couple close to us who recently lost their beautiful new arrival, a tragic and devastating loss at only a few days old...Terminal illness has gradually been taking hold of a very special little girl in our lives. Each time we see her we shower her in love, comfort and warmth but we know that there is nothing that will heal her, it is heartbreaking...Our family, and friend's families, have had to deal with serious illness engulfing their lives, bringing about huge change...the past few months have been really tough.
I've personally been dealing with a big change in my life, nothing as serious as illness, but something that took a real toll on me emotionally and rocked me to my core. I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions of shock, anger and sadness when my fantastic job and working environment suddenly became unstable and my normal working week became engulfed in change. At the end of March and start of April, I went through a short, but highly emotional, redundancy process with my team at work. Our jobs were made redundant and we all had to consider the move into a new role that was created, replacing the four roles in our team by one new role. The process lasted a week and a half, and even though it sounds a short period of time, it felt so much longer. Many decisions had to be worked through and feelings had to be processed...I even started rethinking my career direction and considered a whole set of changes I could take...
I've been hugely lucky to have been moved into that role, however with any major change it has come with mixed feelings. I've gone through feelings of elation of still being employed, then the feelings of concern and wondering how I will cope dealing with the change of an even busier and varied job. I take real pride in my job and by combining four jobs into one, I knew my standard of delivery was going to have to alter. I've been working through the feelings of deep sadness as my close colleagues have been made redundant and have left, or are soon to be leaving. These people were part of a great team that I spent 7 hours a day, 5 days a week with and so having to let go of the norm has been hard. I know deep down that it's the end of an fabulous working era in my life and a time of real marked change.
Daily life, as we know it, can change in an instant. There are some things you can control and others you can't, and I've had to embrace that. One by one I've been saying goodbye and embracing the change. Change can sometimes be good...I know that it's time to embrace the change, and start a new chapter...
So how have I navigated through the past few months?
At first I didn't. I was overcome with all the emotions you would expect however I let myself work through my feelings, process my thoughts and tried to not block them out. I allowed myself to really feel my feelings...and they helped guide me. It felt like everything was all happening at once, I couldn't see a way through and it knocked me off my path. It stalled me from moving forwards and froze my creativity. I lost focus and for some reason my confidence took a nose dive. I have experienced the full force how certain events in life can knock me off my creative perch, but what I've come away with is learning how to really fight, to climb back up and start again. For the past few months I've been fighting and climbing back slowly, gaining pace, gaining confidence, and gaining my focus once more.
For me I used my word 'embrace' to help me work my way through everything going on. What a year to choose this word, I'm so grateful that this word jumped out at me from that list! I've tried to embrace the changes going on and be even more grateful for the opportunities I have in life. I decided to embrace how I was feeling inside and not put too much pressure on myself to sit and create, or get through my to-do list. I decided to disconnect for a while, I took a break from things, I didn't read blogs, my magazines piled up and I didn't make anything. I allowed myself to take time for me to process things and reflect. I was embracing the space...
After some time I wanted get back to doing something, so during my blogging break I've ploughed my energy and thinking time into learning, reflecting and trying to develop...all things I love to do. I signed up for two e-courses, Do What You Love and another refreshed version of Blogging Your Way. The timing of these courses couldn't have been better, I took the plunge and I went on an immediate gut reaction, and I decided to invest in me, allowing myself to have something fresh to focus on.
As well as taking the courses, I decided to get out into the fresh air and spend time gardening and watching things grow. Gardening is real therapy for me and has been for a number of years now...while I was thinking about a career change I considered the option of ditching my day job and becoming a gardener...maybe one day! I thought perhaps this was a little too drastic, so instead I took that raw passion and love of growing things to get our courtyard space feeling great again.
By doing things I really love and taking time to think and plan, I've managed to gain a fresh perspective on things, have gained more mental strength, and feel ready to go forwards and really embrace new beginnings.
I've learnt to ensure I fill my life with things I love to do, to see the people I want to see and that bring me joy, lift me up and support me. I learnt to never forget about my roots...they have helped me get back on my path.
So...back to that photo of the tulips, where does this fit in?
For me, the simple act of picking up my camera that day, taking a photo I was proud of, and sharing that photo with others, gave me a much needed creative boost to lift me from out of the creative doldrums I found myself in...I love the photo of these tulips, for me this photo symbolises a time in my life when one moment changed everything...By taking the photo I started feeling real focus and felt ready to start embracing a new phase, embracing life, opening up and moving forwards...and most importantly it made me smile.
So if you are feeling stuck, go and start something now that you love.
...Perhaps it's cooking, you may have a cookery book that has been sitting around and you haven't had time to make anything out of it yet. You must have bought it for a reason, so take some time out, read it, get inspired, and cook that new dish you've been wanting to do.
...Perhaps, like me it's photography, you should get out your camera, whether it's the camera on your phone or that special DSLR you have, hold it in your hands and take some time out to take a photo you are proud of. Get the photo printed and put it somewhere you can see it everyday or share it on social media.
...Never forget how the simple things that you love can make you smile, and how they can give you the energy you need to reinvigorate yourself and inspire you to take that next step.
For me I've spent the past few months making plans and gaining a fresh perspective on the day to day. I want to make a step forward in a new phase of my life, so I'm taking the time to embrace the challenges, embrace change and most importantly I'm embracing me...
As the saying goes...onwards...onwards with new adventures, onwards with embracing change, and onwards with creating and living the life you want to live. I'm doing it, so join me as I navigate my way through the next part of my creative journey...