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Giving Reverence and going for it

This past weekend, I made a drum.

Giving Reverence And Going For It

Here she is! I call her my moon drum – she’s made of buckskin and dyed with indigo.

It’s something I’ve been wanting to make for years but have been terrified of even attempting for various reasons.

Reasons like…

I would make the drum incorrectly and offend the spirits of the indigenous cultures who originated drum making. (yes, really)

That I was culturally appropriating a sacred art that wasn’t my of own lineage (being a white girl who is most likely descended from european colonists), therefore shouldn’t be allowed to do it at all.

That I wouldn’t properly honor the animal whose hide I would be working with.

That it was not cool to use a dead animal’s hide to make something for my enjoyment.

…or that I would mess up and my drum wouldn’t work because I wasn’t working with a master teacher.

Now, you might expect me to follow that up with a statement about how all that limited thinking is BS and that I am worthy of my creative desires and that I should take a dabblist approach to this project (like any other!) and simply begin.

But I actually think a lot of these reasons I gave are important ones to ponder. I’ve seen many well-meaning people around the world dive into indigenous crafts without being thoughtful about the cultures that originated them, the teachers who share their knowledge, and sustainability and sacredness of the materials used.

The key distinction here is that, while these concerns are important ones to ponder, they aren’t necessarily reasons NOT to do something.

Giving Reverence And Going For It

I have been wanting to make a drum for years now, and all those concerns I listed above turned into a belief that I, as a human being, wasn’t worthy of making one at all. Or that I would need to travel to a far off land and pay lots of money to work with an indigenous elder to do so (that sounds amazing actually…but not realistic for me right now).

So, after years of yearning, a few close girlfriends and I made the decision to gather and make drums together – and we committed to doing it with intention and meaning.

Giving Reverence And Going For It

This is how we did it…

We searched the web for medicine drum-making kits that was a sustainable source of hides and settled on this one.
We agreed to make it sacred and spacious by scheduling a whole day (so we wouldn’t feel the need to rush).

We soaked our hides (the face of the drum) the night before. I soaked mine in indigo to make mine a moon drum.  I filled a bucket with water and added the dye and the hide, making a little ceremony out of it with sage and setting an intention for the drum.

All the women brought food homemade with love to nourish us throughout the day. One of the women even made us a delicious elixir with cacao to open our hearts and calm our hands.

Before we began our drum making, we took some time to go around and check in with each other. Each woman had 5-10 minutes to share how she was feeling and what was going on in her life. It’s a wonderful way of including each other in what’s going on with us, to laugh, to cry, and to ground us in the present moment.

We lit a candle, put our hands on our hides and gave thanks to the animal (the deer, the elk, the buffalo) that this hide belonged to – to honor its life and set the intention of doing that with each beat of the drum.

We set intentions for each of our drums – speaking them aloud and writing (or drawing) them on the inside of our drum frames. My intention was for this to be my moon drum and to represent the soft roar of feminine leadership I wanted to call in for myself and others each time it beats.

Giving Reverence And Going For It

Then we began.

We had paper directions that got us started. Then we had to look up fuzzily shot tutorials on YouTube to keep us going. We cursed. We giggled. We worked in silence. We hummed along to our playlist.

Then it got hard.

We got confused, and a little paralyzed. We stopped. We texted our friend who had made 3 drums before and within 15 minutes she showed up at our doorstep with a drum (and some grapes) in her hands. She burned some sage and sang a song to us (with her drum) which immediately soothed us and had us diving in again to tie and tighten our drums.

“Ohhhh, this is the hardest part,” she said. “You’re getting close!”

We sighed, bowed our heads, and kept going.

She sweetly guided us back to focus and determination – having us pull harder, wrap tighter, continuously wetting the hide and sinew with a washcloth to prevent them from drying and hardening.

She kept saying “this looks amazing!’ whenever we noticed imperfections (like the mole on the buffalo hide, the way the indigo was smudging away and getting all over my hands, or the weird knot I had to make to salvage my sinew and move on to the next set of strings to tighten).

It was all perfect. We made our drums with our very own hands. It felt sacred.

And then we had to trust.

Trust our drums would dry and tighten enough over the next few days (they are a little flappy when you are finished). Trust ourselves not to touch them until they were dry. And to be grateful for the work, the toil, the sweat, and the joy of the whole process.

Afterwards, we stretched out our backs, hungrily ate more food, and drink hibiscus lemon honey tea to nourish ourselves after our long day. I went home and took a bath and crashed right into bed.

That was the sacred art of making in sisterhood. It felt like a beautiful way to honor, give reverence, feel gratitude, and also make my very own drum.

