People always ask how I start my day, and the answer is always the same.
Three things, listed daily without fail. Gratitude. I list my gratitudes every morning with the sky and the sun or the rain and regardless, gratitude lifts you like the wind.
I was in Italy for a week. Three intensive coaching days for three different clients. One in the balconied and leafy city of Milan. The other in the coastal castle town of Santa Maria… the one my client calls Twinkle Town.
I journaled gratitude for the freshest mozzarella that teased itself on to my knife, spread like the moon across water along the rosemary bread that shattered as I bit into it. I journaled thanks for laughter and love shared across giant pizza with giant glasses of Chianti. For icing dusted crumbling croissants that were soft as I stared at the ocean.
I was thankful for my clients. For the tears cried, the memories cracked open into love-
and yes I cry too! –
I’m human and my clients stories touch my soul and lodge there like my own- and for the work undone and redone. For the giant dreams and plans made for new locations, for new life, for new beliefs and new businesses and old ones supercharging.
I journaled gratitude for the gifts of tea and chocolate (how well my clients know me) and for the vintage fiat car one client arranged for me as a surprise to take me up to the beautiful village to watch the sunset over Santa Maria before we had a private tour around a palace by the Baroness who owned it.
I marveled at history. I drank in the beauty. I grew in appreciation.
I’d wandered down shuttered and cobbled corridors, marveled at the bed of Kings, saw restaurants twinkling under the summer dusk, the jewel of Milan glinting in its glory, and I drove past Pompeii and the volcano, sharp mountains and then home- back to this island of Love.
And within the Italian whirlwind of a week, I still wrote my book. Writing writing writing. Writing and in love with all of it even though I missed my little family back home.
AND I MADE A DECISION.
While I was away I had snatched minutes to myself here and there. During the airport waits, the queues, the flights, the journeys and the spaces in between.
I realised I was wasting them.
I’d scroll through Facebook, check and recheck my email, my Whatsapp.
I read articles that were relatively pointless in the grand scheme of life.
And again- every so often – the anxiety that fluttered around. The only time I didn’t have anxiety was when I was with my clients, writing, or – eating! Because of course- eating away feelings is easier, especially in the cuisine capital of the world.
So I decided. I’m coming away from social media.
Not entirely. But – Facebook.
Removing apps. Placing boundaries. Reclaiming space. Deleting groups. Unfollowing. Removing myself from the things that do anything less than light me up.
For many many reasons. For the anxiety. For the fact that every time I log in I see practically the same messages over and over again.
For the promotional element actually grating tiredly on my soul and letting the fragments of it float into the anxiety butterflies.
And this is scary because I’ve based a lot of my business on Facebook (and still will continue to do so).And I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for every opportunity that social media gives me and my business. For the way it enables me to reach people. To sell. To share my message. To reach people who otherwise wouldn’t have found me.
But I had to take a hard look at what was nurturing me. What made me feel alive, vibrant, energised.
And – Facebook just isn’t it.
Surprisingly – Instagram is. For now, anyway.
We are all storytellers, and Instagram enables me to find beautiful stories from new people.
I’ve dived into positive birth stories, found other Steiner school families, found organic wilderness girls and found the poets and the dreamers and the wanderers.
And even better! It’s enabled me to find gorgeous new BLOGS to read!! Remember blogs? I love them. I love people. I love their stories. That’s not procrastination it’s sheer pleasure and also ways in which I learn about the world and see it through fresh eyes. It’s been beautiful to spend time reading blogs again rather than depressing news stories shared like a peculiar kind of depressingly addictive candy.
And yes of course, Instagram is contrived, but so is life.
We decide what to do each day, what to see, what to eat where to go and who to be.
And Instagram is like that. A reflection of people’s choices poured into deliberate moments of joy.
What I’m really thankful for – That I’ve been able to cultivate deliberate moments of joy that sometimes looks like Italy and times with my clients and sometimes looks like my island idyll and sometimes looks like me pen in my hand writing.
Everything else is unnecessary.
And with it stripping away the procrastination, the excuses for not being creative or writing more, the minutes wasted on scrolling through things that most of the time do not belong here. The minutes I spend not present with my kids, or with my husband. The times I feel like my confidence or creativity or joy or appreciation is being eroded in the tiniest of ways yet I know they’re building up with each scroll.
So it’s a goodbye, for now.
Hello to my connectivity to my work. To creativity. To books and blogs I adore. To discovery. To embarking on our home school journey. Perhaps even to new countries and adventures anew. To new writing on here too.
It’s not likely to be permanent, and my gorgeous assistant Jen will still be sharing all my updates on my pages and profiles.
But I’ll be here, not there. And here.
Because cultivating joy, creativity and purpose is the point. And more than all of the Italian food and delights – I’m thankful for that, and I plan to treasure more moments in this, than on scrolling.
AND SOME OTHER THOUGHTS ON SELFIES
Something I learned from my mentors was that you have to celebritize yourself if you want to be successful. Which basically means, selfies of me, everywhere.
And so I did it. But I’ve realised that actually, I REALLY don’t like being in the spotlight –and that is ok.
I am never going to be one of those people who splashes their face and body all over social media, and it’s not because I have blocks that need clearing or because I’m not working hard enough or I’m not marketing savvy enough.
It’s just because my desire for creation is bigger than me. I want to create beautiful things, and things of purpose. Things of meaning and message. And I’d rather be lost in daydreaming about a building’s history than selfieing myself in front of it or figuring out how to do the splits on it.
And I have zero desire to celebritise my kids either. Although, I flip backwards and forwards on this one.
Mainly because Istria is a natural actress and always has been since she used to dress up wearing all the hats when she was one, and LOVES making videos of herself. But I believe kids should be kids and she should be running around like she does most of the time, in her birthday suit outside jumping in and out of the pool like a dolphin.
The second I start to even stop to think about how to get her followers on Youtube, or whether she should be in my live streams or Stories, the magic of childhood slips away. And for me, that’s the only thing it’s ever meant to be about, ever.
I’m not against selfies– the world is way too short not to show yourself eating all of the ice cream in Italy!!! And I’m enjoying playing with video at the moment so expect to see me more on Youtube soon!
But I want the beauty of what I love to be what I do. As my priority.
And yes I love me, but the me that I love sees herself as the romantic dreaming wandering spirit who falls in love at every shuttered window, every chateau spire, words and people from now and long ago who meander in and out of our lives and memories.
Maybe that’s naive to think that in this day and age to believe we can be a business without entirely being the face of it, but I’m ok with naivety.
I’m also ok with not splashing my face all over everything all of the time, and I’m done with worrying about whether it’s because I have some weird social media block.
No, you haven’t. You just want other things. And that is ok. It is ok to be you, and to do things your own way.
It doesn’t mean you aren’t going to ‘make it’. It doesn’t mean you have a block, or any of the other things.
It just means you’re doing what works for you.
And that is something that is a very good thing.
Something in fact, to be thankful for.