LESS IS MORE
Have you been noticing you are not quite as equipped to DO as much as you used to before the long Covid pause? I have. I’m also not as interested in or attached to getting as much done as possible in a day. I don't define myself or my worth by that measure anymore. The ‘Good Enough’ metric is now a new norm to reflect on my day’s productivity. I highly recommend it.
The resulting new FREEDOM I feel is simply miraculous.
Overwhelm sets in much faster now than in 2020 when I was still on the treadmill of task achievement. There’s a kinder, gentler, more reasonable internal metronome that prompts the thought, ‘Oh, maybe the rest can wait till tomorrow, this is really all that needs to be done for now. ‘
It’s still so new I’m not quite used to the break I give myself. That’s not to say I’m procrastinating or being lazy or irresponsible. Nope, not at all. I’m actually dialing myself and my energy level into the equation as more important than the task at hand’s completion. So when overwhelm starts to hover, rather than push through, now I stop and reassess priorities.
This is spilling into the year of events ahead. In 2019 I participated in over 25 events in 8 months. I’d planned more for 2020, but they were all cancelled. This year, after MUCH deliberation, I’m following an unfamiliar impulse to not push myself to participate in a show every single weekend. The long July weekend and the long August weekend are now free and clear for me to catch my breath between a string of 4-5 shows in a row before and after.
This idea for taking off the July holiday weekend was challenged when I met an artist who said that show I cancelled was one of his most lucrative because of the retired demographic in the area that attend with the intention to buy. I wondered about my decision... was I wrong to take a break, but when I thought about the insane traffic leaving and returning to Toronto that weekend, and the throngs of people milling about, the long 3 show days, well my body told me with a yuck feeling, best to just stay home and have a break before the next string of 5 shows back to back. This pro Laila decision makes me SO happy every time I think about being home sweet home that weekend. Anticipated cost was just too high.
Taking a weekend off each month wasn’t decided on lightly. In the past those weekends were lucrative. But I promised myself before Covid, moving forward I’d also make time for a life, a social life where I’d have time and energy to see people and have fun outside of work, outside of packing up for a show, driving, setting up, settling into accommodations, making show meals, standing and selling at the show all day no matter the weather, packing up, packing the car, driving home and recovering the next day from the wear and tear on my body. Then preparing for the next show, marketing it and going off to do it all again a few days later.
When I have a weekend free between shows, honestly it feels like a luxury spa getaway, because I experience a loving embrace to my well being infinitely more valuable than any loss of opportunity to sell.
During the decades of my day job in the Graphic Arts industry, I always said: ” Every salary comes with a price.” Friends would talk about staying in their guilded cages for the benefit of a great retirement decades away or the yearly bonus... This was instructive to me and prompted my efforts to retrain for 14 years part time as a therapist, start my retreat company which eventually led to the creation of Laila Goddess- which FINALLY put together my skill, interest, talent and intention.
Now that this venture is established enough, I want to address the price I paid for the steady growth each year. No regrets, just an evolution in perspective of what the reasonable cost is for having this beloved new vocation. These last two years have given me enough time, as it has millions of people especially in North America (who are non essential workers), to consider a slower, less intense, less blindly ambitious, less incessantly demanding lifestyle so totally out of whack with WELL BEING. Millions of us are saying no more madness of the working treadmill.
With this new intention, all sorts of marvelous alternative solutions are presenting themselves to me. For example, rather than turning my back and spinning like a whirling Dervish to my storage pouches to find garment sizes during a show and losing precious time to just talk face to face with the women browsing, I’m now putting out all the sizes available in each colour of a garment style. That way I know immediately what is sold out and can save us both time in looking fruitlessly. It’s much less work and distraction for me having all available sizes already out. Why did it take 7 years to figure this out?!
At first I was concerned about not having every single garment style available at each event because there was now less room on the racks with all sizes out, but this is where ‘Good Enough’ comes in. No one is complaining I don’t offer enough style selection. Intuition is guiding my choices in what to display at each show, and my back is thankful I’m not hauling around so much ’just in case’ inventory.
When you include yourself into the equation of your daily goals, a whole new world opens up. It’s quite profound to create a paradigm with enough space and time to consider and reflect, rather than the established work obsessed, mad dash culture.
Feels like we’re in a revolution having had these past 2 years to spend considering what’s really important after so much time at home. I met a nurse at a show last weekend who quit her job and is now making candles to sell at weekend farmers markets, her lack of stress making up for the difference in income. A neighbour quit a deeply unsatisfying job (that took terrible advantage by increasing hours and cutting pay during Covid) to assist in his partners’ new venture- he’s never looked happier. I know many people who recently chose to retire early with less but OH so much more too.
Sure these are big risks, and I'm noticing there’s a steadily lowering tolerance for the high price paid to earn a steady salary in the same old way or with the relentless stressful conditions. We are waking up to what’s possible when what makes up quality of life is reexamined: To truly have the time to consider what is lost and what is gained in big and small work/life choices.
It’s not easy to live in career uncertainty, and I’m living proof it’s possible to get used to. Although I don’t know what this year will bring financially with fewer events, I do know that rather than worrying I’m really looking forward to planning my free time with all the activities and people that make life so worthwhile… right alongside a clothing venture that thrills me to share with you. You’re going to meet a much more relaxed, attentive and contented Laila Goddess.
Hope to see your beautiful faces at a show soon.