When did you last greet yourself? With a beaming smile, with wide open arms? When did you last run wildly towards yourself with all the urgency and intensity of a too long gone friend? I ask because in these last few weeks I have been doing just that – as often and as consciously as I can and the healing effects just keep on coming.
My business is only 7 months old but a few months ago I had already started to question and doubt my work here. So much was coming through me, so much that I wanted to pursue and delve into. I was, I am, full of ideas that need fire and spirit to ignite yet that same fire was failing to carry me beyond the initial spark. I starting to feel so confused and directionless in the face of so much excitement and hunger. I felt trapped in the perpetual myth that you need hard work, immense drive and go, gO, GO to make anything a success. As women our strength is in sorting things from the inside out, so why are we all trying to sort out our lives from the outside in?
I have never run a business before. More than that I realised I have never run anything in my life with force and ego and grasping. Yet somewhere between admiring the feed of a feed of a feed of a friend’s feed on Instagram and wondering if my business would ever take off without one of the million how-to ecourses that promise me easier and faster results to financial freedom and facebook domination, I felt brittle, jittery and totally joyless. Deep down every time I stumbled upon yet another landing page and sales funnel my soul died a little inside, is this really how it has to be? In truth I felt sick of polished sales videos telling me how my problems would be solved with their information product, all the while pretending not to sell me something; praying i’ll buy into their particular scheme for success. But I don’t want information and how-to’s, I want wisdom. I’m sick of the predictability that invades my inbox after email sign ups for, well anything. I felt like my attempts at on-line entrepreneurship always left me in a flume like sales tunnel hurtling me towards an inevitable plunge into some murky pool of bottom feeders. I am so deeply demotivated by all the “motivational” currency currently on the market.
I was spending ever increasing amounts of time on my laptop mindlessly busy, yet largely unproductive and distracted. Chasing half-baked plans, demented with doing this, that and the next thing. Trying to position myself, drum up business, find my tribe. In my dismay I would routinely find myself googling for the quick fix. And now the internet was hounding me with solution based adverts from some guy who made $5,000,000,000 from his toilet. The worst addition to my mental turmoil was the new belief I had managed to pick up like a nasty infection that I somehow was not doing enough. When in truth I was doing way, way too much. I didn’t have a landing page, a sales funnel, a signature course, a following or frankly a clue. How’s that email list building going Clare? – yeah not so well!! It was nonetheless taking a lot of my time and energy merely nursing my dream into existence.
And then I realised that I wanted to be right where I was. Nursing my dreams into existence. Allowing inspiration to show me where I needed to be next.
That became my way back. At the dawn of She Of The Wilds I started out with the intention that the only real business I had was with myself. And that my Business would be a reflection of that work… the work it takes to be myself. Fast forward a few months of building and striving and distraction and I was headlong into my Business running me.
That realisation was my thunderbolt moment. It pierced through the bubble I had been seduced into via my thirst for a better life. It had only been a solid month or two of ridiculous doing, not a moment of compromise, not a second of switching off and I was DONE. I needed to go there to know that i was not, repeat NOT going back.
After some time away for “getting things done” here is the bottom line for my business. Everything else comes first. EVERYTHING. Have I meditated? No…- then no work! Have I spent time with my children? – No… then no work! Have I kissed my husband and sat with him to really connect? – No, then no work! Have I lit a candle to my day? Have I bowed down in gratitude? Have I prepared nourishment in the food and music and mood of my day? Have I checked in with myself to ask what I really really need from this day? Have I prioritised that need over and above the need to make my business viable?
I have now banned myself from working unless I am deeply receptive and responsive to the place in me that calls to me every single moment. That might sound like a ridiculous way to make things happen as a solopreneur but this last month has been living proof of what happens when I deeply tend to my inner- life; my outer- life tends to itself. My exhaustion finds instant rest, my despair finds instant peace, my struggles find instant simplicity. I meet myself where I am. I do not go off looking for what I need at the bottom of a To Do List (You know by now I hate the things!) or grand plan to convert my youtube following into leads.
