A Time for Presence: Sacred Simplicity


I've written this sentence (or some version of it) more than once: it's been more than a year since I've been here on this blog. Life has shifted around me, little ones have grown a little less little, projects have come and gone, days have gone unmarked, whole months lost in the flurry of a busy life. I've been craving slowness for awhile, aimed for it many times and achieved it only momentarily. I've often been after balance, but maybe this season is not about slowness or balance, but something else. School is almost out for the year, and requests for summer work are coming in. I'm trying to configure my days into something more than clear divisions of family and business, and that in between where they sometimes blend too much and neither gets the focus it needs.

I'm declaring a new intention here: the need for presence. I'm going to start with Mondays, the day where me and my littles are called to be nowhere. We will find our rhythms and work a new routine around it. Our days will be sacred, and maybe they will be simple. We will breath outdoor air. We will explore. We will slow enough to let the toddler set the pace; we will take turns veering off course.

Harder: I will start being firmer when I need to say no to something in my business. I will say yes and risk for the things that feel right. I will consider being vulnerable again in this space, let it evolve to hold more than my business face. I will take risk and go beyond project timelines, allow experimentation to inform my process. Let the artist in a little bit more. Allow for surprise.

This year is close to half over, and it's been a busy season in my work-life. I'd like to share glimpses more often, spend time refining my own work, even while I pour most of my creative energy into my clients.

Last week I spent a morning and part of the afternoon relaxing at a spa. I lounged poolside and finished a book, soaked in a hot tub, drank iced tea. I want to allow more rest in—again—more presence. And not only rest in solitude (though that is wonderful), but to create a refuge for it in my home, to invite my loved ones in, let us revel there.

As a working parent, my roles are clearly defined, but I'm reaching for something beyond, reclaiming something more. The ability to savor, to celebrate it all, and to cultivate creativity as well.

For my fellow freelancers out there, how does your work change by the season? What practices have you developed (or would you like to) to take advantage of the flexibility that comes with setting your own schedule and terms? Cheers to finding new ways forward, ways that allow more than just staying afloat, hustling, or getting by.

A few recent things/ideas that have stayed with me:

I can't wait to hear my friend Julie expand upon the ideas she shares in this post. It touches eloquently a lot on why I haven't followed the golden formulas touted for social media, the trouble behind the word "hustle," and much more:


Quiet morning in the neighborhood. I've got a future blog post rolling around in my head. Last night, my husband and I discussed the world of work. I'll lay my cards on the table. I'm pro-union, a strong supporter of workers' rights. My husband's a rep for his teachers' union. My sister was a union rep as a Radio City Rockette. As a nonprofit employee, I see a strong culture of self-imposed martyrdom. And I have issues with the online "hustle" culture. It's selling "freedom" and a false empowerment for profit. As a creativity coach I take issue with all the productivity advice and organizational systems. They encourage the concept of meritocracy--the belief that people who work hard are the ones who succeed (and that their power is justified). That's a myth. Privilege and oppression often determine who succeeds. There's no such thing as a self-made woman or man; we're all interconnected. Also, I believe that the business standard of forming a social media plan is people-pleasing at its core. It's worrying about others judging you as productive or lazy and, therefore, is a supposed symbol of success. In this conversation last night, my husband suggested that this online culture is just "the new conservativism" masquerading as freedom. I agree. Work is political. Creativity is political. In these times, let's do our creative work on our terms and build authentic community. Toss those "should"'s out the window. Wellbeing matters more than being a productive worker bee. There's always a way to share your creative voice, have a stake in creating change in the world, and care for your wellbeing along the way. We find our way through conversation with one another...


I had the good fortune to read an advance copy of Erin Loechner's Chasing Slow, and I've enjoyed revisiting it since then, dipping in for bits of wisdom. (And her blog is a constant does of calm and inspiration.)

On Being with Krista Tippet continues to be a source of calm and contemplation for me. One of my favorite interviews with the poet Marie Howe recently re-aired. I also love this interview Krista gave, "Talking with the Other Side."

This blog has often been a catalog of inspirations both artistic and otherwise, and for today, that's my re-entry.

If you're reading, I'd love to hear what's sticking with you lately too.