Thoughts on Social Media and Running a Business

I’m back! And only one month since my last post on this blog. Feels not-too-shabby ;-). How has everyone been?!

Social media and social media tools are such funny things. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I use these tools in my business and the rest of my life a lot lately. Honestly, it can be difficult balancing it and not getting sucked into 101 different social media channels. And then, those channels come up with ingenious new ways to hook you! (I’m looking at you right now, Instagram.)

 this is what my home life looks like most days when I sit down to write 

this is what my home life looks like most days when I sit down to write 

I’m going to stop for a moment, before this starts to sound like a totally anti-social media blog post, which it’s not. I’m grateful to social media and the many doors it’s opened for me: from meeting fellow creatives, to gaining new wholesale accounts, to finding out about new and exciting arts and crafts festivals to sell at. It’s a fantastic resource, one that I want in my life.

Here comes the BUT. But, after I took two unintentional breaks from social media this year (for four days while I went to the Women’s Herbal Symposium and for 6 whole days while I was vending at the Kate Wolf Music Festival), I could clearly see how the less I engage with social media the less anxious I feel and the less I find myself falling into the sticky and icky comparison trap game. 

 a nearly full moon at the Women's Herbal Symposium

a nearly full moon at the Women's Herbal Symposium

Sometimes it can feel to me like there’s no middle ground with social media. Like it’s either abandon ship and go back to snail mail (j/k) or I’m all in, losing vast swaths of time everyday to mindlessly perusing beautiful IG feeds and the like. In light of my two “digital detoxes” and the light it shed on my social media use, I had to get really honest with myself about how I use it and how I want to use it. . . 

For now that’s going to look like this: Getting back to blogging, but mostly in this very organic, very journal-y type way, and continuing to share my day in pictures and stories on Instagram. I want to be intentional with my FB engagement, but for now I don’t think I’ll be producing any original content for that platform. And regarding my ideas about starting a You-Tube channel, as I had announced via IG stories a while back, I’m putting that on hold for now while I consider what that would look like and how I would fold that into my life in a way that feels good to me. In the meantime I’ll continue to post the occasional tutorial or “how-to” mini-segment in my IG stories. . . and maybe give IGTV a try. . . 

Well! I honestly didn’t realize I could write that much about my social media use. I think it’s tricky for all of us, even those of us who don’t need to engage with it for work and can more or less choose to simply set all social media use aside without any work-related anxieties. ’Tis the times we’re living in. If any of you feel called to leave your own thoughts/comments about your social media use and how you manage it all I’d love to hear them. Leave them in the comments below =). 

 some OOAk River Rock earrings I made for the Kate Wolf Music Festival - these sold at the event, but I plan to make some more similar ones in the future

some OOAk River Rock earrings I made for the Kate Wolf Music Festival - these sold at the event, but I plan to make some more similar ones in the future

In the meantime I’ve got a mostly no-work weekend coming up! Woo-hoo. I’ll be headed to the San Mateo Gem Show to buy stones (yes, work related, but I LOVE it so much I can’t even call it work, or maybe I’m just that lucky to call it work?!). I’ll be headed over to the 40th street block party in Oakland after that. And then, who knows? Maybe I’ll check Renegade out on Sunday, maybe I’ll just have a lazy day at home with the cats on Sunday. What are your weekend plans?

My Antidote to Finding the Stress in the Everyday

Last year I started a little feature in my newsletter (and sometimes shared here on the blog) called “The Tangleweeds Tool Kit.” This tool kit was full of suggestions for finding the beauty in the everyday. I’ve loved putting these tool-kits together and plan to continue with them this year (come late February/early March you’ll see them back in your in-box.) As I consider the different things I’d like to include in the 2018 tool-kits, I realized I wanted to share my reasoning behind my message with Tangleweeds: the message of “finding the beauty in the everyday.” While I hope that my jewelry embodies this idea - with pieces that easily fold into your everyday lives - I wanted to more directly address where this message sprang from in my life and business. 

