I have a few “Oops, I did it again” patterns that play out repeatedly in my life. One of them is dreaming big, overcommitting, and finding myself greedily trying to squeeze two or three lives into the space of this one lifetime I’ve been given.
Luckily, I’m starting to learn to read my own personal “stop signs” when they present themselves.
Most recently, I decided to build a creative co-working community online. It was a sexy dream and I still want to do it. But while I was throwing hours into planning and trying to exceed my own technical capacities, I had forgotten something.
This isn’t creativity. This is admin. This is stress.
I’ll admit that I missed the first few Stop Signs. When the quote for the website build was beyond my budget. When I had a little relapse of chronic illness. When I couldn’t seem to concentrate on writing the copy.
But last week, when the technicals flat-out wouldn’t work, and a supposedly simple tweak had stumped not just me but three knowledgeable colleagues and a software help desk, I finally looked up and saw the sign.
STOP, Ro, for the love of all that is holy. STOP.
Meanwhile, my most important creative project ever is in the midst of potty training, is about to start preschool, is needing a lot of love and attention while she deals with some big transitions.
So I turned away from stress and towards home. As I did so, I felt the tug that comes with the season’s turning—my expansive summer mood is starting to tilt towards the more inward months ahead.
I’m feeling the urge to cook a big pot of something hearty and nourishing. I want to be present with Lila in moments like this one, which just happened: she came running (pantsless) across the patio to tell me about a spider she’d found. “There it is!” She pointed with her pudgy little finger at a daddy long legs on the wall of the house and I’m floored by the moment’s straightforward perfection.
“There it is!”
Folks, it was there all along. I just wasn’t watching for it as I blew through stop sign after stop sign. And what’s daring in springtime starts to look downright dangerous as fall approaches. I can’t afford to keep missing these moments. Got to slow down, come to a complete stop. Got to look carefully around me before I hit the accelerator again.
The long and short of all this is that I won’t be offering the Creativity Collective this year. I do intend to create it at some future point, because I know that it’s going to be a total blast and I’m going to love sharing space/time/energy with y’all. But I’m going to wait and watch for green lights.
Thanks for bearing with me last week when you didn’t get a letter. I’m back now!
I want to hear about the stop signs you’ve experienced in your life. How do they show up for you? Are you getting better at spotting them?