The night before last I had dream about a small black bear. In this dream I was quite frantic and found myself running all over the yard trying to protect my things from this meddlesome creature who seemed intent on destroying my handiwork. She dumped over cans, ravaged through containers, and made a mess of all of my carefully sorted belongings.
I study dreams and take my own quite seriously and get excited when an animal shows up. The Native American tradition of an animal or spirit guide has intrigued me in the past few years and I have found that certain animals do tend to appear in my life in a timely fashion. Often their appearance correlate with an event, a big change, or a new season burgeoning for me or my business. The bear totem showed up last winter (timely as I was hibernating) and stuck around for a few months. She did seem a bit more out of place here in the late end of June appearing out of nowhere. At least I thought it was out of nowhere until I started to re-read about the symbolism of the bear on MorningStar.
The bear totem encourages those who it visits to take refuge in their “den”, conserve and properly store energy and to keep with their own internal pace. That little bear roving around in my subconscious throwing my things about messing up all of my best laid plans.
After this last show in Nashville it became obvious that I need a break… and maybe a long one. Running a business is a lot of hard work, but part of what I love about being self employed is that it never feels like work. I love what I do…. and usually traveling around the country for shows feel like an extension of my work/play. This year though, with my wedding and custom business growing quickly and getting more and more involved, I have come to realize that I am a bit more drained and less energized by doing so many events on top of all of the work here at home. The travel, set-up, and days of heat (away from my den) has been harder and harder on me this summer and I end up quite grumpy and cross by late Sunday evening when I’m driving home.
Last year it was quite the opposite… I would come home from a show weekend after weekend buzzing with good energy & excitement which I could live on that energy high for weeks. Now, working 5 days a week on orders, trying to prep for a show and then traveling all weekend doesn’t delight and inspire me, it makes me really tired. I want to do my best work and I think in order to do so I am going to have to scale back the amount that I do and limit the number of big shows I participate in. I was never interested in production work on a crazy big scale… I love the little, hands-on, creativity-intensive custom work very best and want to get back to those roots with more and more time in the studio and less time on the road.
So now with the help of my meddlesome bear companion I’m taking another look at the way I am doing things. I am asking myself (about my whole life, not just business) what things energize me? Which tasks or obligations drain my energy? What makes me excited? What do I dread?
I’m self-employed not only so that I can make a living, (ie: make money) but also so I can make a life. To do that well I find that I have to constantly trust my gut, or my “hut” as the brilliant Alexandra Franzen calls the “heart + gut combo” where all of the truth lives. Dreams play a huge part in this for me as does just paying attention to how I feel when I’m doing certain things and letting my desires & passion (as well as my play) lead me into the work that I feel the best when I’m doing it.
What about you? Can you relate? Does this all sound so self-indulgent? If so, how’s come? Oh, and have any creatures been showing up in your dreams lately?