Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Labour of Love

Over Christmas, I spent a fair amount of time with my son at the Olympic Park in Stratford. One day, while my son was sleeping, I came across an unassuming little shed, sat just outside of the Orbit. It was cold and I was curious, so I popped in to see what it was all about. There, I was lucky to catch artist Caroline Jupp, who was in residence from 16 October 2014 to 17 January 2015, working on Labour of Love, a project celebrating the lives of East Londoners and visitors to the park. There were a few ‘CVs’ dotted around the shed, detailing people’s work  past, present and their hopes for the future. One in particular that caught my eye was someone who had a supporting role in the circus in the 60s!

Caroline asked if I would like to take part. At first I felt I didn’t have much of a story but as we got to chatting, I realised I did. When we talked about future aspirations, I realised that I have started to achieve some of my lifelong dreams recently and that in itself was something of a story. So, we sat down and talked about my work history, influences and plans for the future. Once I stopped paying attention to the fact I was being recorded, it was just like chatting to an old friend. Afterwards, Caroline thanked me, said she’d send across the finished piece of work and I promptly forgot about it.

So, when my ‘CV’ popped into my inbox it was a nice surprise! Want to see?

CV

Black text = Past
Red text = Present
Green text = Future

It’s not quite in the right order but I didn’t talk about them in order and sometimes I had more than one of these jobs at the same time!

Caroline has also captured more detail, which she has separated into four sections (a page each): Early Rhymes, Redundancy to Start Up, The Business and Writing and Values.

I was struck by how much we’d covered in a short space of time and, seeing my journey mapped out in this way, how it was further evidence that I’m on the right path with what I’m doing now.

Here are some snapshots of some of my journey:

Early Rhymes

I don’t remember not writing. There were periods when I would spend half the day just speaking in rhyme, which must have been really annoying for my mum! I do write non-rhyming poems now, but generally they do rhyme.

Certainly, I get lots of creativity from her [My Mum] and she fostered that. My sister is a singer/songwriter and my brother is creative too – he’s really funny but always rejects the idea he could be a comedian (it’s not just us who thinks that!). Mum had a fantastic imagination. As far as I know she believed in fairies all her life. She had a lot of pictures of fairies in her house. One night when I was little, I dreamt that fairies had taken me away and then brought me back home and when I woke up there were rose petals in my bed. I mean, my mum must have heard me talking in my sleep and put them there. But I believed for years that the fairies had taken me away for the night.

Redundancy to Start Up

…So then I was a writer and personal coach anyway, but it was more like a hobby. I said to myself, ‘I will be self-employed one day, just need to save some money and just need to do X, Y and Z.’

I needed that push I guess. When I’d decided I just contacted everyone I knew and said, ‘I’m going to do this, really this time!’ That was in August. My sister says it’s the happiest she’s ever seen me. I liked the job I had, but I love what I am doing now.

The Business

There was one line in this section that really struck me because even though I say it all the time, reading it back was a very powerful reminder that this really is heartwork:

Even if I won the lottery, I would still do all this.

If you would like to see Caroline’s response to the project (during which she gathered more than 100 CVs!), you’ll need to wait until 1 March when she will be releasing a limited edition Labour of Love booklet. All the CVs are anonymous, which I feel makes it all the more fascinating! I’ve no idea whether mine will be included but if you want to look for it,  it’s number 125. I share so much here you probably know half of the journey anyway! If you’d like to read more (of the more interesting journeys), Caroline is still sharing snippets of some of stories she has transcribed over on her blog.

Edited 23 Jan 2015 to correct the details of the booklet, which will not contain all of the CVs gathered as previously stated!

 

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I dream of tangerines…

This poem is an old one, shared here especially for Maddy because I promised I would. (If you’re wondering Maddy, it was a while ago. Here, remember…?). This poem was written after a discussion about which orange fruit is the juiciest. It’s NOT a euphemism (the poem, or the conversation), honest.