Have you ever stopped yourself from making something sacred because of the fears I listed? Or maybe there were other (somewhat valid) reasons? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!

And, if you’ve made a drum, I want to see it! Tag me @thedabblist on instagram with a picture of it.

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Giving Reverence And Going For It

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The Buzzkill of Comparison and what to do about it

Most of my days, I am a joyfully focused human being.

Most of my days, I’m singing while I’m trying a new recipe or playing with my curiosity through a new creative dabble.

Most of my days, I am inspired to share my own dabbling journey – inspirational quotes I come across and bits of wisdom I’ve acquired along the way.

Most of my days, I have the fuel of my passions and deep confidence in my work. I feel proud of what I’ve created, as imperfect as it is, and deeply connected to the tribe of people it touches.

But sometimes…I have other kinds of days.

Days where I go on a social media bender and get sucked into my newsfeeds comparing other people’s highlight reels to my behind-the-scenes all access pass.

Days where I stare at the cursor on my screen willing something to come out but can only feel the overwhelm and pressure of trying to be better than the epic newsletter I just read in my inbox.

Days where I walk down the street with a messy bun and yoga pants past the woman in the breezy french dress and beautifully braided hair and feel my head and spirits begin to wilt.

I have thoughts like, “There are so many brilliant, vibrant creative women sharing their voices out in the world right now. Is there really room for one more?”

On those days, I spiral into the dreaded COMPARISON, and it’s really hard to get myself out of it.

Comparison can reveal itself in small ways like the sting of seeing someone else’s instagram photo of their gorgeous, european vacation to stopping you in your tracks from creating and launching your next big project because you saw someone else doing it “better.”

Instead of looking at people to share their wisdom and knowledge as inspiration, comparison shows up as holding yourself up against them and look for all that you lack.

Big or small, comparison is a huge de-motivator for your own expansion and growth as a human being. Comparison kills creativity.

The Buzzkill Of Comparison & What I Do About It

Illustration by Aimee Sicuro

Here’s how I deal with comparison when it comes up…

1. I remind myself that I’m feeding off of an illusion.

Comparison is never a representation of what’s real and true. It’s creating a story about how you aren’t good enough based off a false reality. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and say to myself, “what is true about this, love?” It helps snap me out of my pattern of negative beliefs and helps to get me back on track.

2. I invite myself to see what’s stirring inside me and send it love.

When you are intimidated by another person’s success, you are actually recognizing the desire and potential for that within yourself. So I am feeling stirrings of comparison or envy, I take a curious look at what that characteristic is.

“Just as much as we see in others, we have in ourselves.” ~William Hazlitt

And then I turn my “compare and despair” into “admire and inspire.”

I send that longing within myself (and the person I’m seeing it reflected in) so much love and compassion and pure admiration. I drop into an appreciative mindset.

3. I create the conditions to lessen comparison.

In other words, I consciously put my blinders on and focus on my own sh*t.

This includes putting myself in environments that lessen comparison and feel more inclusive. A big part of this is limiting my social media time. I’ve installed the news feed eradicator chrome plugin to make my facebook homepage less triggering and distracting. I’ve also removed all social media from the home screen on my phone.

And then, I get to work on what inspires and lights me up – not based on what anyone else is doing. And the less I see what other people are doing, the more I can connect to what my own creative wisdom wants to express.

This is where dabbling is your friend, sister.

To loosen my own high expectations of my driven self, I take bite-sized baby steps to shake off the comparison hangover and get back into my own creative flow.

What about you?

How do you deal with comparison in your life and work? I’d love to know in the comments below!

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The Buzzkill of Comparison & What I do About it

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Taking {Summer} Stock

Currently, I’m fully enraptured by the siren song of summer.

What a sweet and sultry sister she is – giggling with delight as she beckons you into her spell with watermelon slices, gauzey cotton dresses, and warm nights that make you want to howl at the stars and moon.

Are you with me here? Captivated by the ageless childlike wonder that is summer? Let’s keep twirling around together with the midnight fireflies and never let it to stop, ok? Let’s make popsicles with freshly picked berries and clink glasses of sparkling beverages and sing songs of our childhood until we giggle ourselves silly.

