My conclusion from the last two posts… As I mentioned previously I was being bombarded with indications that yet again, a change was necessary. The Etsy feedback was the last bit of Spirit nudging that I needed to sit up and pay attention. The search was on. What will works for where I am now? I spent time in quiet reflection as I move mentally through my life, noting what felt joyful, what felt stressful, what thoughts brought me peace and which brought relief.
As to the feedback issue, I have never subscribed to the “customer is always right” baloney. Yes, baloney. J This goes back to my waitressing days. Simply because a customer purchased a .70 cup of coffee did not entitle him to crude, unkind or just plain rotten behavior. To me, it entitles you to a cup of coffee and a smile. Period.
So, here I am, smack dab in the position of dealing with customers, once again, who may feel this entitlement, which opens me up to (possible) constant criticism and negativity. No matter how perfectly, or carefully I create a product, it will just not be what some people want. And not all of them will respond in a kind and courteous manner about their dissatisfaction. Some will yell. Some will complain. Some will be downright nasty. That’s part of the challenge of an online business (any business), and it has left me distinctly uncomfortable since the very beginning, but much more notably lately.
If you follow my blog you’ve read posts over the last month or two where my focus was to constantly readjust my life in order to fit in my shopwork. I did create time and space to do this with each new reassessment, but I began to notice that more and more of the small joys in my life were being cut out to make room for this one big joy. (Big in the sense of time, but not necessarily importance.) And it did bring me joy. I loved the challenge of it, the journey of learning which I seem to feed on. But over a succession of days I have come to some very powerful conclusions. The most shocking to me is what I chose in regards to my shops, of which I’m managing three at this time. For the time being I have decided to shut down both my Etsy and Artfire shops which sell my Inspiration Earth products. I figure they can safely languish in vacation mode for the time being. The strange and unexpected relief I felt told me this was definitely the right decision for now. I don’t know what I’ll feel next month, next week, tomorrow, but for now, I know. It relieved me from hours of computer work each day. It released those hours and freed them up for the rest of the joys in my life. It opened those hours for reading, writing, schooling, chatting with my girlfriends, hanging out with Scott, camping, crocheting, growing, relaxing… blogging. ;) This decision in no way reflects my passion for living green. I will simply find another way to share my knowledge and affect the change that I so desire. I have no doubts that Spirit will lead the way.
I have decided to keep Simply Smitten open, home to all of my clipboards. I’m thrilled to share with you the news that that large order I referred to came to fruition. I have an order for 25 boards!! J I can get started as soon as the supplies arrive ~ I’m excited to begin and start creating again! I’m so relieved that I finished cleaning up Smitten before all this came to pass. The fact that I was dreading tackling the others shops was a clear indication (in retrospect) that things, they were a-changing! For whatever reason, keeping Smitten open feels right, so I’ll just go with that. I can feel that I’ve temporarily shut down the energy flow as I work through these questions, but as I reach the end, I feel excitement at the possibility of having time to create again. I feel a paper shopping spree coming on… ;)
School is back on the top of the priority list where, for me, it belongs, and has always enjoyed a solid standing. I’ve got a new plan, one that addresses each of my concerns. I feel energized for the first time in months, excited at the thought of diving back into school instead of stressed and slightly desperate. Take the option of public school off the table, it doesn’t still appeal to any of us. But,
Taylor is in high school now, will be in the fall, so it’s time for them to take more of their education into their own hands. Last Saturday, my entire afternoon was spent preparing this week’s workload. I then handed them their schedule for the week, while at the same time handing them more freedom. They may tackle it in any way they choose, as long as it’s complete when it needs to be. Jordan
I make myself available for a couple of hours each morning (versus the 4 or more that it always has been) where we discuss the history chapter, or I help with algebra, or we work on Spanish. This plan works because while it gives the girls more freedom, it gives me more time. I still get time for my morning meditation and journaling. Willie and I still enjoy our morning walks. I’ve got project ideas and subjects I’d like to explore with them, and this opens up time for both of those avenues also. It leaves time for them to do what brings them joy each day ~ creating, holding chicks, growing gardens, reading, blogging, or simply watching the clouds roll by. J Soon, I plan on blogging about a day in the life of a homeschooler, it’s been an amazing journey for us. Yes, I chose this path, motherhood and homeschooling, with eyes and heart wide open. But it isn’t all of who I am. While a large part of my life, not all of my life. This is a way for us to learn and grow together, while exploring who we are separately. Amazing concept, right? I feel it's what homeschooling is all about.
Scott is up early with me on the days that he works, and while he sat eating his breakfast the other day, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. We suit each other so perfectly for this journey. Not because we’re so alike, but because we are so very different. He gives me the space to be me, to explore new ideas (constantly) and to change with the slightest thought or inclination. He provides for us uncomplainingly, an unspoken agreement we came to years ago when we decided to have children, and I decided to embark on the adventure of being a stay at home mom. Being fiercely independent, sometimes this is hard for me to accept, but I’m slowly (sloooooooowly) leaning it’s okay to accept the support of others. I’m releasing my death grip on the notion that I have to do it all on my own. What a relief to allow someone else to help me shoulder the responsibilities. And yes, this discovery is coming after almost 17 years of marriage, but it brings me great peace all the same. J
I believe I’ve already mentioned that I’ve revamped my cooking. I don’t try and multi-task, I simply cook. I cook for the enjoyment it brings, the health that it brings and the future delight it will bring while filling our hungry bellies! ;) It has become a mindful meditation for me again, and that’s not only reflected in my state of mind, but in the meal itself. I’ve found that being wholly and completely present is the key to a happy life. No matter what the task.
I’ve discovered that blogging is my voice. My voice for change, for peace, for joy, for health, for self discovery, for Mother Earth. It is my forum to share and learn and grow. You have all helped me to realize this from your heartfelt and touching comments. From your support and thoughtful words. There are many days when I read the bits of inspiration you’ve left me, and am so completely overwhelmed with gratitude. Spirit has given me such asolid system of support, in a completely unexpected place.
I’ve decided that what really makes me feel great is giving. I’ve got some plans in regards to that, but I’ll keep it a surprise for now. ( Hint: it has to do with you!) As soon as life permits me a chunk of time I’m going to remodel this blog and implement some changes. I’d love to get on a weekly schedule, and maybe now I will have the time to do just that.
Once more I’ve found my way through the myriad of signs, suggestions, nudges and guides. Using my feelings as a compass I’m where I need to be, for this wonderful day anyway. The summer has opened up before me, I find myself intoxicated with the possibilities. I always know when I’ve reached the place where I'm meant to be ~ peace permeates all that I do. So now I will forge ahead, living as my heart tells me to, and hoping that you’re here to share that journey with me. I wish you all a day filled with an abundance of blessings and the comfort of knowing that you too are exactly where you're meant to be. :)
Peace ~ Melinda