How do you get anything done without a plan I hear you ask?! Trust. Trust over fear. The deepest trust you can imagine. The trust that if I do what I need for myself that I will have a business that does what it needs for me. Trust involves devotion and devotion involves attention to the deepest creative recesses of our souls… and when we work from that place, it’s less like work and more like allowing. Allowing instinct and intuition. It’s just slightly depressing to see that so many women, including me, are still trying so hard to make a living more suited to their masculine side than in service to their feminity.
Femininity gives protection to our inner lives, not just for our own sake but for humanity. The masculine aspect gives protection to our outer lives. But we live in a world obsessed with how things appear on the outside and with so many people facing out there is a gaping hole in our internal lives that no one wants to look at for too long – it seems there is still not much stock worth investing there but as women we have a noble and essential role in turning round the way we can get things done in the face of so much superficial guff – we can see quite clearly that shows of external strength and power without deep-rooted internal strength is extremely dangerous. Femininity holds the key to accessing the deep care and attention needed to protect us from psychic, psychological, emotional and spiritual harm. Making that my “business plan” is pretty much where I start and finish.
My entire business is governed by instinct and intuition – two things that never outrun themselves and are always true, timely and trustworthy. If I sit down to work and my daughter wants me to paint a picture with her – my work in that moment is to paint the picture. I will not run a business that asks me to turn away from my life or the moment I am in right now. I trust that in following the spontaneous and the creative that my soul will be nourished in a way that can bring me back to my work revivified. I also trust that in the palpably sweet surrender of saying YES to my life over my business that my work is done. It never fails to amaze me how effortless the entire process is when I stop forcing it to be something it’s not. If it doesn’t feel good to me I’m not doing it. If it takes me away from my children or from myself more than any of us are happy with then I’m not doing it – whatever it is, no matter how urgent or pressing or important it appears – in fact, especially if it’s that particular brand of demanding. I’m Not Doing It. Instead I drop it.
Which brings me to the most liberating aspect of running a soulful business. Devotion over discipline. When I am disciplined I am too rigid, irritable and find work and life harder and more draining. I am held captive by time and circumstance. I have to do X by Y. Switch to the wonders of devotion and my life is like a long slow deep exhale. So much release, so much ease, so much permission. Devotion is fluid and complete. There is nothing to do as long as I can let myself BE exactly what I need.
I grow my business by growing my self-devotion and in that way my business is a work of devotion. Everything i do here is infused with a fierce devotion to the art of creating a beautiful life in this moment – not when, never when, the “hard” work pays off. I’ve tried it and hard work never pays off. Trading in this moment for some imagined business goal is never ever going to make me happy. Being happy in this moment I am sure will pay off no matter if I take 2 years or 10 years to get closer to the dream.
Each day in my life consists of waking up to myself a little more. That’s the only way my business is not built on bullshit. I take all of my “stuff” to my spiritual practice and I leave it there so that I can get on with my day. I light a candle, I bring my awareness to what I truly need and I let the flood of thoughts and feelings pour themselves onto the pages or breath or sunrise before me.
I have made it my non-negotiable to be a spiritual women before I am an anything else kind of woman. Mother Woman. Business Woman. Musician Woman. Writer Woman. Wife Woman.
I am strict with this because when I am not I get lost in doing. When I don’t do these things my business becomes about everything except me… oh sure I can tell myself for long enough that sacrificing all of that stuff at the altar of hard work will be the price I’ll need to pay for providing myself and my family with something “better” in the long run. But now I know for me that my only business is in maintaining the healing balm of spiritual connection to my life. When I starve myself there my efforts and my purpose and my energy and my time become the bastion of ego and delusion.
If I have to turn away from my children, from my health, from my sanity, from my life as it is then I am not in the business of living a spiritual life or raising a spiritual and soulful business. My intense hunger is for the work I do here with you to be informed, inspired, invigorated and enlivened by the investment I make in living from rest and permission rather than striving and grasping.
I am motivated by soft, by still, by effortless, by grace, by ease, by devotion.
