A Fresh Start

IMG_0783-copyIsn’t it funny how much easier it feels to turn over new leaf on the first day of the month (especially when the first falls on a Monday)? I don’t know about you but I love fresh starts, and even though I’m always invigorated by the start of a new year (well, except for this year maybe), I find myself feeling rejuvenated, motivated, and inspired in a brand new way when I flip the calendar to the next month. So many of life’s bigger blessings inspire me – travel, nature, relationships, service – but so many little ones, like books and restaurants and gorgeous photos and the first day of the month, provide a surge of creativity and revitalization, too.

Early on in January, I shared a post on Darling’s blog about some resolutions that could help us find our spark this year. I wanted to write about creative ways to set resolutions instead of always defaulting to the typical, generic goals of living a healthier lifestyle, saving money, and pursuing happiness. Those are wonderful resolutions, to be sure, but I wanted to inspire readers to take a chance, do something a little different, and really push themselves to achieve the lofty dreams they have, bringing them into reality and making them happen.  I am revisiting that piece today as I’m reveling in my newfound sense of inspiration, and I am plotting out the things I can do to keep this energy flowing. Don’t feel the same way on the first of the month (especially when it falls on a Monday?). Last spring I wrote this post about being stuck in a rut, and to this day it remains one of my favorite pieces that I’ve written. I actually wrote the piece while I was in a rut myself and it was a therapeutic process that actually helped me find inspiration in a variety of ways.

So here’s to you on this Monday, February the first – whether you feel ready to embrace a fresh start or ready to dive back into bed, I salute you, friend. Keep on trucking and persevering, regardless of how you feel. Inspiration is out there just waiting for you to seize it.

Image via Madi Ellis for Darling Magazine

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If Your Job is All You Do

unnamedI’m back home in Dallas after having an absolutely wonderful time in Los Angeles! The Yellow Conference was so incredibly inspiring, and I loved getting to spend time with Andrew and Lauren on the best coast. More recaps (and lots of pretty pics) to come!

The conference stimulated me creatively in so many ways, and I felt encouraged to continue to seek out inspiration in my daily life once I returned home. Sometimes inspiration comes in the most unlikely of places, like in an email I received yesterday from one of my favorite companies, Artifact Uprising. The subject line – “If your job is all you do…” – jumped off the screen, capturing my attention. I loved what the business’s co-founder, Katie Thurmes, wrote about this topic on AU’s blog:

“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.”

I scribbled those words on a napkin three years ago. The words came at a time of tire. The truth is, I had spent years creating art at a rate that would soon try my passion for the very art that inspired that pace. It’s difficult to acknowledge that place. For one: it’s a privilege to take on work that’s infused with so much passion you dare name it a calling. And for two: admitting to that need, to admit aloud that your fire needs fueling demands a certain kind of courage to shift your own expectations for yourself.

Creativity requires of us to get out there, to unplug, to move and to pause – it requires we make room to think about what could be. We too often forget to take the deep breath and say “yes” to the things that scare us. Or the things we need the most. This “yes” is courage. Without it, we would have never made it to our desk today. And without it, we’ll never leave. Leaving is important – you’ll be better when you’re back.

I must interject here that I am blessed to have a healthy work + life balance, thanks to the fact that my place of work values personal time, family commitments, and vacation time. The fact that I was encouraged to go to the Yellow Conference on behalf of the foundation is an indication that our organization values inspiration that comes from outside the confines of the office. I know that many companies aren’t like that, and it isn’t always an option to sneak away or stop working (whether for a creative conference or a restful vacation) when deadlines and angry bosses loom near. That being said, I thought the message in Artifact Uprising’s email was an excellent reminder that creativity will always be stifled if we’re working ourselves to the bone, forgetting to pause to take in the beauty around us. This theme is one that was reiterated frequently at the Yellow Conference, and I can’t wait to share more of the things I learned while I was there. Stay tuned!

Image via Artifact Uprising