In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of my current state of affairs…

Taking Summer Stock

  • Making: Candles! I have 55 pounds of beeswax leftover from last year’s A Handmade Holiday and candles are calling my name.
  • Cooking: All the things from the Summer Recipe Swap the ladies of The Dabblist Collective are contributing to (strawberry salad is up next!).
  • Drinking: Iced matcha lattes with homemade almond-cashew nut mylk.
  • Reading: All the books by Sarah Addison Allen since I devoured Garden Spells a few weeks ago.
  • Wanting: To spend more time at swimming holes (with rope swings) this summer.
  • Dreaming: Of entering my own pies, pickles, and vegetable art in next year’s county fair.
  • Looking: For all the answers within, and not outside of myself.
  • Playing: LEMONADE. As fresh as they day it was released.
  • Deciding: What the next set of tutorials and gift making kit items will be for this year’s A Handmade Holiday. #christmasinjuly

Taking Summer Stock

  • Enjoying: Recording The Lunar Lab Podcast episodes with my friend Maia where we get to be both playful and super honest about how we run our businesses. {see Considering below}
  • Waiting: For 31st birthday celebration idea inspiration to hit me. Got any ideas?
  • Liking:  My new goddess clothing and jewelry I got at Spiritweavers Gathering last month. A girl can never have too many ceremonial kimonos, you know what I mean?
  • Wondering: If I’ll ever get around to making soap, or if I’ll keep coming up with silly excuses not to. {Yes, even I resist creative work!}
  • Pondering: A new offering I’m dreaming up for my peeps who want more sacred making and ceremony called the Wise Woman Inner Circle. It’s still too fresh to share but coming, I promise.

Taking Summer Stock

  • Considering: How to align my day-to-day business tasks with the cycles of the moon
  • Watching: Season 4 of Orange is the New Black
  • Hoping: My cat, Gorilla, doesn’t lick my eyebrows at 4am again tomorrow morning.
  • Marveling: At how Garrison Keillor performed 42 seasons of incredible storytelling with ease and joy. {goodbye, Lake Wobegon!}
  • Needing: To go to the farmer’s market at least twice a week this summer. So much abundance and allll the flowers.
  • Smelling: The faint scent of glorious campfire still lingering in my hair and laundry basket from our Big Sur glamping trip last week.
  • Wearing: A lot of homemade face masks lately. My new fave: raw honey, avocado, and egg whites.
  • Following: @howtohairgirl on instagram. She takes hair adornment to another level.
  • Noticing: How amazing women like Stephanie Burg and Sarah Jenks are taking a stand for body love during swimsuit season. Because we all deserve a summer of boundless joy and cannonballs into the water.

Taking Summer Stock

  • Knowing: That when I drink 2 huge glass pitchers of water in a day, I am a happy girl.
  • Feeling: So grateful to have been married 5 years to my beloved.
  • Admiring: My soul sister Marnelli, who recently launched her dream company Luxe 30. It’s been amazing to watch it go from a little ember of an idea to the ups and downs of creating to finally birthing it into the world. So proud of my girl!
  • Sorting: All the emails in all the inboxes.
  • Buying: Fresh fruit and flowers…and epsom salts for my sore summer muscles.

Taking Summer Stock

  • Getting: REALLY into soul cycle. It’s like the greatest club I’ve ever been to {without the booze and with the empowering affirmations}
  • Bookmarking: Summer creative projects to dig my hands into.
  • Disliking: Road rage and dirty politics.
  • Opening: My heart and mind to new opportunities, connections, and idea
  • Giggling: At the movie, Zootopia. The sloths are hilarious!
  • Feeling: Deeply grateful for the women in The Dabblist Collective community. Their creative projects, insights, and support of each other blow me away on a daily basis.

That’s me {in this moment, anyways}.

So what’s going on with you?

What’s ripening in your garden?

What have you been making this summer?

Tell me your dabbles and what you’ve been up to in the comments below.

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Taking {Summer} Stock

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Opening Yourself Up to Deeper Connection with Women

One question I’m often asked is about how to cultivate deeper relationships with women, especially if you are an introvert or live in an area where there doesn’t seem to be a lot of creative, conscious ladies to connect with.

I find this topic of sisterhood fascinating, because it’s something every woman wants (to feel deeply connected to and not judged by other women), yet so many struggle with finding it.  

Some women find it easier to open up and find kindred spirits in online communities, and see their local community as competitive and catty.

Some women are simply in different life stages from another (being single, motherhood, or retirement), making it harder to connect when you aren’t all in that same stage together or have to dig to find things in common.

Some women are super introverted, and putting themselves out there feels super scary for them.

…and some women who grew up with mothers who didn’t feel safe being vulnerable around other women and emulated isolation, fear, and judgement with women instead of compassionate sisterhood.

Regardless of your personality type, life circumstances, or geographic location, you have the ability to connect more deeply with women in your community.

I’ve talked about the power of sisterhood before – how we have lost the art of communing with women and how creating together in sisterhood is an ancient practice.