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I think my back story is one many of you can relate to: I’m really f*$#ing good at finding the stress in the everyday. Some days I’m better at it than others. Over the years, as I grew Tangleweeds from a hobby without a name or much focus and eventually into the sustainable business it is today, I only grew more adept at finding the stress in the everyday. 

I would wake up most mornings and instantly my brain would start churning on all of the things I needed to do that day. “Ugh, there’s still that pile of dishes in the sink, and I need to write that blog post, and shoot, I forgot to get back to 100,109,560 emails yesterday, and oh-my-god Christmas is only 6 months away and I haven’t EVEN STARTED prepping for the holiday season!!!” Basically I’d wind myself into this tight ball of stress over things that weren’t even real, or certainly weren’t worth the added stress.  

Even more significant was that many of the “to-do’s” were things I was very excited to get to. But I would over-think and over-stress myself so much that it would take much of the joy out of the things I wanted to do (designing new pieces), let alone the things that were pure drudgery (book-keeping). 

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Somewhere along the line, around the second or third year of running my business full time, I simply started to realize that I was making myself miserable. That, yes, there were many things about running Tangleweeds that were stressful, but that ultimately I was making the situation that much worse with my constant worry and need for control at all times. And, of course, you can bet if I was being like this with Tangleweeds I was also being like this with most other areas of my life. 

Slowly I learned to stop worrying so much, and to cede control when it was possible, and to not shoot for perfection all of the time. All of these things are easy for my conscious mind to understand, but not as easy for my unconscious to unwrap. Many of the tools I use are similar to the tools you will hear many experts praise: I make time to slow down, I meditate, I schedule off-days from work. And maybe, most importantly, I schedule down time within my work day. Just yesterday I was listing to a show on NPR and there was this time management expert on. (I’m not 100% clear what his area of expertise was but he said something that really stuck with me.) He said that (paraphrasing here) basically it’s not the amateurs in life who take breaks or step away form work when they’re tired, but it’s actually the seasoned experts who do this. That to acknowledge the need for rest is actually an incredibly mature thing to do and that the idea of just “powering through” is the amateur’s way. I heard this and honestly gave a sigh of relief. I think the more that the mainstream can soak up this message the more it will begin to be accepted in all areas of life. 

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Hand-in-hand with allowing myself to slow down, came the ability to appreciate the small things more. I wish I could point to a moment when all of this just became easier, but as I described above, it’s all been a slow process, one that is still unfolding. Finding the beauty in the everyday became my own personal mantra and naturally became the underlying message I wanted Tangleweeds to embody. Whether it’s a pile of un-raked leaves in the fall (a personal favorite), or the smell of damp cat fur when one of my feline babies have just come in from the rain, there are too many small moments of beauty everyday to count. 

I’m looking forward to continuing my adventures in slowing-down and appreciating the everyday, and most of all I am excited to share them with all of you this year!

warmly,
Jeannine

Changes Ahead in 2018

Oh, the new year! For me it’s always a similar feeling: I’m jazzed up about the momentum I feel to make new changes happen, but I’m also intimidated and daunted, afraid that I’m going to let myself down. I usually have to temper that second part or I’ll stress myself out so much I manage to make nothing new happen.

Can you relate?

 Wearing some of my favorite Tangleweeds pieces. 

Wearing some of my favorite Tangleweeds pieces. 

I’ve realized over the years that part of making the new happen means letting go of the old. This isn’t always easy - many times the old masquerades as SUPER important. Mainly because it’s what I know and am familiar with. Oftentimes, sorting out the old that I want to hang on to and the old I want to release involves list making. Almost every time, when I make the first list, there is literally nothing I can see as non-essential, or ready to be released. It usually takes coming back to that list a few times over a few days or even weeks for me to finally begin to see the openings - the old things that can be let go of to create openings for the new. 

