Process of Illumination

Spread Your Arms and ALWAYS Trust Your Cape!

This week, there are a bunch of things on my mind.

At the moment, because I have just sat down to write, the thing I thought about first is the idea of starting to write a different kind of article, in a different kind of format. I have a friend who is helping me with my marketing and social media strategy and he suggested experimenting with a new format, in addition to writing my blog. At first, I felt a little vulnerable about it because I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach it. I noticed that I was bumping up against a limiting belief about needing to know the “rules” of the new format so I could get it “right”.  Within a week of that idea being presented to me, I was approached by an online magazine to be a regular contributor. That made me think that this idea my friend had was meant to be, so I agreed to pursue it. They sent me an outline of what they are looking for in terms of articles, which alleviated my concern somewhat, until I saw that the articles should be anywhere from 300-600 words.


How is that possible?

This paragraph alone is almost 200 words.

Then, there’s my concern about maintaining StudioBe’s “SuperHost” status on AirBnB because I recently got my first, really bad review. It was a situation where the guest didn’t read the listing details carefully (or at all) and so he was surprised that a) he had only rented a private room of a house for $59 a night instead of an entire house and b) that StudioBe is not a private home but a guesthouse and professional office space. The third thing he complained about was that he “could not find parking” when he was told we have a private driveway right in front of the house. Lastly, he said that he tried to call me when he arrived (to ask about the parking, I imagine) and I didn’t answer. I received no call, no text and no email from him that night. In fact, I emailed him asking if he had arrived yet because I had not heard from him. He did not respond to me until he checked out (5 days prematurely) the next morning. The frustrating this for me is that I have gone to great lengths to ensure the StudioBe listing is explicit in terms of what the guests can expect when they arrive. I follow up every reservation with a personal email telling them they must read their AirBnB confirmation email carefully because there is “a lot of important information contained within it regarding their stay” and still I get people arriving not knowing their keycode or which door to use or which room they’re in or where to park, etc… Mostly, I don’t mind it because I understand that travelling is stressful and there is a lot to remember so it’s not unreasonable to expect I might have to re-iterate a few things from time to time. But this guy didn’t even bother to read the listing, not did he give me an opportunity to remedy the situation.

So… he left a bad review…

…which felt like a punch in the gut.

The other thing that’s on my mind is the fact that I have SO much I want to accomplish in my professional life… from developing my website and marketing strategy, to scheduling new workshops and events, to doing more speaking and corporate work, to begin performing weddings and other life celebrations… and, even though I invest a significant amount of time on these things each day,  the hours/days/weeks just fly by so quickly and it seems that very little progress actually gets made.

I think of myself as a visionary. I have boundless energy and infinite ideas and yet there seems to be a bottleneck in terms of output.

I want so much to happen but I am only one person.

Another friend recently looked me in the eye and said “You have a lot on your plate”. She said it so sincerely and compassionately that I really heard it. It’s true, I really do have a lot on my plate and that means every moment of my day is accounted for. There’s not a lot of room for spontaneity these days, and I don’t quite like that. One of my core values is Balance and I’m usually pretty good at it. Lately, however, I’ve noticed that I don’t have a lot of “free” time… meaning time that has not been previously spoken for.

This made me think about something I listened to on the recommendation of (yet another) friend on Tim Ferris’ podcast called Lazy: A Manifesto. It’s about how people in our culture today actually use the idea of being busy as an excuse or a status symbol. This, of course, was not a new concept to me. I’ve been famous for being “too busy” for most of my life. I’ve used my “busy-ness” to feel worthy, relevant and productive and I’ve even used it as an excuse for not having to say yes to things I didn’t want to do. Over the years, however, I’ve learned that my busy-ness has served as a distraction from my feelings and has stood in the way of me experiencing my own authentic self. So, I began to let myself discover what would happen if I wasn’t so busy and realized that it wasn’t that bad.

In fact, it was pretty nice.

So, the other day, when I was walking over to StudioBe, I asked myself…

“Is all of this stuff I have on my plate really necessary?”

I evaluated all the things I have on my plate and I came to the conclusion that, for one reason or another, I would not want to remove any one of them. I’m not doing any of these things because I “need” to feel valid or productive. I’m doing them because they feel in line with my values and my purpose and they help bring meaning to my life. And, in the case of AirBnB, they may be taking up a lot of my time and energy at the moment, but they are too lucrative not to do. It is up to me to be mindful of how much of it I want to take on and how much I need to delegate, which is why I am training my son to help with the changeovers.

None of these pursuits are “empty”. They are full of new experiences, new skills and new opportunities to practice courage and expand my comfort zone.

I also don’t have any concern that I’m staying busy so I can use it as an excuse to say no to things I’d rather not do. Thankfully, I’ve developed enough discipline to hold myself accountable to setting better boundaries and giving myself permission to say “no” whenever necessary. Being honest about what I like and don’t like or what I want and don’t want are an essential part of becoming more authentic and I’m getting better at it every day.

And  that’s my stream of consciousness for today :)

As I was writing it down, I wondered how it would relate to the title I chose for this blog entry which I decided on when I was placing my order at Rooster, just before I sat down to write. On the cash register, they have a sign that reads:

“Spread your arms and always trust your cape.”

I just loved how that made me feel. (Little things, right?)

Now that I see what I’ve written today, I’ve decided what that quote means to me:

I am a Super Hero.
I care about a lot of things.
I want to serve.
I choose to do something about it.
Because of this, I often have a lot on my plate.
But, I am also supported.
I can “spread my arms”, jump in and embrace all that I am and all that I do…
Because I can “ALWAYS trust my Cape!”