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net

I dream of tangerines

I dream of tangerines
Orange juicy fruit, sticky sweet
Tangerines…
I like the way the word sounds almost edible

I dream of tangerines
And clementines and mandarins
But tangerines are fatter, juicier…
Sweeter
At least they are in my tangerine dreams.

Rolling resolutions

So, another year is upon us. In a post I wrote just before Christmas, I said that 2014 had been a good year. On reflection, that wasn’t entirely truthful.

The end of 2013 wasn’t great and 2014 started quietly. It seems that was the right way to go for me. The year has had its ups and downs but I managed to find Joy in the little things and continue taking baby steps towards my big dreams.

Endings and Beginnings

Then, in June, my role at work was made redundant. This could have been a disaster and to say that I didn’t experience quite a rollercoaster of negative emotions around this time would be a lie. I didn’t blog about it because other things were happening at the time and I needed to process all of it. I didn’t know how I felt about any of it and didn’t feel ready to share… So I simply took some time out.

Taking time out was (and so often is) the best thing I could have done. Within a month, I had made my decision. Rather than look for another similar job, I would see this ending as a new beginning, an opportunity even, to start being even more authentically me; to take the plunge and start out on my own. Full time. I decided to be more Present.

That was scary. It still is! But so far, so good. I felt the fear and did it anyway and I have learned a lot. Actually, the learning never stops… I have learned many things in the past few months – about myself, about how I work and who I am.

Heartwork

I love my work now. I mean, I liked what I was doing before but now? Well, I don’t love the admin but everything else really does make my heart sing. I’m a recovering perfectionist so I’ve had to learn to let go of the need to make everything perfect before putting it out there but as I’m learning to embrace my imperfections I am also helping others do the same. My biggest problem now is that I want to do all of the things… All at once! So, in 2015 I have a few big projects coming up, the first being a series of coached workshops for parents of young children; Proudly Imperfect Parents, which starts with a workshop for working mums.

In order to give this, and other upcoming projects, my full attention, I once again need to review my commitments and rethink the amount of time I spend on social media (more on that in a future post) but I think it’s safe to say that no matter what I decide to do next, authenticity will be key.

Keeping it Real

Being authentic isn’t easy. My first meeting with a potential major client left a weird feeling in my belly. In my heart I knew that feeling was a “no” but who says no to their first major piece of work as a freelancer? It’s crazy right? Well, as it turned out, it would have been even more crazy for me to take on this work. It just wasn’t right for me. And I’m glad that lesson came early. It’s so important for me to be honest in my work and when I really believe in what I’m doing that passion shines through.

And that authenticity isn’t just important in my work. Take the redundancy for example, I hadn’t mentioned it before now because I didn’t feel ready but even as I sat down to write this post I had planned to leave it out. To offer a sanitised version of the year that would have looked like I just found the courage to live my dream and got on with it. I mean, in the end I did. But. It took lots of little pushes (some positive, some less so) and this big kick up the backside to get me really moving and it’s not always easy. Fulfilling? Yes? Rewarding Yes? Real? Yes. But easy? No. Sometimes it takes for a pretty big door to slam shut before you realise just how many windows are still open and how much motivation you actually have to climb through one. By ‘you’ in this instance I mean me, of course. Unless the same applies to you, in which case let’s talk!

Rolling resolutions

I don’t really make resolutions any more. Not that I don’t want to grow but I see growth as a constant, not a once a year, thing. So I’ll continue with last year’s promise to Be Kind to myself and add/step up to Be Real, as well as adding more rolling resolutions as I go.

Finally, I saw something on Facebook before Christmas, asking what you want to see more of for 2015. In my response, I said ‘Joy.’ I think I’ll stick with that. Here’s to more Joy, for all of us. *raises glass*

HappyNewYear2015

How about you..? What are your reflections on the past year and what do you want more of in 2015?