All of that is my way of saying, this year I’ll be discontinuing quite a few of my designs. I’m still culling that list, sorting through what I think I need to hang on to and what I really want to hang on to. 

 Stepping into the new year in my brand new boots.

Stepping into the new year in my brand new boots.

You guys, my valued Tangleweeds collectors, mean a lot to me and through all of this I’ve had you guys on my mind. With that said, I plan to offer a sale along with an announcement in the coming weeks with the specific date at which you will no longer be able to buy these designs. 

I’m also offering the sale because come February, I will be raising my prices across the board. It won’t be a dramatic price increase, but it will be noticeable. I strive to and make it a top priority to keep my prices as low as possible. I haven’t raised my prices in a while, so the time has come to adjust them to better reflect the current costs of running Tangleweeds. 

 A Tangleweeds classic - the By Chance necklace

A Tangleweeds classic - the By Chance necklace

I am extremely excited by what this next year holds for me and Tangleweeds. I feel like some things are becoming more defined in my mind, that my vision for what I want Tangleweeds to look like and feel like has never been more clear to me. That also means that as I usher out some of the old, there will be much new to welcome into those openings. These new things will include offering creative classes, a recycled sterling silver collection, lots of great newsletters and blog posts full of stuff that, I hope, will help you all find the beauty in the everyday a little bit more easily. I also hope to explore my jewelry design process some more and am excited to see that comes out of this endeavor. We’ll see where this all takes me and I hope you’ll share the journey with me!

 At the annual retreat for the Creative Pursuit Collective - a small women's creative business incubator that I helped found almost three years ago. 

At the annual retreat for the Creative Pursuit Collective - a small women's creative business incubator that I helped found almost three years ago. 

For now there are no specific dates. I will announce all of the specifics via my newsletter first, so if you haven’t signed up, now is a great time to do just that (click here to be directed to sign up for my newsletter)! Roughly though, any designs being discontinued will be pulled from both web-stores (Etsy and my shop) by the end of February. 

In the meantime, I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Trying to build on what’s already there to realize the dreams I have. That’s all any of us can do, right? It makes me think of the motivational quote that goes through my head often, when I’m feeling over-whelmed: “Starts where you are.” I love the simplicity of the statement, but also the raw verve it suggests. It challenges you to simply start, to acknowledge that nothing ever happens without first starting something. Coupled with the “where you are” comes the acceptance that we all have restrictors on our time and energy, and that to set our own pace and carve our own path at our own rates is what will give us the deepest satisfaction in life.

Thanks for joining me in this path so far! Here’s to a wonderful 2018!

warmly,
Jeannine

Everything is Connected

Good morning! I'm excited today to announce the publication of an article I wrote about my creative journey and the creation of Tangleweeds. It's called Everything is Connected and you can find it in the spring issue of Jewelry Affaire magazine, available on newsstands tomorrow (April 1st)! You can find Jewelry Affaire at most major book retailers. Read on for how I'd like to celebrate this moment with all of you.

April is full of so many celebratory things in my life - the first day of spring, my birthday on the 11th, and now this article being published. I want to share all of this great energy with you guys by offering 25% off all web orders through April 15th*. Simply use the coupon code connected and you'll receive your savings. This is a great chance to snag one of the newest designs at great prices! I'll also be offering a celebratory giveaway. . . 

(*all web orders placed March 31st through April 9th will ship the week of April 10th. I am out of town on a short trip with my family in early April, but still wanted to celebrate this moment with all of you!)

The Giveaway
Along with the Everything is Connected Sale* that I'm offering, I'll also be giving away one free copy of the Jewelry Affaire magazine along with a pair of Swoops earrings (one of the designs featured in the article, and pictured below) to one lucky person. To enter the contest simply leave a comment on this blog post. Say hi, or tell me a story about a time when the dots were connected in your own life. I leave the commenting up to you!