So it is with complete joy that I announce that She Of the Wilds will come to you only when I have given to myself first. This is the only sure way I know of truly being of service to you. My life is always calling me back to my real life work. To the urgent and essential art of being where I am. To the toys that I am to pick off the floor, the bed that I am to make, the pot of tea I am to make. I must tend to my life. I simply must. When I don’t breathe life into the bones of my day the body of my work has no heart, no soul and a mind full of doubts and fears that tell me to push harder and work faster.
The spiritual woman + soulful business – we do things differently and it makes getting things done a thing of beauty; burn out is a thing of the past… I accept with deep deep gratitude that I am one women with many facets. I am not something that can be split up and spread thin. I lose my shine when I am over-stretched and pushed. I need a container to protect my creativity. My spiritual practice is that safe place that allows me to harness my power without diluting it. That enables me to build slow and steady. I have no more desire for things to come before they are ready… before I am ready. True creativity is not a competition, it is not a chase, it is not a fight, it is not under threat, it will not run out, it has no window of opportunity. It is utterly dependant on how good we are to ourselves. This awareness has allowed me to drop 99% of the work I thought I had to do and replace it with all the things I thought could wait.
“Fears cannot be solved. Never try to solve a fear. Drop a fear. Never solve your problems. Drop your problems. Take them to the highest part of you and drop them.” Yogi Bhajan
So what’s the highest part of you? What can we just drop already?! How do you greet yourself in the morning? With a mental list of what needs done? I have replaced my morning showreel with one question that has changed my life and it goes like this… “Clare, what do you need today?”
This morning I rose and asked myself that question and it was immediately clear to me that I needed to drop the almost immediate feeling that I didn’t have time for everything that needed done and instead checked-in with what I really needed, which for some unknown reason came in the image of a blank canvas – I was craving clean bedsheets, an empty laundry basket, simple home cooking, clear surfaces. I did not question why. I did not decide I needed to attend to my duties more. I prioritised that yearning and simply went about carving out that feeling in the world around me. When my children woke me I slipped into the dark morning with candle light and started to clean whatever was geometrically closest to me first, then I cleaned the spaces that were irritating me the most. All of this of course inbetween the daily “tasks” that take up our time. By mid morning a little pocket of free time and a perfectly sundrenched spot in my living room both spontaneously presented themselves to me and without question I sat down, with no agenda, and felt those precious golden moments of total clarity… in that moment I was creative, responsive, open, receptive, fluid and totally free to pursue my bliss… and for She Of The Wilds, that’s the only rich soil I will plant my feet in.
Every time that I fear what will become of me and my business if I don’t rountinely involve myself in planning and doing I do what Yogi Bhajan so insightfully suggests and I take those bullcrap fears to the highest part of me, my spiritual practice, and I drop them there… It might sound hard to believe but I get more done in devotion than I ever, ever will in discipline.
Since deeply committing to this way of living out my life, the ways and means of getting through my work are so creatively rich, diverse and stimulating that I have never enjoyed the business of my life or the life in my business more. When I am not in the middle of a pre-planned day, scheduling and checklisting and box ticking my way through it I am like a clear channel for the very best of life to come through me. Do that and all else is done with a side of decadently, delish, devotion.
Take every single nagging thought to your morning spiritual practice and leave it there. Trust that your work is already done when you allow yourself to be open to what you need the most. And what I need the most in my time with you is to share work filled with sunlight and stolen moments; pockets of silence and vast swathes of warmth; drenched in longings; sweetened with smiles and snuggles and extra rest; fueled by long, lazy, lanquid, days; adorned with the unplanned; burning bright with inner light; bursting with sheer possibility. And the fires of creativity trustfully left to spark and to stir, carried and co-created by focusing my innate force of nature. Pour soul over your day and life will pour through you in the most divinely, unimaginable ways.
Welcome to the wildly and womanly way to take care of business! Welcome yourself into the day you want, see yourself at the threshold of something beautiful and step in…
In Wild Song, Clare