The Compassionate Creative Blog

I just spent my first holiday ever, alone. And? It was fucking terrible. I wish I could say that the solitude led to a deep spiritual experience where I went into an altered state and further deepened my connection to The Universe. I’ve had those experiences before, they’re pretty awesome. But not this time. It just sucked.


There was an hour of zoom dinner prepared and hosted by a dear friend that was beyond lovely. But before and after sucked. I wish I had a better, more refined word, but I'm from Missouri where the only thing associated with refinery is petroleum. So I’ll stick with Suck.


Now, you might think, “Complaining isn’t very compassionate.” (Or maybe that’s my own judgement?) But I think part of compassion is calling something what it really is and identifying how it truly feels. Because you can't mitigate, change, or heal something you don't acknowledge. To glaze over it and pretend I didn’t think it sucked would be to spiritually bypass myself. And bb, it's 2020 AND WE ARE NOT DOING THAT ANYMORE HONEY BUN. So here it is: Thanksgiving Sucked. Going an entire day without talking to someone sucks. Being alone all the time, sucks. There. I said it. I felt it. Now let’s party.


Question: How do we heal the trauma of loneliness while we are still experiencing the isolation that’s creating it? To be honest, I’m not quite sure we can, yet. I saw a tweet that said something like, “You can’t start healing until the hurting stops.” And I think that’s spot on for pandemic loneliness. HOWEVER, I do think we can alleviate the weight of it, even if only for a collection of moments. So here are some hot hot solo tips* I’ve picked up along the way:


1. Stop talking to people who make you feel like shit

If you are living alone there is no one physically there to support you when you feel like shit. This sucks. So avoiding people (you don’t have to cut them out forever, it can be temporary or even reduced) who make you feel like shit is a surefire way of preventing the suffering they inflict. The mute and block buttons exists for a reason. Use them. Now, if you feel "bad" about using them, ask yourself this, "If this was 1995 would this person be in my life AT ALL?" If the answer is no, do what feels best. TBH I have never muted or blocked as many people in my life as I have since March. Yes, it’s very hard but your life will suck less once it’s done.


2. Sing

You wanna feel better? Sing a few bars of WAP. If that’s not your bag, you can also chant Om. Or if you think you have a stinky singing voice (you don’t) simply hum! All of these actions stimulates the vagus nerve which tells your brain that things are okidoke which then tells your parasympathetic nervous system to chill you tf out. I'm literally humming as I write this. 10/10 would hum again.


3. Stop trying to fix things

This one comes from my therapist. When she was like: Maybe just stop trying to fix it for a while? I could feel something in me relax. Like maybe month 9 of isolation isn’t the time to perfect my bedtime routine? Maybe I can give it a LITERAL rest until after round two of my vaccine?


4. Modify Anything and Everything

Yeah you use to be able to run a 10k and keep the dishes out of the sink. But it’s Covid Time. No one knows how to deal with this “correctly” because no one alive has ever dealt with this. So if you need to modify something you use to do to get even a teensy bit of it done, do it. For me this is meditating while lying down. I’m usually a big fan of sitting up. But sometimes it’s really cold and my energy is in the toilet. So I surrender and meditate lying down. Which, BONUS: You’ll have completed a task before you even get out of bed!


A handy dandy journal prompt to help you start modifying is to ask yourself, “What am I judging myself for not being able to do fully? Can I modify it to create more ease?”


5. Meet me online at Together Apart

I know we’re all zoomed out but Together Apart isn’t your regular degular online meeting that you have to plaster a fake smile on to join. It’s an online support group for singles living alone during the pandemic. We’re gonna work with some of the above suggestions and create space to share and come up with new ones. We’re also going to meditate and have fun, because I refuse to do anything without the possibility of a good time. You can come as you are with your suck and your wins. It’s all welcome in this space. Many hands make light work, so let’s come together to alleviate the emotional weight of this pandemic. Our first meeting is Tuesday, December 8th at 7:00 central. You can register here.


If Together Apart isn’t your jam because you’re married or live in a commune, join me online Saturday December 12th at 11:00 am central for Creative Power Hour. 1 meditation. 2 prompts. Endless possibilities. This month’s theme is joy. Which I think we can all use a little bit of ;-)


*These tips are not once size fits all, nothing ever is. You are the resident expert in your life so modify and ignore them as you see fit.

Love,

Shanna

Hi!!!! Just a quick love note from your friendly neighborhood creative coach reminding you that just because you make something, doesn’t mean you have to display or share it with the public right away or hell, ever! Your satisfaction and appreciation are always enough. In fact, if you are new to a medium or recovering from a creative injury I highly recommend you proceed with gentle loving caution when it comes to sharing new work with an audience.


Why would I tell you this? Because your creative work is a sweet tiny newborn baby. You wouldn’t go handing your baby off to a group of chain smoking strangers and hope for the best, would you? No. You would wait for that baby to grow up a little bit. You would wait until you felt fairly comfortable (I say fairly because no one is ever 100% comfortable sharing their work. And if you are, maybe you can become my creative coach?) before letting that little turkey toddle out into the great unknown.


