Right. It’s time for another one of my soul-bearing, vulnerable, pull back the curtain on my own process blog posts. You may have noticed that I didn’t publish a blog post last week. There’s a reason for that, and it wasn’t that I got too busy (yes, I’m busy, but that wasn’t it). I did write a post, or most of one anyway. But I just couldn’t finish it. It wasn’t flowing. I simply wasn’t inspired to write. Was it a bad topic? Well, no. I’d seen the same issue come up again and again in my coaching calls for two weeks straight. Whenever that happens, it’s always a clear sign to me that I should explore the topic on the blog.
The issue I was going to write about was the importance of play, and how we shouldn’t forget to do it. We tend to get so caught up in our lives and even in our process that we sometimes (often!) forget to have fun along the way. Life is supposed to be filled with awesomeness. This idea is so important, I actually have a post it note on my computer screen reminding me to play.
There was only one problem
As I was writing this blog post about playing, I suddenly realize that this didn’t feel like play at all. I love writing, don’t get me wrong, but something was off, and had been for a little while. So, instead of publishing a half-assed blog post that I didn’t quite feel right about (in other words, ignoring the problem), I decided to skip a week and just sit with the emotions. What came up surprised me (as it usually does when we begin to see that which we haven’t been willing/able to see before). I felt kind of resentful, and even a bit bored (again?!?!). But mostly, I just felt frustrated. Something wasn’t working for me, something I wasn’t seeing. I clearly had resistance which was blocking out the solution (and even the realization of the problem).
I wasn’t able to dedicate time to this endeavor every day, but when I did, I felt like a race horse chomping at the bit, locked in a box just before the big race. I felt the energy building behind a self-imposed dam of some kind.
To be fair, I quite like it when I get frustrated, because I know that when I do, I’m about to have a break-through of some kind. Knowing this also helps to take the edge off. I might be frustrated now, but I know I won’t be for much longer. That helps tremendously.
I spent most of one day crying, feeling like a whiney little kid who just won’t let go of the notion that she has to go to Disneyland NOW!!! I felt sorry for myself, got angry (not at myself), took a nap, worked on my tan, read a bit, and wrote in my journal (mostly about how dam frustrated I was). It felt old and big and nasty, but also small and wily at the same time. Every time I got close, it would slip just out of reach. I’m sure many of you know the feeling.
And then it popped
I had to allow myself to feel these emotions and look at the thoughts that came with them, no matter how illogical, unfair or petty they might’ve been. Often, when we dig up resistance, particularly old resistance, what comes out of our mouths is downright ridiculous. That’s ok. That ridiculousness will lead us to the “truth”, or rather, the false perspective we adopted as our truth at some point.
I felt the resentment, sat with it, and let it bring up more information. I worked my way through the layers of memories that surfaced – memories of not feeling supported in different ways. This didn’t pop the issue for me, though. There was more. I dug through those layers to see what was underneath. I talked to friends and family. I vented. I had an energy healing. I backed off so I could feel better (frequently). And I did feel better, but there was always this irritation present, this drain on my energy keeping me from being my total Happy Shiny Puppy self. Finally, I had my epiphany.
When I’m trying to find a better feeling perspective, I often look at the extreme versions of a situation and the options that present themselves and how they feel. So, if you have a crappy job, I might ask you to consider, really consider, the idea of just quitting. Now, you might say “I can’t quit! I’d starve!”, but if you take the time to feel your way through the idea of quitting, you’ll get more information than you had before. You don’t have to DO it, just consider it. I do this often with my clients, usually blowing the extremes up to humorous proportions.
I my case, since I was struggling to write a simple blog post, I asked myself “What if I just dropped the blog altogether?” Now, before you panic, don’t worry, I’m not doing that. And I always knew I wasn’t going to do that. I don’t want to drop the blog. But I had to consider this idea, even briefly, to shake something loose. I needed more information, and looking at extreme perspectives can give us that. What I felt surprised me. Along with a big “Hell no! I don’t want to let the blog go!” was relief. Coupled with the resentment I’d already uncovered (resentment always means that we’re doing something we don’t really want to be doing), and it suddenly became clear that something about the blog needed to change. Again.
As long time readers will know, this blog has gone through several iterations over the years, mirroring my own changes. I went from three blog posts down to two and eventually, one. Each one of these decisions was incredibly difficult for me. I didn’t want to let you guys down. I was afraid business would dry up. I didn’t want to decrease the value I was providing. You name it and it came up over the years. And here I was again, resisting some change I wasn’t even aware I wanted to make. Go figure.
The change I realized I’d been wanting to make for some time, was to incorporate a lot more video into this site. Instead of writing blog posts, I wanted to create vlogs (video blogs). I started this process a few years ago, but got side tracked. I didn’t truly realize just how and why was until last week. I thought it was because I simply got too busy, but that was actually not quite true. Yes, I did get super busy, but then I remembered something: I originally started doing videos to cover the blog during one of my regular spa holidays. Instead of pre-writing a bunch of content, I knocked out six quick videos, each answering a different reader question, in a single day. The process of creating a video was faster than creating a blog post. And, it presented a new challenge, something new to learn, and a different way of engaging with my audience. I was ecstatic.
