rowantreeonskye
Jun09

The Highlands

Three years ago, I wrote a note and buried it in the middle of a stone circle, beneath a rock at the center. The circle wasn’t made of tall standing stones the British Isles are known for, but smaller ones, easily carried and moved. But the circle was special and the land was special and I promised to return.

And so I did. I made my way back to the Scottish Highlands.

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I don’t know entirely why I’m homesick for a place that I’ve never lived. But it calls to me, even now when there are too many months between now and when I next return.

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Somehow, the Highlands have bewitched me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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mercuryretrograde
Jun02

Mercury Retrograde

Sometimes, everything is chaos.

That’s the way it’s been for weeks now. Since Mercury started retrograding, but even a bit before that.

I travelled to Scotland, spent a night watching old pagan rights reenacted for modern times with big bonfires, drove winding roads that hugged lochs, camped in the cold rain. I went where the world pushed me. And when I returned, too much waited for me: work projects and to-do lists, long hours that passed too quickly with a heavy heart.

I could tell something was off with my cat Marty when I arrived home, and in the past few weeks, he’s gotten weaker and skinnier. I’ve cancelled plans to care for him, because when all is said and done, I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time than loving him. And right now, he’s holding on still, but some days, I’m overwhelmed. My heart is just breaking.

When so much is uncertain, you have no choice but to live in the moment. That’s where I’ve been.

But with Mercury spinning backwards across the sky, I’ve found myself in another place, one where I’m haunted by the past and the future. I feel the weight of where I’m going. It’s as if all the past threads and current threads of my life are finally converging to show me the bigger picture, except it still isn’t clear. But there are changes that need to be made — changes in my business, changes in this blog, changes in how I live my life.

There are more questions than answers, but we have to start somewhere, don’t we?

brandi_catsmain
Apr21

Capturing A Moment

December was a difficult month for me: I moved to a city where I didn’t know anyone, in hopes it would be a better fit for me; my then-boyfriend and I broke up; and my cat Marty had emergency surgery when it became clear there was a growth in his stomach, causing him a lot of pain. It was this last piece of news that hit me the hardest — I was just really learning how to love this cat, adopted from a shelter by an ex-boyfriend, then stolen by me when it was clear he wasn’t being treated well. At the beginning he had been stand-offish and always pretty independent. But he had changed in the months before the surgery. I had changed too.

The surgery went well, but the prognosis wasn’t good. The vet gave him a month.

It’s been four.

I know I don’t have forever, but I do have this time.

And I wanted it captured, with me in it. I’ve typically been the one snapping photos, but really wanted some of me with my cats. My friend Carrie came by and took a few photos for me.

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There are days that harder and days that are great. I don’t always know which it will be. My work sometimes falls a bit behind, because I need to be present more with my cats than with emails or my blog. But I am where I need to be, and that matters most to me — and to them, I suspect.

Essentialism
Apr14

Becoming an Essentialist

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown stood on my nightstand for weeks. It was a nightly reminder of how I have been wanting to shift things in my life.

It all comes down to this: “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

Our lives are filled with such informational clutter. Physical clutter too. We collect news articles on Flipboard, old pairs of jeans that we swear we’ll fit into again someday, email subscriptions (because we needed that free offer and never thought to unsubscribe even though we don’t even read those emails) — the list goes on.

Somewhere in the process of accumulating (and wanting to feel like we’re keeping up), our freedom and our clarity are lost. Not permanently so, but we forget them in the piles in our heads and in our homes.

Essentialism provided a series of perfect notes reminding me that an extra hour of sleep mean more productivity, not less; that if it isn’t a clear yes, it’s a clear no; and that with limits and boundaries we become limitless.

As much as we’ve been heard that ‘less is more’, the concept takes time to integrate. This book does a brilliant job of helping with those illustrations, and at the end, I was sold on being an essentialist in everything I do.

For me, the biggest struggle is the art of the graceful no — or how to say yes to the things that really matter. It’s not that I forget what really matters, only that I love helping people so much in my business, I sometimes fail to see the trade-off — what free time I might be losing by taking on another project. My new mantra? “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” Those extra moments of reflection are key for creating space.

Obviously, there’s so much more I could talk about and dive into here, I’ll let you find the gems that suit you perfectly. I guarantee, by the end, you’ll be transforming into an Essentialist too.

On Amazon: Essentialism

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