(*all web orders placed March 31st through April 9th will ship the week of April 10th. I am out of town on a short trip with my family in early April, but still wanted to celebrate this moment with all of you!)

Sitting down to write this article for the Jewelry Affaire magazine ended up being quite the gift to myself. So often I find that I don't take the time to slow down and reflect on the progress I've made with Tangleweeds. Writing this article allowed me that space and time. I think it's an article that you will enjoy even if you don't make jewelry yourself!

The winner of this giveaway will be announced April 16th, both here and on my Instagram account. Also, the magazine and earrings will ship by the beginning of May. Good luck!

Creative Tenacity: Doubt and Her Cousins

Excerpted from Rosanne Cash’s memoir, Composed:

T-Bone Burnet, an old friend, once told Joe Henry, “Don’t stop working, just stop worrying,” advice that Joe passed on to me [Rosanne Cash] that has since become my silent mantra. Now, even when I do worry, I keep working. Work, I remind myself, is redemption.

Let’s talk about doubt - about self-doubt for a moment. 

The truth. I can be terrible about following my own advice: the advice that it’s pretty much no good to anyone to compare yourself and your work and your accomplishments to the creatives around you. 

You see, I am continually inspired and pushed to do more by looking around and seeing the amazing things coming out of the amazing women in this creative world around me here in the SF bay area. And most of the time it gets me revved up and feeling super lucky to say “hey, I know that woman!!” 

But, sometimes it can make me feel like I’m not doing enough. Leaves me wondering when my big break is going to come. Or when it’s all just going to get easier.

The other day I was listening to this bio series about Oprah on KQED. And it was riveting. To hear her talk about her team’s strategy as they worked on maneuvering Oprah from being a sensationalist talk show to one that was about how to live your best life. “You have to keep your eye on what you’re doing. You have to wear blinders. Don’t look at other folks’ ratings. Don’t look at what others are doing and think “I need to do that.” You have to stay in your lane and keep looking ahead, because it’s when you start staring at the other folks, in their lanes that you start to slow down.” (that’s a rough quote of what Oprah said.)

I heard that and I was like “uh, huh! Yes!” So many good ways this can apply to creative entrepreneurs. 

I have my own take on this advice, of course, one that’s a little more inclusive and more involved with the people around me, but I definitely took that advice to heart.

Part of that stew is the fact that I am a woman, and in so many ways programmed to look towards others for advice and validation, to look towards others for the “okay, yes, keep doing what you’re doing” high sign. That way of making decisions can be self-sabotaging though. As you run your handmade business you’re going to need to develop the strength to make many decisions on your own. That will only be harder if you need your decisions validated by others. It may even keep you from making decisions that you need to make, and possibly that you need to make quickly.  

Doubt, self doubt, second guessing yourself, not feeling confident, low self-esteem about the way your business is going, these will all be things you’ll deal with if you decide to turn selling your handmade work into a business. You will not be without these things. And while too much of these feelings will drag you down and keep you form doing the work that needs to be done, an occasional dose of doubt and it’s cousins will help you to keep trying new things and pushing forward with your work. 

You can’t outrun the doubt. It will be there. Even if you manage to grow your business into something that is successful by anyone’s definition of success, the doubt will always come eventually.  

There’s a Rumi quote that I especially like, that I feel is relevant to many of the harder things in life. I think it’s relevant to dealing with your “doubt demons” too:

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

Basically it’s the difficult stuff in life that’s in someways a gateway or a path to the more transcendent things we reach for and grow towards. I think when I was younger I thought that the point of living “successfully” (whatever the fuck that means!) was that eventually I would wake up everyday fully confident in everything I was doing, that there would be no second-guessing myself, there would be no DOUBTS. I also thought that eventually I would only create work I was 100% happy with and learn to always say exactly what was on my mind in a perfectly clear way that the person I was speaking to would understand. I had a lot of learning to do.

