Distancing from my own head

Last weekend a friend came round and we just sat out on the back deck all afternoon. Talking, watching the breezes move the trees, eating lunch, listening to music.

We were talking about things we miss, and one of my greatest ones is travel. Not the constant travel – I’m getting my eyes opened to the fact I was rushing too much, going too many places too fast, more “work travel” than I had energy for. But I do miss the freedom to be able to go somewhere when I take the notion. Particularly my favourite places, like the Isle of Mull (or any of the Scottish islands), and Glenfinnan, and Glencoe, and these remote places in the highlands and islands which never seemed that far away. (But now they seem very far.)

My friend asked, what is it which makes those places feel so restful, such a break from being where I am? What is it about them which is so appealing and so difficult to do without? (Other than the beauty and quiet.)

After all, I do have a lot of beauty here, right round the corner from my house. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will be familiar with the woodsy walking paths I take every day – the flowers, the trees, the river, the deer and squirrels and foxes, the everyday beauty that never gets old. How grateful I am for those! How much more difficult lockdown would be without them!

But even with those – even with all that beauty, the flowing river and quiet spaces and greenery –  I still feel a bit confined, a bit restless.

So when she asked what it was, I thought about it, and imagined myself sitting on the edge of the sea, with little yellow flowers all around me and the vast skies reaching out to the horizon, and the quiet and the peace – and the space. The endless space.

I thought about the traveling to get there. The preparation of snacks (every road trip must have a snack satchel, naturally), the long car ride, the changing scenery and weather all along the way. When I go to the islands, the waiting for the ferry to come in, then driving on, walking up to the top decks, watching the mainland drift away, arriving in another world.

And I realised it’s not only the distance from here to there, but the time required to get there which is part of the peace and rest. Part of helping me to break from the now, the daily, the work, everything filling my mind constantly.

It’s like the time and the movement and the distance actually physically give me a break from everything going on in my own head.

Currently in Scotland we’re not supposed to be traveling beyond locally. This means roughly 5 miles from our homes.(Everyone I talk to seems to feel that’s a “guideline” and not a hard and fast rule, but even those who have been stretching it themselves agree that 90 miles to Glenfinnan is definitely beyond the guidelines, and doesn’t honour the intention of the rules.)

I’ve kept very near home the whole lockdown time – partly because that’s how I understand the rules, but partly because I’m sort of an all-or-nothing kind of person. I could look around for places nearby to visit, but it’s actually not new, near places I want to go to. It’s the far, familiar places I want to go back to. To take my time, and drive, and see, and listen, and get space. Space for my head, space from everything swirling around in it, and distance from the daily life.

This week in Scotland we’ve got the first hints of tourism opening up in a month or so. It’s extremely exciting and for the first time in months I’m looking at places to go and things to do which are further away from my house.

There’s a little part of me which is saying “don’t get too excited” – we’ve all seen how quickly plans can change – but I’m trying now to go ahead and make some plans, and hold them with an open hand. If I get to finally go a further distance, and get some space for my head, that will be a blessing and I will enjoy it (perhaps more than I even did before!). And if we have to put it off and wait a little longer, I can do that too.

After all, “control” was always an illusion. I don’t have control over the weather, the world’s health, my own health, or even my ability to go anywhere. I do believe God’s got this – me, the world, and all these things – and there is good coming from it. I will love it when I can go a further distance than I have for months, but the distance isn’t what saves me. The distance isn’t what sorts my problems out. The distance is just a reminder of the process my mind goes through to sort through what’s going on in my head.

Hope you’re doing okay, and beginning to see hope wherever you are. 

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I’m not actually bummed about the grey weather we’re having. Here’s why.

I went for a walk in the MORNING today, which felt like i’m winning at life. 🏆 

Lately I’ve been fitting in my daily walk at 9 or 10pm after a long day of meetings. I’m super grateful for the way it’s still light so late at night, but a walk-at-end-of-day doesn’t have the same motivational kick as the walk-at-the-start. 🌑 

So that one little thing I did puts me at champion status, and affects my entire mindset for the day. 💪 

There are a lot of contributing factors to this morning’s walk, but the top one was that it was grey, cool, and windy...which is far more motivational to me than bright sunshine. 🌬 

I know, it’s weird.

The rest of britain is like UGH WHAT A SHIT SUMMER and i’m here going um...i really, really love the rain. And clouds. And cool breezes. And grey skies. ☔ 

I’ll join in the conversation and be like yea, yea, it really does suck...but that’s just to start conversation and show British solidarity. Deep down I don’t think it does suck. 👀 

I do like sunshine, but after spending 25 years of my life in Arizona, I don’t love or crave the heat. ☀ 

Anything over about 20 degrees and i start getting a bit antsy...and my limit is “23 with a breeze”. 😎 

If it’s higher than that I’ll literally hide inside, not rush out to sit in a beer garden or at the beach. I really don’t enjoy heat at all. 

So thanks grey skies and wind, you helped a lot today. 💪 

Just me? Everyone else dreaming of 30+ degrees and sunshine?? It’s okay if you are...i just...don’t get it. 🤣 

#justkeepgoing #walkoftheday #goodmorning #wegotthis #onestepatatime #motivation
Cancelling things is a superhero skill.

Not all the time, of course: we want to be trustworthy.

And the sheer stubbornness of being a business owner is good.

I can do it. I will do it. No matter what! I can make. this. work.

A product, an event, a new hire, a business.

So we keep pushing. Show up, send the emails, make the phone call, record the videos. More training for the new hire, more new hires. Make sure we never let anyone down.

Of course, things happen. We get sick, something happens to a family member, or there’s an emergency and we need to shift things around.

But cancelling things can be a superhero skill: when you do it well, knowing why it’s time to cut the cord and communicating it well.

Here’s some of what I consider when I’m trying to decide if it’s time to dig in, or stop & go another direction:

1. Does anyone even know about it?
Sometimes it’s been a big part of your business life and used a lot of brainpower, but no one outwith you and your team know it was meant to happen.

2. What’s the cost of not doing this now?
The full cost, more than financial, including:
- Motivational cost for you, team, clients
- Decreased trust for clients
- Loss of strategic partnership connection

3. Could you replace it with something else?
Another day, an online option, a template instead of custom build? Sometimes a replacement isn’t a cancellation at all. You’re doing it, but in a less costly way.

4. Do I have the energy and appetite to keep going?
I can do it with an automaton approach…but given the other things on my plate, where do I want my energy to go? How much do I have to give? Will it renew energy, or drain it?

I ended up cancelling a small event recently, & whilst I was disappointed, it was the right decision for these reasons.

It can feel embarrassing...but cancelling something can be a superpower, if it’s done well & communicated clearly and honestly. And when it’s more the exception than the rule.

Anything you are considering stopping? What impact might that have?

✨This is from this week’s Creative Headspace note. They go out every Friday - except for the rare occasions I skip a week for my own sanity. 😄 Sign up in bio!💌