I’d love to tell you that I start every morning with with a cup of a tea and a sketchbook. Well, I do…sort of. The calming ritual of tea, pen, and paper is the first thing I do in the studio each morning, but, if I’m honest, I check my calendar and my email before I even get out of bed.
If I don’t, I’m completely distracted by wondering what’s waiting on me. I may not be able to respond to everything right away, but I do need to know what orders have come in, or what urgent crisis might be about to usurp my day.
Bright and early Monday morning—Cyber Monday morning, that is—I received what any online shop owner dreads, an email from the night before that orders weren’t going through and customers were getting error messages when they tried to check out.
I sat up ready to jump into my bathrobe and onto tech support, when I fully took in the time of day. It was well before 8:00 AM. The orders people were trying to place were mostly on the West Coast. Odds were, no one else was freaking out at that exact moment. In fact, most of them were probably still sleeping, so I did something uncharacteristically brave: I brushed my teeth and took a shower. Now that might not sound unusual, given that basic hygiene is part of most people’s morning routines. What was brave was that I took care of myself first before jumping into tech support.
That whole oxygen-mask-on-self-first thing has always been a challenge for me. As I contemplated it mid-shampoo, it hit me why the metaphor often only works in theory. Ok, yes, if you’re on an airplane, you’ll literally pass out if you help someone else before you put your own mask on because it’s oxygen, and if you pass out, you begin a domino effect of needing help instead of being able to give it.
Life, however, isn’t always as streamlined and obvious on the ground as it is 35,000 feet in the air.
If I didn’t grab breakfast, or at least a cup of tea, as I got on with tech support, I probably wouldn’t pass out, but I would be shaky and grumpy PDQ. Oxygen-mask-on-self-first = a saner day (for me and everyone in my house).
Once upon a time though, one person’s inability to place an order through my website would make or break my ability to have enough money for groceries for my family. That’s where the oxygen metaphor gets confusing.
You’ll note that while water is #2, it’s for drinking, not showering. Showering is probably #6 for me, right after #5 warm, safe shelter and #4 clothing.
If someone forced me to choose between the ability to wash my hair every day and having art supplies, I would face an existential crisis.
So back in those leaner times (and we all remember 2008!) if one customer’s order = food (or not), it felt impossible to believe that solving the crisis ASAP didn’t equal taking care of myself as well as my family.
In crisis mode, everything involved in surviving feels like an oxygen mask.
Realizing life will go on if I can’t solve the tech problem and taking care of myself first also means embracing the privilege of relative success with immense relief and gratitude.
While I was deeply grateful for food, family, and friends on Thanksgiving, it wasn’t until Cyber Monday that I fully felt the gratitude for my own success and the people, like you, who have supported it along the way.
I’m still scheduling time to nest and create work that inspires joy, and I recently released my complete 2023 online schedule!
We’ll be kicking off 2023 with the Extended Eastern Repousse Course.
Early Bird registration is open now, and the course is filling fast!
The new, extended version of one of my most popular workshops is designed to help you achieve mastery of this technique beyond the class projects. It’s the perfect way to kick off a fresh creative project for the new year.
You’ll enter a new realm of individualized, online metalsmithing that gives everyone a front seat for live group Q&A coaching for their projects, fits demos within your own studio schedule, and creates a strong sense of community.
Save $125 off full price when you pay in full during the Early Bird registration period!
Don’t wait to sign up. Early bird pricing ends Dec 19, 2022.