Doubt will be your bedfellow if you venture into this creative business world. She will tag team you at craft fairs, she will sit on your shoulder when you’re creating new designs, and she will sometimes keep you from doing some really stupid things. But if you let her take the reigns too much she will keep you from ever doing the work you truly want to do.

I think self-doubt and believing this story that doubt is telling us (Because it is a story, anyone who has become really good at telling themselves that their work rocks and they are awesome is also telling themselves a story. This is neither good nor bad, simply helpful to remember so we don’t put too much stock in these narratives.) goes hand-in-hand with the rabbit hole that many people fall down into. The wanting to wait until it’s all perfect rabbit hole. This also sometimes sounds like I just want to wait until I’m ready. Ready to launch a new product, or take a business course, or simply to try to start selling one’s work. 

The key to reaching for your dreams is to get comfortable with taking steps towards those dreams even when you don’t feel ready. 

Now, that is going to look different for everyone. Everyone is going to have a different threshold for the amount of uncertainty and unpredictability that they can handle. Some of us thrive on it, others need to parcel it out so as to not go into complete overwhelm. As a personal example: I was (relatively) comfortable with quitting my day job well before my business was making much money. It was profitable, but barely. I had reached a tipping point where I felt like working another job was taking too much time away from my biz. I accepted that money would be tight and that things would be a bit uncomfortable for a while. But I was more willing to accept that than say, continuing to work at the day job while working on my job into the wee hours and losing sleep. We all compromise where and when we can. And you will learn to too. 

I wrote this slightly rambling Creative Tenacity post about doubt because when I reached out to my fellow makers, creative business cohorts and my blog readers, this was resoundingly the topic most of your were interested in. I hope that it helps some of you through what may be a dark period or moment of questioning what you are doing. When you get to that place, just remember that it is not necessarily a sign that you are doing anything wrong and that even the most successful amongst us struggles with doubt regularly! I would say even daily. 

I’m going to leave you readers with these points, in summation of this slightly stream-of-consciousness post about doubt

Get used to feeling a bit uncomfortable, or outside of your comfort zone.

Develop a healthy habit of pursuing things and starting things before you feel 100% ready. Doing the thing or starting the thing will make you ready.

Learn to sit side by side with doubt and her cousins. Accept that doubt will never go away. You will simply learn to live with it. 

Lastly, I wanted to include a short list of resources that I find to be helpful when my doubt demons start to get too loud, or I’m in need of a personal pep-talk of sorts -

Stephanie St Claire

Marie Forleo

Tara Mohr

I also find that talking to a fellow creative when you’re feeling especially low or full of doubt can sometime be the best balm of all. 

Keep pushing and keep making your beautiful work everyone!

Full Circle ~ Self Care and Creative Windows

Getting back into the swing of things this week. Working on my next collection for spring and summer. Trying to focus more on self care. I often struggle with that last one. I'm so driven to work hard and create with Tangleweeds that sometimes it feels easier to, well, just do things the easy way, which for me tends to lead to long work hours and not a lot of time for taking care of myself. But I promised myself I'd truly make an effort to take better care of myself this year. I'm starting small: daily meditation (even if it's just in the car during my drives from Vallejo to Oakland and back), flossing (and making an appointment for a teeth cleaning), and stretching - all daily. 

Above, assorted photos from the Seattle tradeshow and work in progress. Also, I got a rolling mill last week and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's seriously helping to streamline a huge chunk of my production along with opening up some new creative doors. I'll post more about the mill once I really get crankin' with it!

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Below: Some pieces that shipped out to one of my new stockists in Seattle.

worktable explosion as I work on my next collection

Ahh, Thursday. My favorite day of the week. Seriously, for the longest time it's been my favorite. Two of my favorite radio shows are on on Thursdays (one about herbalism and one about astrology and activism), and in general there's just something in the air that makes me love this particular day of the week. Today I'm working from home, but I'm also going to take some time out to go see a movie all by myself, one of my absolute favorite things to do! I think I'm going to go see La La Land.