Then, came the feedback. My audience wasn’t happy. I was making changes. They were used to reading my blog posts and now they had to watch and listen to me? Where were the transcriptions? Sure, there were a lot of positive comments, and I certainly don’t want to discount those in any way. But the problem was, that the negative ones got in my head a bit. So, of course, I received more. “Helpful” comments letting me know that my background was distracting, that my lighting sucked, that my editing could be better, that I talked too fast abounded. And, since I had a lot to learn about video production, I listened. At first, it was fun. I experimented with different backgrounds, which wasn’t easy considering I don’t have one straight wall to shoot against. I finally settled on using my fireplace as a background, but people soon told me it looked odd. I used cheap yellow lights, which were hot as hell. As summer approached, they became intolerable. But not using lighting wasn’t ok – according to the screaming masses (or a few individuals who just yelled really loudly).
I decided to solve the problem by upgrading my professional equipment – a black background and a professional lighting. I enrolled in a couple of video production courses, learned about lighting placement, backlighting, the usage of backgrounds (and how to fold them up again. Seriously, I had to watch a Youtube video just for that). I experimented with an auto prompter, reading off a script (basically writing a blog post and then reading it on camera) so my performance would be more polished. I transcribed each video, worked on my editing and did my best to appease the video Gods. And somewhere along the line, it became not fun anymore. I suddenly took me three times as long to shoot one video than to write a blog post. Hell, it takes me nearly that long just to set up all the lighting and camera equipment, not to mention slapping on a bunch of makeup and all that jazz. So, I stopped doing video, not because I was no longer inspired to shoot some, but because I’d worked way too hard at it.
The earliest videos I did, with a shitty background, yellow lighting, a cheap microphone and no script, seem to benefit just as many people as the more polished ones do. The difference is that those early videos took me almost no time to shoot. I realized how fun it would be to just sometimes turn on my webcam and capture a few, quick words whenever I feel like it, rather than always making such a production out of it. I realized that the idea of going back to video, of being able to talk to you, engage with you using more senses really appealed to me. Ideas began to flood in. Inspiration hit. I’d finally popped it.
Why did it take me so long?
But, if this (the idea of changing the blog) is something I’ve gone through before, then why did it take me so damn long to realize what had to be done? Well, like many of you, I’m stubborn about the things I care deeply about. I care about this blog and I care about my audience. I’d begun catering to others more than I was catering to my own needs, and along the way, my needs got a little bit lost. I wasn’t prioritizing my own fun above all else.
For those of you who’ve been with me for a while (bless you!), you may be asking “But, didn’t you go through all of this before??” Well, yes, I did. This is just a new layer of the same issue. I suspect I’ll hit it again the next time I level up. Because this really wasn’t about the blog or my audience. It was a mere representation of a deeper issue – which is that of me owning my power completely (or more and more completely). Honoring how we feel is all fine and good until the stakes get high. It’s a lot harder to do when things get risky. For me, changing my blogging format represented such a risk. Shifting this aspect, popping this particular piece of resistance, opened up a tremendous amount of energy for me (which is why I was feeling so much pressure). My belief in the process and my willingness to honor my heart no matter how high the stakes are, are now stronger than ever. New insights and epiphanies are flooding in, along with creative ideas. It’s like I just unlocked a new level on this video game.
I’ve been playing with this new energy for a few days, and it’s been phenomenal (although I did nearly cause a friend to pass out when I let it out just a little too much). The matrix has become more obvious to me, my beliefs are stronger than ever, my energy more stable than I’ve ever felt it. So yeah, I’d say that going through that frustration was totally worth it.
Well, basically, we’re going to be incorporating a lot more video into the blog. Does that mean I’ll never write again? Of course not. I want the option to do whatever I want whenever I want to. So, if I feel like writing, I’ll write. If I feel like shooting video, I’ll do that. If I feel like taking a week off, I’ll do that, too. But I can tell you that right now, I’m itching to shoot.
Having said that, I’d like to clear up a few things:
I won’t automatically be transcribing all the videos. In a perfect world, I would offer all my content in multiple formats, but right now, this slows me down to no end. But I am looking into having this done, although that means that the transcription would most likely be published after the video comes out until we get into some kind of rhythm (bear with me).
I’m no longer going to care that much about production quality. If I want to haul out and set up all the equipment, I will. But if I’d rather just use my webcam or iPhone, I’ll do that, too. Some videos will be long, others short. Some will deal with general LOA questions, as the blog has traditionally done, some will go much further down the rabbit hole (which I’ve started to do much more frequently this year), and some will allow me to offer my perspective on current issues in the news today (this is new. I’ve rarely done that on the blog, wanting the content to be ever-green. But I feel the inspiration for this coming on). Oh, and I’ve had a couple of ideas for funny spoof videos, so I’ll be experimenting with that.
Some of the videos will be brilliant. Some might be kind of crap. I don’t care. I’m also well aware that I’m making this decision just as it’s getting properly hot here in Spain, making it much more difficult to shoot video without melting. I don’t care about that, either. Having fun and being inspired is more important than perfection. I’m figuring it out one day at a time, just like the rest of you. But I know that as long as I follow my heart – my inspiration – I’ll get where I want to go.
I so look forward to “speaking” to you again (staring next week!) and can’t wait to hear what you think (not because it will change what I’ll do, but just because I love hearing from you guys. I really do.)