Now you might ask, “What should I do if my baby is a giant toddler and I’m still not comfortable sharing it with the world but I need feedback?!” Find yourself a Creative Midwife. This is someone who loves you and has the ability to see the potential your baby can grow into. This second part is super duper important so I’m going to type it again: Choose someone who has the ability to see the potential your creative work can grow into. If you share your creative baby with your partner who is an optometrist that loves Coldplay and has never made art in their life, well they might love you but they probably won’t be able to see your creativity’s potential. Sharing your newborn freshy fresh work with this person is a form of self-sabotage. Please don’t do it. Your baby deserves better than that.


Now, how do you know if someone can see your baby’s potential? Welp, their feedback will make you go “Ahhhh! Great fucking idea!” Or if you weren’t raised by sailors, you might omit the word fucking. Do you. All I know is a true Creative Midwife’s feedback won’t make you feel like shit. Because as Julia Cameron says, “True criticism liberates.” I don’t know about you, but I sure do love me some freedom.


If you want to dive deeper into your creative process, join me Saturday, November 14th for Calming The Inner Critic-An Online Workshop. Register here. And as always, join me for my monthly Creative Power Hour on November 7th. This month's theme is Healing. Snag your ticket here!


Want to talk about 1:1 or group coaching? Schedule your free 20 minute consultation here.

Many of you know I am obsessed with meditation. I do it every single day. I write them, I guide them. I live laugh love meditation. It was and is a huge healing tool for me. It is also a practice that I support all of my clients establishing. Many folks have told me that they want to start a practice but they don’t know how/aren’t good at it/insert blocked statement here. Below is a handy dandy list to help you work through some of your concerns, because IMHO meditation is for everyone!


1. Check Your Ego


There is no such thing as being “good" at meditation. I know we love love love to assign good and bad to everything that we do but honey, that just doesn’t work with meditation. Meditation is a practice. An attempt. It is something you do to bring yourself closer to the core of who you are. There is no binary in meditation. There is only you and your attention, which is vast and constantly expanding. If you want to start meditating, let go of “being good” and make space for “good enough”.


2. Don’t Make It Precious.


Stop waiting for the perfect time, place, candle, meditation pillow, shawl, guide-WHATEVER. Just do it. And then do it again the next day. They say perfection is the enemy of progress and that applies hard af to mediation. I actually like to keep a list of all the weird places I’ve done it. So far that includes: a plane, trains, buses, a beach in Iceland, the desert, in an ER. See? It’s fun! Don’t make it precious. Make it yours.


3. Do Use Your Supercomputer!


You know that supercomputer in your pocket? Use it. If you’re serious about establishing a practice you’ll need someone to remind you. And in the immortal words of Jennifer Lopez, “I ain’t you mama.” But your phone can be! I suggest scheduling three reminders a day. Morning, noon, and night. Do not clear that final reminder until you have completed your meditation. I’ve meditated every day since August 24, 2017 and I STILL have two reminders a day on my phone. Just in case shit goes sideways. Set a reminder!


4. Connect To An Existing Daily Habit


TMI but for me this is my morning pee. Wake up, pee, sit. Done. But maybe that doesn’t work for you and your schedule? Maybe it’s after you get the mail, right before bed, or the five minutes in the parking lot before entering your workplace. IDGAF. This is your practice, attach it to whatever works best for you. You’re in charge.



5. CELEBRATE EVERYTHING!


I am very much a person who thrives on positive reinforcement and pleasure. So when I hit my first 100 days I bought myself my favorite bubbly as a treat. For 300 I made a date with a friend to go to the Olive Garden. For two years I threw a giant potluck party at the beach in Chicago. These are things I love. What do you love? Set a kind and reasonable goal and then reward yourself with that love. What do I mean by kind and reasonable? I mean ask yourself, “Considering my lifestyle, existing obligations, energy level, and current bandwidth, what is a goal that won’t make me feel like shit trying to achieve it?” We’re not in the shit making business. We’re in the meditation business! If you are brand spanking new to the practice try hitting 14 total sessions and celebrating. Do they need to be 14 days in a row? I don’t know, is that kind and reasonable to you? You decide! Hey, maybe you should meditate on it? ;-)


If you want to start or continue your practice you can Meditate With Me Wednesday, October 21st on Instagram Live at 3:00pm central with Guest Artist Jeff Binney. We’ll be meditating on procrastination! Be sure you’re following me on Instagram so you’ll be notified when we go live!


You can also follow me and listen to my meditations on Insight Timer (my preferred free meditation app!) and join me at Creative Power Hour Saturday, October 10th at 11:00 am central. Register for tickets here.


Want more guidance? Schedule your free 20 minute consultation here.


See you at the sit!

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© 2020 Shanna Shrum