Enjoy your Thursday everyone!

P.S. Next Tuesday my first Creative Tenacity post will go up here. I'm touching on some of the most salient advice I was offered when I was first starting out, and why it took me a while to realize I needed to take the advice offered. I hope you'll join me here for a good read.

Changes Ahead for Tangleweeds

This year has been full of shake ups for me, and by extension, for Tangleweeds. There have been the obvious changes, like moving and the always evolving process and journey around getting older, but there have been more subtle shifts for me as well. About a year and a half ago (I think) I started up a small handmade business support group along with another talented lady (Kyla of Impressed By Nature.) This group has been such a morale boost for me, as well as a kick in the pants in realizing my goals. In part because of this group, I'm committing myself to making some big changes within Tangleweeds in the next year. 

sawing bird shape at workbench 2010

One of the first steps on this leg of the Tangleweeds journey is going to be to commit myself/Tangleweeds to less in-person selling events, be they craft fairs, art and wine strolls, First Friday in Oakland, or other trunk shows and pop-up events. I need to free up my time more to allow the better development of the online and wholesale sides of my business, which have suffered under the heavy and constant demands of events nearly every weekend from April to December for the last fours years. 

I still plan to do events, I'm simply going to be choosier about how I decide which events to do. One to two events (maybe three if it's around the holidays or another really busy time) per month will be my max. This will mean mostly good things for you Tangleweeds collectors out there. I plan to start releasing more limited edition and one-of-a-kind (OOAK) pieces, and I plan to release new work online on a much more regular basis. 

trays of turquoise and brass beads

As Tangleweeds has evolved over the years I feel like I've gotten a bit off track from what my original vision was for my business. I still am incredibly proud of everything I've put out to date and absolutely stand behind my designs and work. As I begin to pivot with Tangleweeds though, I will be discontinuing many of my current designs to make room for the new work to come. This will be a slowish process, so don't panic if there's a classic Tangleweeds piece that you've had your eye on for months (or years!) that you want to grab while you can. You'll still have plenty of time for that! 

Editing down my classics (or the "core" Tangleweeds pieces) will allow me to more readily release new, more limited collections on a regular basis. This part I am quite excited about, as you can imagine, and is a big part of how I hope to steer things in the coming year and on. 

tray of turquoise and glass beads

Tomorrow I will launch a big sale in my Etsy shop for those of you looking to pick up one of my older designs. I will have a new section in my shop titled "oldies but goodies." This is the section you'll want to check for the designs that will be discontinued the soonest. I can't say exactly how soon all of these designs will be discontinued as it will entirely depend on my stock level for each piece. Most likely I will post again, here on the blog and on other social media, as the cut date for these designs draws near. 

At the heart of things, Tangleweeds will remain the jewelry business you've come to love: great jewelry for everyday wear with an earthy/rustic quality. Pieces that are unique and hand-crafted by me and my assistant. That will never change. 

To everyone out there who has supported me and Tangleweeds on this handmade jewelry journey thus far, a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you choose to accompany me on this next part of the journey as well!

The Tangleweeds Cottage

Morning! Where to start with the story-telling? I'll start with the nuts and bolts: I moved over the holidays. Just within Oakland, from a three bedroom house that I rented with my boyfriend and his two kids (part time) to a tiny little studio cottage (pictured below.) It was probably the most stressful move of my life thus far. Moving during the holidays while running Tangleweeds was very challenging. The perfectionist in me that loves order and organization just had to be soothed and cajoled with promises of afternoons full of tidying up and decorating and organizing once the holidays fell away. 

I moved mainly because I am at a place in my life where I need my own place for a little while. My own little place to decorate as I please, to nest in as I please, to have a little space from the rest of the world. My boyfriend and I are still together, and the details of that I'll save for those closer to me. We are choosing to navigate our relationship in our own way and in our own time. I've never really done anything in the conventional way, and my relationships are included in that little statement. 

