When I started out in the entrepreneurial world, I had two kids 3 and under. I was sleep deprived and mushy-brained. A part of me that had lain dormant for years was awakened with my newfound (or re-found) passion for sustainable wellness. I would carve out any time I could in my busy days of momming and managing a clinic, often staying up late into the night pouring over resources and creating handouts, recipes and presentations. I was on a mission to educate the masses and couldn't stop! My business was primarily centred around using essential oils for therapeutic healing but took on several different iterations over the years. The foundation was the same, helping to turn the switch for people, to empower their intuition when it came to health and wellness. I loved it and was tireless in my effort to share what I had learned.
Over the years my business morphed in many ways and brought back in some of my oldest passions around art, beauty, and creation. When the world went into a holding pattern and in-person events and meetings became impossible I didn’t pivot the way that was expected. I couldn’t fully integrate my business into an online platform. I had just started offering Aromatouch Technique sessions! A virtual aromatherapy massage wasn’t a thing was it? Not for me. After trying for a hot minute to convert my model into an online platform, I felt my heart go out of it. I let go of the ceaseless push forward that I had been on for years and just started to…do nothing.
I’ve talked about ‘the nothing’ that I’ve been doing on and off for awhile. Somehow the starting of 2022 marked this defined ending of a decade-long chapter I had been writing, if I had to title it it would be “Moving Forward Fearlessly (at all costs)”. I began the year with the knowing that the Costa Rican journey we had embarked on was dwindling. That the course work I was creating for a friend’s coaching business was going to take the last bit of effort I had to give. That this website my beautiful friend was crafting for me was going to remain somewhat unused. That even writing was going to slow down for awhile. I was tucking into my turtle shell.
I had experienced moments like that over the years as an entrepreneur, usually as I would wrap up one big event or project and before developing the next one, I would fall into suspended animation. All the kinetic energy it took to push forward suddenly left me exhausted. Makes sense doesn’t it? But I didn’t get it then and I would rally against it each time. I would worry that I was falling into inertia and would lose my momentum altogether. So now, not only was I tired, I was worried about how tired I was. It was unhelpful to myself to say the least. It took me years to see the pattern I had and accept it as part of my process, to understand that I was simply transitioning into the gooey chrysalis stage before transforming into whatever shape I would next take on in my business and life.
So when I got that familiar nudge in 2022 that a sleepy phase was descending over me I was wise enough to open my arms to it and surrender. I got through the first quarter which saw us move from the south of Costa Rica to the north, enrol the girls into school, find longer term housing, recognize that our tropical dream was not actually aligned to our deepest desires and start the epic process of moving back to Canada. Wading through the mess of returning to Canada under the least welcoming circumstances and all that entailed (ask if you’re interested) and moving into my inlaws basement took the last bit of strength I had. I agreed with myself to go into full-blown goo-mode from there on out, without apology.
I finally acknowledged (to myself) how much energy the last few years had taken and how disorienting our lives had felt. The move out to the countryside in 2020 and then the constant moving while we travelled in Costa Rica, all the while doing some variation of homeschooling/unschooling, was immensely depleting. Yet all that time I still managed to keep trying to breathe a little life back into my deflated business and thought creatively about new ventures I could embark on.
Being back in Canada felt like a gift I didn’t know I needed. I welcomed all the respite offered gladly, through my in-laws graciously setting up bedrooms for us and feeding us for 6 weeks, to an old neighbour offering us her lakeside cottage for a week, to our dear friends in the country making a mini home out of their poolhouse for another 6 weeks. I soaked up all the warmth of their generosity like a dry sponge in a pool of water. And then when this village home presented itself to us I just leaned further into the embrace of going with the flow and not trying to make anything different happen.
As I review the months that we’ve lived here in this spacious, beautiful, well-appointed home it doesn’t feel like I was doing nothing. It was a different level of something, a concentrated effort in living. I relished in homemaking, mothering my last baby while the big girls were at school for the first extended time in years. Our days were spent baking, cooking, walking around the village. I read many books and watched TV in the afternoons. I cleaned the house and put laundry on the line (rarely, as my live-in mom is the laundry queen of our shared house!). It was quiet and slow and delicious.
I didn’t fight against wanting a deeply restful time. I would occasionally bump into an old friend or client who would ask what work I was doing now. “Nothing” was my reply, without much explanation. Once in awhile someone would write to me to ask if I would be sending out my monthly energetic forecast newsletter again or putting my recipes onto the blog, “not yet” I would answer.
In my slumber phase I was consciously keeping inspiration at bay. As a creative being, I frequently am jolted by inspired thoughts and ideas and it was always my practice to act on each one. I made an agreement with myself to observe the thoughts and ideas but not act on them. To write things down in my journal, maybe discuss with a trusted friend, but not jump into action. With this new year I feel the familiar bouying feeling of inspiration swelling inside me and I’m slowly, deliberately, choosing what I act on and how.
Where before this would invoke panic to make excuses and explain reasons of why I wasn’t doing all the zillions of things, this time I just let it be what it was. It wasn’t a void, as I semi-feared it was, it was a perfectly timed rest.
Just like how we can detect the return of warmer weather in the spring with that slight gentling in the breeze, a caress of warmth from the sun, a verdant shoot spotted popping out in the garden, I feel an awakening coming. Perhaps it’s the assembling of the new parts of me from the goo, the reordering and organization of the person I’m transforming into. I feel like I’ve been very sleepy and cozied up in my burrow but I’m sensing the shift of seasons and seeing a brightness emerge.
It seems to be syncing with the new year but I don’t put a lot of stock in that. In the northern hemisphere it feels futile most years to encourage a sense of rebirth in the dead of winter. For me it’s usually March or April that I really feel as though the calendar has changed. But there is something in a numerology sense that has impact, the change of the harmonious flowy 6 year (that 2022 was) to the action oriented 7 year we’re now in. Last year felt like the ending of a long book I had been writing, quietly letting go of the desires and inspirations I held for a decade and allowing them to go into entropy. This year feels like a new book is starting and with it I bring some of who I was but welcome in new aspects too.
Where the last 12 months felt like I had finally let go of the tight hold I had on my dreams and how to materialize them, I feel new dreams starting to take shape. And a new energy to bring them to fruition. With a better understanding that timing isn’t my own. I still dream of my waterfront wilderness homestead, I still dream of travelling frequently, I still dream of sharing my cooking, my creations, my writing. I still desire to work in wellness and beauty. I still want to help my daughters design lives that they love outside the realm of convention.
This year comes with many things unknown, our village home is ours until the end of June. Where will we next go? While the tug of nomadic life still pulls us from time to time (remember when we travelled in an RV for three months??) the longing for roots is stronger. We have a long ways to go to rebuild what we once had, still needing to acquire all the trappings to make our own home eventually. Both of us being self-employed, what direction will our businesses take on? Whereas Steve is full-swing back into residential construction, I’m just starting to get cues of what I might do. I feel more sure now that all of my multi-passions could fuse together into something wonderful - the wellness, the beauty, the food, the writing - in tangible form. I’m less concerned about making it perfect and more excited on just beginning. I rest so much more fully into knowing that when the timing is right the pieces will come together, I don’t have to force anything.
The past three years were phenomenal teachers. Helping me ride the waves when things don’t go as planned, readjusting my sails as the wind changes course, burrowing deep into the hull of life when rest is needed. I start this new year feeling ever hopeful and resigned to my dreamy nature and also detached at the outcome knowing that it always works out. Always.