Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Living Within Your Means

If there's one thing I've learned about living a creative lifestyle, it is this: you can not operate at your full creative potential if you're constantly worried about money.

It is only now, in my early 30's that I am starting to comprehend how much of a practical feminist work "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolfe is.

To quote The Indigo Girls, "I wrote papers about her in college, but I didn't know what I was talking about."

If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. In this book, basically, Virgina examines why more women don't go on to become business people or creatives. It comes down to a simple perspective. A woman must have money - meaning a way to support herself that is not dependent on anyone else that can be taken away. One can not reach their full potential if they're constantly worried that their electricity might be shut off or that someone will get mad at them and kick them out onto the street.

The second thing that Virginia says a woman (or anyone) needs to be creative is 'a room of one's own.' This means space and time to be able to sit and hear one's inner voice. It is very hard to concentrate on creative work when you have no corner, no time where you won't be interrupted by the daily ins and outs of life.

I am very lucky. I have all my essentials. I have a house that is warm. I have food for myself and my family every day. I have clean water to drink that comes directly to my house. Not all people have these bear essentials in their lives. When I look around the world, I see that I am fortunate.

I am also fortunate to have Hubby. He helps in all the child rearing things like changing of diapers. He helps with the chores that need to be done and understands that, mama needs some time, just needs rest or some time to be the "me" I was before my identity of "mama."

Hubby is much less social than I am. In order to function happily, I need hang-out with friends. I need to be able to cut loose and stay out all night and drink coffee and talk. He has his time away, too, with his martial arts. But we respect each other enough to understand the need for time away. And give the other their occasionally needed breathing room. This, I think, is one of the most important things of being in a psychologically healthy relationship.

But, really, the most important thing for us is the money. Everything is taken care of. Everything we need, we have or can get. This is thanks to many different kinds of support systems. My family, we do not live extravagantly. We don't think we have to have a brand new, flashy car. We don't need the latest in cell phone technology. We don't even need an entirely new wardrobe every year. In short, we live within our means.

We don't have massive debt. We don't rack up credit card bills. We make, we make due, or we do without.

Living within your means is one of the biggest things you can do to support yourself, creatively. As the quote from Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) says, if you're not demanding that your creativity support a very extravagant lifestyle, it can be about where your art needs to go. It doesn't have to be about how much money it can make you.

I've known artists who have fallen into this trap of needing their work to make them a certain amount of money. They get burnt out very quickly.

Art, writing, dance, creativity of any kind does not thrive when you're constantly worried about your next mortgage payment or rent. You can not give of yourself and your talents, fully, if you're coming from a place of lack. In order to create, our hearts must come from a place of abundance, where we feel that we are taken care of, we are safe and valued. Only then will our spirit be able to speak its' deepest truth.

Reduce, my beautiful souls. What do you really need out of this life?

Keep this in mind, my lovelies. I encourage you to live more simply. I encourage you to live more sustainably and, more than anything, I encourage you to live the life that you've always wanted. A life that makes your eyes sparkle, makes your heart break open and makes your spirit sing.

Until next time, my dearests, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,


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