Last year left me (and most people really) feeling an acute sense of loss, an ambiguous grief, for what I couldn't immediately put my finger on. I missed my old routines, sure, but it was more than that. It continues to be more than that.
Last year, I took a deeper look at what I wanted to keep in my life and what I wanted to leave behind. Yes, 2020 was a dumpster fire, but it also had some amazing gifts. Every problem is like that. They present gifts; your job is to find them.
The thing that helped me stay grounded, and able to keep moving forward toward big, juicy goals, is the idea of abundance planted by my mentor.
See that lovely tree? Imagine that's you. Everything you need is located exactly where you are. All you need to do is access it. You access it with love, gratitude and creativity, the abundance trilogy.
Love here refers to self-love and self-care. It's what you—at your core—need to thrive. Just like a tree would not think twice about taking whatever it needs from the soil around it, you need to put your needs first. No one else will (or should). You've heard this before: put your own mask on first before you help the person beside you. To do this, start by becoming aware of what's going into your body. Not just the food you eat, but the other things you consume: images, ideas, the news (?!), other people's opinions, your own thoughts and beliefs about yourself, your self-talk, etc. Also, be conscious of how are you treating your body. Are you moving it regularly? These are all part of self-nurturing.
Gratitude is what keeps you present and focused, and is a wonderful antidote to anxiety and worry. If you find yourself always thinking about what you don't have and operating from a scarcity mindset, start a daily gratitude journal. Write at least five things you're grateful for. They can be big things, like you've dodged the covid-19 bullet so far, or small things, like the beautiful colors as the sun set last night. Studies show that people who express gratitude regularly are happier, healthier, more successful and live longer! The tree that grows more wood stands the best chance of withstanding storms.
Finally, there's creativity. For years, I underestimated how important this piece is. I thought, I'm a graphic designer; I'm creative all day. But that's creativity with a purpose and a desired outcome. The kind of creativity I'm talking about here is self-expression. Creativity for the sake of making something. Approaching a blank piece of paper or canvas with no preconceived notions of what it'll look like when it's finished. And not caring about what it looks like at all, for that matter. I'm talking about allowing whatever you're feeling on the inside to come out in a safe and nonjudgemental way. That kind of self-expression is so healing, that sometimes I'm left feeling almost effervescent. I have a box of crayons and a beat-up sketchbook that I doodle in. There's no expectation that the art should look any certain way, or even look good. It's just creative therapy. This is growing your leaves. The tree without leaves cannot make enough magic from sunlight and sky to survive.
All three are needed for a tree to survive and thrive. You need all three as well. Since you get more of what you focus on, make sure you start with the daily trinity for abundance: love, gratitude and creativity.
If you need some abundance, I'm here for you. Thanks for reading, and good juju to you!
Tree illustration by the lovely Joy Halstead.
Chronic good juju spreader, recovering graphic designer, supporter of all creatives everywhere.