Moving within Oakland was challenging from an expense perspective. Rents have sky rocketed just in the last two years. What I could get for my money now is so much less than what I could get for my money five years ago when Jeff and I moved in together. It's sobering, and it's propelling me towards my decision to start looking at where I want to live with a more long-view. Basically I've decided to start making the plans and necessary preparations to move somewhere quieter and more affordable sometime in the next 2 to 6 years. The reason for the timeframe is tied up in a lot of business stuff, but also has a lot to do with my not quite being done with my time in Oakland just yet. 

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In the meantime I'm gonna love the heck out of this city that I've called home for the last 8 years (12 years off and on really.) There's this part of me that just wants to get on with my re-location plans. In a way, in many ways, this is a good lesson in enjoying where I am at this moment, even while knowing that everything is temporary. Because in the grand scheme of things, everything is, right? 

The pictures above are all taken at my new home (except for the table - that's at my sister's.) I really am adoring having my own space. I'll be posting more photos of home decor stuff this year as I make the time for those projects. The table above is a piece I picked up at an antique shop in Modesto with my sister. The thing had been re-painted in the ugliest shade of black-brown and then scuffed up to look "rustic." I'm sanding it down on top and then going to seal it and leave it with the natural wood finish. The legs and baseboard will be painted a matte turquoise. I promise to have some "after" shots once it's done. My sister's been a valuable resource on stuff like this. She's like a one-woman Martha Stewart encyclopedia. 

Well, that post got wordy fast! I'm not sure what my exact intention will be with the blog this year. I'm just going to let it unfold naturally and see what I'm compelled to post about. In the meantime I gotta wrap up and get ready for a little jaunt into the city to restock Wallflower on Valencia. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Full Circle ~ It's Been a While

It's been a good while since I've dropped in on this blog! Quite frankly, the month of March proved, well, challenging to say the least. Many things do seem to come in threes, and that was sort of how March went. I was juggling too many things as the month blew in, then family came to visit and the juggling went from elegant to frantic. Then, amidst it all, my computer's hard-drive decides it's time to CRASH. Lastly, right as I'm trying to get back to work, new computer hard-drive installed (along with increased memory), I get sick. And not just "oh, I've got a little cold sick" but full on fever and all the yuckies that come along with it sick. 

I spent the last week and change chilling out at home. After an initial attempt at going back to work too early, I realized I was only going to get better if I gave myself over to rest and recuperation. I read a bunch, worked on my current weaving project (but only a bit as even this proved a bit exhausting) but mainly I rested, drank buckets of tea and cuddled with the kitties. 

And I had lots of time to reflect. Leading up to getting sick, during those weeks of juggling priorities and to-do lists, I just kept finding myself thinking "I really need a break." But I just kept on keeping on, kept on waking up early everyday even when all I wanted to do was sleep in, kept on with all of my goals and to-do lists when all I wanted to do was go take in a matinee at the theater down the street from my studio. When I look at it all, it starts to make sense that I got sick. It was the only way I was going to give myself the rest I so sorely needed. 

The only takeaway I have from all of this, is a reminder that I need to always put my health and well-being first. Even when it feels like I might not meet a self-imposed deadline, or blog enough, or list those new pieces on Etsy, or whatever it might be. I feel like this is a lesson I've had to learn time and time again, and that with each turn it sinks in a bit more thoroughly. 

I'm back on the horse, so to speak today, and it feels good. I'm 98% better, and taking it slow today with lots of breaks and moments to pause and rest. Being my own boss does make that a whole heck of a lot easier! 

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(a small collection of nature-ephemera I found laid out at the Berkeley farmer's market last week ~ a little reminder to pause, breathe, and enjoy the everyday magic that's all around me)