This week I am thinking about the power of lightening our loads. For so many years my default state has been piling on the responsibilities. Stress, anxiety and overwhelm felt like my baseline states. Instead of removing responsibilities I piled on additional ones to cope with the existing pile – exercise! With my six month hiatus from work (day job and business) I got to uncover a new way of doing things: simplifying and lightening my load so I could move and work with more ease. For me that meant pausing with the sewing apprenticeship program and enlisting the help of a very special North Carolina-based factory – Sew Co.
And a funny thing happens when we take the first steps to do this – we learn what it feels like to lighten our load – how much lighter and more energetic we feel. And then we are much more easily able to identify other areas where we have overburdened ourselves and thus are unable to move. I think of the image of a boat with too much cargo riding low in the water – its weight resisting the gentle current.
I got to feel the special magic of this work again last week. I seem to reflexively try to replace the complexities of one project (the apprenticeship) with another logistically challenging side project – launching a community maker’s space for sewn crafts and instruction. Our sewing instructor gently shared with me over Easter that people didn’t come to regular sewing classes in the summer, with all the vacations and childcare responsibilities. And I noticed that feeling again, the one that I had had when I decided to work with Sew Co. – an unburdening. Oh – I was trying to do it again – take on too much. So I decided to close that door and leave the space open to a fellow “spacemate” that could work adjacent to me.
Why is this important? Our energy is our most precious resource. When we commit to things that weigh down our boats we get stuck, we become too burdened to do the creative work that is vital – that is our most important work. But then it is also scary – lightening the load – watching your boat pick up speed and not knowing exactly where you are headed. In some ways it can be easier to put too much cargo on your boat, get stuck in the river and then complain about how stuck you are. That’s dependable! But we know we sell ourselves short with this. We know this is not the person that the world deserves, the person that we were made to be.
Go, fight, win.