A Post About My Heart and Soul and Money

It’s important for me that you know that I never sit down here to write to you without doing some real work, first. This is a job. I feel like I’m working for you and I’m working for me and I’m doing what it takes to feed my soul. And when I’m feeding my soul… maybe my soul helps to feed you a little bit. That’s my goal. That’s what my intuition is telling me is happening.

Most of the time that work involves seeming like I’m doing nothing. If I come up with an idea and I’m still thinking about it the next day, it’s a contender for a blog post. If, after that next day, I’m still mentally discovering new things about that topic, I’ll sit down and write out a bit of a draft to see if I can actually take it anywhere.

That’s where I’m at right now. I have been thinking for the past week or so about telling you that I’m always giving you the soft parts of me even when it might not always seem like it.

Even when I’m just doing a roundup of the things that happened last month. Or when I’m posting a Meet Me Monday interview. Or when I’m writing a book review. I’ve never written to you without unzipping myself and laying a piece of myself out there for scrutiny. I do that on purpose.

So, the reason that I wanted to tell you about that is because I want to talk about something that people don’t talk about often: money and how I make it. I went and got some new blog sponsorship. If you look down at the side bar of my site, you’ll see some ads there. I try to make sure that I only team up with brands that I think you’ll actually resonate with, buy from or care about. I’m always looking for new companies and if you have some favorites that you want me to know about, let me know because I want to provide you with things you’ll actually use.

After I write out a draft, I’ll let it sit for a little bit. I’ll come back to it the next day or a few days later. I’ll either edit the crap out of it–carving away at it like a sculptor until I’m standing here completely in love with what has showed up… or I’ll feel like what I wrote, originally, is exactly what I want to say. And I’ll just hit publish and wait for the praise, and money to come rushing in to me (just kidding, that has never happened).

More often than not, I’ll see that there’s really nothing of much use here, today, and this won’t be published at all. But it wasn’t a waste because every minute spent working on this frees up space and air to create something that is waiting to get born. It’s all a part of the gestation process and I’m not mad at it. I trust the process. I’ve been doing this long enough to know what I need and what I’m capable of.

The thing is, though… I often wonder if anyone knows how hard I and others like me work and how much effort goes into this job. I’m not saying that because I feel like I’m not getting the recognition I deserve or anything. That’s not the point of this post at all. It’s just that sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know so just in case, here’s what goes into creating content. And not just here on the blog but on my Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook group, too. Everyone says that bloggers should have an email list with exclusive content just for list subscribers but I don’t know, man. I don’t know if I have the emotional energy to create another thing. And I’m not sure I’m even mastering what I’m doing as it is. Not only that but who in their right mind wants to sign up for another email list?

That’s why I have these ads along the side of my page. So that, by chance, you might want to go place an order from someone and then, six months later, I’ll get a deposit in my account which equals, usually, about 8% of whatever you spent on that other website. It’s a very round-about way of making any money but it’s what’s available.
The Amazon affiliate program is better because more people shop with Amazon and they pay out more often (once a month) but I feel icky putting Amazon links into my posts. I really don’t believe in Amazon but it feels like if I want to make any money (usually only enough to buy a latte while I’m working on a blog post at the coffee shop), this is the route that I have to take. And I want to get paid because if I don’t get paid, I’m going to have to go back to working for someone else. I’m nervous to do that, though, because history tells me that when I do that, I get sick and I don’t thrive and I never have the energy to create. I’m afraid that if I do that, I won’t be able to write or paint and it might kill me. I know that sounds dramatic and maybe it is. It probably is. So, anyway, what I’m saying is that I’ve got to get paid and the only way to get paid is by schlepping goods from companies that don’t hate the very most and feeling a little bit icky about it.

But, I kind of feel like, there’s got to be a better way. Right? Like, is it completely unreasonable to break the mold a little bit?

I have an idea. I have a few ideas, so hear me out. I decided, you know, what if instead of posting a bunch of links that I hope you might maybe buy from, I’ll just put a link up there on the right side of the screen (on a desktop, if you’re on a phone, it’ll be at the bottom of this post) where you can help me out if you want to and if you don’t, that’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to. I just wanted to be straight forward with you and allow you to make your support as easy as humanly possible. This isn’t me asking for money. This is me making it easier for you to support one of the artists that you believe in. And if there are other artists that you want to support, hey just ask them for their paypal information. I promise you, they’ll be delighted. Consider it like a tip jar of sorts. I got this idea from Staci Jackson at My Friend Staci. She has a tip link on her site as well.

