Taking small steps creates the environment and momentum for big change.
One of my clients (let’s call her Maya) is a mother of two, with her youngest in preschool 3 mornings a week. Now that she has these few hours of uninterrupted time she’s started dreaming about what she might bring back into her life. She’s an artist but hasn’t made time to play with her beloved art supplies these past 6 years while her children captured all of her attention. Now that she has time she’s struggling to begin.
I’m sure some piece of this resonates with you. I know it does for me. The excitement of the world (or, just a few hours even) opening up to you again after years of nesting.
As with all of my mama clients, I began by asking a few questions about her self-care. Without the basics, like sleep, water, healthy eating, movement and stillness in our lives, creating sustainable change and maintaining momentum becomes a real challenge.
Small steps are part of a holistic process.
When I checked in with Maya she mentioned that she wanted to get better sleep. She felt too tired in those hours to herself to begin cleaning up her studio space, let alone feel the creative juices flowing again. She shared that she often resists going to bed because her bedroom isn’t an inviting space. The bed is always unmade, and there are stacks of books and magazines lying around, and dirty clothes on the floor. At the end of a long day she wanted her bedroom to be welcoming to her.
Maya decided that her first small step would be to clean up and clear out her bedroom. When I asked her how she felt in her body, she said she felt heavy. So we made it smaller. She decided her next small step would be to make her bed each morning. Ahhh…that one felt doable and she felt excited to begin.
You might be wondering how making her bed each day has anything to do with her dream of creating art in her studio space. Here’s what happened.
Maya not only made her bed that first day but she spent the rest of her free time happily clearing out her bedroom so that it would be a serene space to arrive to each night. She looked forward to getting to bed at an earlier hour and began catching up on her sleep. It wasn’t long before she had more energy and less of the brain fog of early motherhood. She began cleaning out her studio and then playing with her supplies again.
Small steps connect you to the present moment.
Most importantly, along the way, she found peace in the time it takes. Instead of beating herself up that she wasn’t immediately creating art again—I mean she had all this time now didn’t she?! She was able to be gentle with herself, to accept where she is at now, and to allow for this new Maya (not the before motherhood Maya) to find her way back to feeling both whole and creative.
This is one of many stories about the success of making positive change in your life one small step at a time. If you live on or near Bainbridge Island, WA I hope you will join me and a great group of moms for the Small Step/Big Leap workshop. There are only a few spots left! I would love to see you there.