A woman’s true transformation cannot occur in complete isolation. It’s more powerful in the context of community. Community is vital to feeling that belongingness.  And a sense of belongingness with other women is key to a woman’s well being. Most women don’t realize they need it until they get itMaria Molfino

Knowing that sisterhood is a vital component of your own well-being, it’s worth putting in a little work to cultivate it for yourself.

I like to think of a community of supportive sisters as a tall, strong redwood tree.

But that redwood tree didn’t begin it’s life that big and tall and strong. It started as a little seed, that needed water, fertile soil, and sunlight to grow.

In order for you to grow your redwood tree of sisterhood, you’ve got to tend to your seed.

The water is saying yes to invitations when they come (which might mean moving around your schedule to make it happen and not letting it slip away in a flurry of rainchecks), the fertile soil is being brave and asking that cute, fun girl in your yoga class out to coffee or tea after class, and the sunlight is complimenting her on social media or sending her an email checking in on her a few weeks after you’ve met. The compost could be, instead of wishing you had a group of women you could meet with every full moon, is starting one yourself – on your living room rug with a potluck and chai (even if it’s only 3 people in the beginning).

Where your attention goes, energy flows is one of my favorite sayings, because it’s sooooo true.

Yes, we’re all busy, but if you really want a deeper relationship with women, it starts with you. It doesn’t need to take up too much time, but the reward is nourishment on the soul level.

I want to hear from you!

For those of you who struggle with this, what gets in the way of cultivating sisterhood in your life? 

For those of you who feel like you have a wonderful community of sisters, what did you do to cultivate it?

Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.

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How Passion Projects Will Make You More Successful

At any given time, I’m working on at least one passion project on the side.

As a dabblist, this comes very naturally to me. I’m constantly feeling inspired by new ideas, creative methods, and materials I want to get my hands on. But our society generally undervalues this concept of passion projects.

It’s often seen as not being serious or appearing like you have your head in the clouds or that it’s a waste of precious energy that should be focused on more important tasks. We live in a culture where we often wear busy and stress as a badge of honor to show that we are hard-working, so it can be difficult for people to embrace their dreams passion projects for fear of appearing less serious or hardworking in their professional lives.

I think that’s such a shame.

As healthy, normal humans, we crave breaks from our work. We need time to rest and recover so our brains can keep working.

But, for some reason, much of our society chooses passive activities to escape the everyday strains and pressures like drinking in front of hours of Netflix (guilty) instead of more meaningful leisure activities for their own growth and development.

These passive activities often lead to boredom, which usually turn into apathy and depression. It’s not actually helping the brain recover and get back to work feeling refreshed and anew. In my experience, it’s contributed to an increase in workplace malaise and frustration.

Passion projects make you a more successful, balanced, and healthy human – in your work, in your relationships, and in your aspirations.

This is backed up by research, guys.

A 2014 study by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that creative hobbies help employees recover from the demands of their job and show up feeling more fresh and focused on their work projects. They call it creative recovery.

We all need creative recovery in our lives. Whether it’s from a demanding office job, juggling a full family schedule, or from crushing it everyday building your own business. I am taking a stand for passion projects, saying we need a resurgence of them in modern society, starting with you.

We need your passion projects.

 

In doing research for this piece, I came across a post on Medium by Hiut Denim Co talking about the 3 rules (I prefer to use the term guidelines) to apply to your passion project:

  1. It’s Low Risk. It doesn’t require you to make a living off of it, or put food on your table.
  2. It’s Low Pressure. It doesn’t have a deadline, so there’s no time pressure for you to finish it and make it another thing on your to-do list. This also makes it so you can try new things, experiment, and take risks.
  3. It’s a Labor of Love. It’s something you want to keep coming back to and naturally want to finish, because it brings you so much joy.

Some of my most meaningful work started as a passion project.

Take this blog, for instance.

Almost 5 years ago, I felt compelled to create things with my hands, take photos of them, and share them on the internet. I had no plan for making the blog into anything beyond what it was – a creative passion project that filled me with much-needed joy and inspiration.

If you are reading this and feeling a huge blank when it comes to what that passion project should be, then check out my downloadable guidebook on discovering your passion project here.

I’m going to be teaching a live workshop all about setting yourself up your success with your next Passion Project on Thursday, June 9th and Friday, June 10th.

live workshop

I’ll be talking about how to choose the right passion project for you and your current life and schedule, how to make a plan so you keep coming back to it, and – most importantly- finishing it.

I would love for you to join me live, as these workshops are always so fun and people get a lot out of being there together. But, if you can’t make it, still sign up because I’ll be sending the re-play out afterwards.

Register for the workshop here!

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