Also, I have an online shop in the works. I’m going to be selling postcards and prints of some of my work. That’s coming in the next several weeks and I promise to keep you updated as that comes about.

Thanks for always being great and for hearing me out when I come to you to talk about stuff like money.


On A Good Day

Today has been one of those days where things are just alive with cohesion and ease. You know those days? Those few-and-far-between-days?

It was my first day back to normal after the relaxed schedule that the holidays afforded us. I’ve been sick for the past week and yesterday was the first day I’ve felt really alive in a while. Today I’m nearly completely back to normal save for some residual sniffles. So I was really really excited to get back into the swing of things. Fall into routine again. I expected that it would be a tough day. I expected that I would have to force myself to work and that it would be clunky and stupid and I would be frustrated.

There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen. –Rumi

I really want 2018 to become the year that I learn how to find, recognize, and work with my flow, so this morning I just practiced it. I let the dog out, put on a pot of coffee, sat down at my desk and thought, “what next? What’s going to get me into a creative space?” So I pulled out my journal and started writing. And it went exactly the way I hoped it would on my most ideal day. One page about, “I don’t know what to write about” leading into another page about the dry, desolate plainscape that is Kansas in January where every comfort is man made. The the polar (pun intended) opposite of Kansas in August. Isn’t it delicious?

I filled two pages and thought what do I need next? I wanted to change my clothes but first I needed a shower. I needed a shower but first I wanted to move my body for a while. So I moved my body for a while and really paid attention to how it felt. How it felt to sweat and how it felt to move gracefully and how it felt to support myself and be caring of myself. How it felt to strip off my clothes and step into a hot shower filled with eucalyptus. I even put my dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Can you even?

And then, since we did laundry last night and I had the pick of every single thing in my entire wardrobe, I got to stand in front of my closet and wonder, “what exactly do I want to put on my body today?” What fabrics do I want to feel on my skin, what colors do I want to glimpse out of my field of vision? I settled on leggings (for full range of motion) and a striped t-shirt and cozy socks.

Just now, I ate a bowl of vegetarian chili and I didn’t eat more than I needed and I didn’t multi-task as I was eating. I was mindful and grateful and thanked past-me for making leftovers for current-me to enjoy. It felt so good. I feel so in-tune with my body and my mind and my needs right now. Like I’m firing on all cylinders.

I’m watching a big black dog run through the back yard behind our house. I love, love watching big dogs run fast. It’s alive-making. Have you ever watched a dog run as fast as it can just for the joy of it? I feel like I’m in tune with that dog, today.

After this, I’m going to sit on the floor and do a guided meditation for creativity before I start working on my other projects. This is what flow feels like, today. This is what I’m like when I’m my very, very best self.

AND also–I know that this is not ordinary. Mornings–especially first-day-back-mornings, are usually at least a little bit annoying. In fact, you’re probably annoyed right now just hearing about how my day is teeming with perfection. I know, if I wasn’t so perfectly mindful and zen right now, I’d be at least a little annoyed at my own self (this is where I’m tempted to employ a winky face emoji).

I could make a mental note to decide to do exactly everything the exact same way that I did this morning so that everything will always feel this good and perfect every single day. And I’ll do those things. And there will be days when things *don’t* go so great. And I’ll get so frustrated because I did everything right. I’ll have ruined this great day by making an example out of it when I could just sit back and soak it in and feel gratitude for the good days.

There’s still a second half of the day ahead of me. A day when I’ll have to work with the general public and when I’ll rely on things outside of my own control to happen in order for me to be able to get to places and do things and there are a hundred things that may go wrong. And they can. Maybe they won’t but they could.

Because things just happen and we respond however we respond and that’s what we’re in charge of. Sometimes the coffee is a little more bitter than you like it and some days you’re wearing that pair of underpants that slides down all day and some days there’s an ache in your neck that you can’t get rid of and some days someone said something so outrageous that you have to talk about it on the internet. I don’t say that to scold us into having better attitudes at all. Do whatever you’re gonna do. But let’s recognize the ownership we have over every moment that we’re in.

Even if the rest of my day happens as seamlessly as the beginning did, there’s still tomorrow. Tomorrow might be hard. In fact, it probably will be quite hard. Especially with a great day like today so fresh in the back of my mind to compare it to. And that’s fine. Every day is a new day with new challenges and new opportunities.

I’m my best self in this very moment right now and so that’s why I’m writing this to remind me, when I’m not my best self, it’s okay to have shitty days. Sometimes our shitty days are just that–just a wash and we’ll be glad when they’re over. But sometimes our shitty days are invitations. Invitations to change. Invitations to take ownership over our moments.

This is me on a good day.