Overwhelm Relief For Artists

Do you sometimes look around you at all you have to do, and just want to go running the other direction?

Do you see a huge MESS in front of you, and just feel frozen?

Sometimes, it just feels easier to just binge watch the latest Netflix original, than to actually clear the clutter, because the question that always rises screaming to the top is…

What the HECK do I do first?
Where do I start?

This is ALL important, and ALL of it has to be done.

And yet, you feel completely unmotivated, shut down, and stressed.

Overwhelm comes in, has a party, and steals your precious time.

Projects go by the wayside, deadlines are missed, and you feel like you are just chasing your tail with your Art.

If only you had a magic wand….
Then you could just wave it, and everything would just go away and be magically done!

Sounds like a unachievable fantasy, right?

Perhaps not……

 

Last week my kitchen was a disaster site.

I moved into my new house with my man on Sunday the 25th, and then on Monday, my mother and I attacked the kitchen.

A phenomenal cook, the kitchen is really her place of genius.  Also, my mother is incredible at setting up systems and spacial awareness.  She can look at a space, and knows exactly what can fit there.  During this past move, I commonly referred to her as a packing ninja, and that still may be too soft a term for her talents.

I had my boxes from Astoria with my whole kitchen, and it was time to meld with my man’s, which had pretty much been a bachelor’s kitchen, so there was going to be a LOT of reorganizing, donating, and throwing out.

This was a HUGE project.

First order of business?

Take everything out of the cabinets and drawers.

Next, create piles.
Keep
Donate
Trash
Question mark as to whether to donate or trash

The peacefulness of the kitchen was replaced with absolute chaos. And this chaos spread over a very large space.

It looked as though every cabinet had vomited it’s contents onto the counters, chairs, dining AND living room.

Next we took out post it notes, and decided where everything was going to go.  We categorized and stuck the post it notes on each cabinet door and drawer to know where things would go.

With every cabinet door wide open, and white sticky notes everywhere, I could feel that moment of overwhelm hitting me.

Standing in the kitchen, I could feel myself starting to freak out, the tops of my large Uhaul boxes yawning wide open as if to demand,
Where are you going to put me, Nikol??

And a panic rising for HOW LONG was this going to take?
What was the best way to do it?
Could this just be DONE now?
What about all the other unpacking?

And then something magical happened.

I thought of you, and I knew what to do to overcome the overwhelm.
I knew exactly how to quiet the craziness in my head, and actually step out of feeling stuck.

 

My clients come to me all the time from a place of overwhelm.  It’s so common, we all do it!
And every time I meet them the same way,

I allow them to get everything OUT of their heads and hearts.

Then I chunk it down to ONE step.

ONE thing.

When it’s just swirling around in our minds, it can feel like you are going crazy, much like me believing my Uhaul boxes were yelling at me.

In the process of getting everything OUT in the open, then there is a powerful opportunity.

Your opportunity to prioritize.

Ask yourself, what is most important?

As Artists, we are idea machines.  It’s never a problem of creation, it’s what the HECK do we do with it, and what will actually help me to receive the acclaim I desire and allow me to make a living with my art.

So, take out a piece of paper, and write down everything you need to do for you Art.  Just let it all tumble out, messy and in any form.

Now,

* Categorize your tasks according to marketing, production, networking, etc.
* Within each category, ask what needs to be in place FIRST for each of these lists.  For instance, you will need content before creating a promo period for your next project.  Or you may need to do research FIRST to begin your newest crowdfunding.
* Get super clear on WHAT your end goal is.  Write this down.  Be very specific.  This could be,
Self publish a book
Book summer tour
Do a FB Live promo campaign
Crowdfund new album
Set up website for online sales

** And this is the most important…..ask yourself, What is My Vision?
What is most important to me as an Artist?

Look again at your tasks, and align them with your vision.  If your vision is to perform on global stages, but you have a task that’s associated with building a local network, place this to the side, and instead put your energy towards tasks that get you seen by more, whether that is international connections, or by building up your online presence.

Much like the piles I made with the kitchen, you are deciding what to:
Keep OR Trash

I have a very strong vision for my new home, one where the kitchen is a vibrant place of creation and health that will not only feed me and my man, but the family we are creating together.  Because of this vision, setting up systems and flow are paramount. It also meant that any kitchen tools that were unsafe were going to be thrown out or donated.

Connecting back to my vision really helped in that moment of overwhelm, once I remembered to chunk it down to ONE step.

So, I chose ONE cabinet and started to put things in it.
Then when that was done, I chose ONE other cabinet.

One step at a time, all towards my vision.

And my mother and I were able to get the kitchen set up in two days.

My panic for the amount of time lifted the moment I chunked it down, and connected back to WHY I was doing this in the first place.

 

So, what are you working on right now?

Once you lay out all the steps, and eliminate what is no longer necessary, what is left?

And what is ONE thing you can do today?

Chunk it down, and watch the magic unfold, much faster than you thought possible.

Turns out, you are powerful.

 

Sweet Farewell

I wanted to tell you, I’m leaving.

Looking around my apartment, I’m envisioning packing up.  I’m thinking of everything that is coming with me, as I plan to move in with my man,  and begin a new life.

The decision has been made.  After 4 years in my special sanctuary in Astoria, I’m beginning the process to re-locate.

And the question that is arising is,
What am I bringing WITH me?

And what about you?

Have you ever gone through a big move, and packed up your things?
Have you ever gone through a big change and found yourself asking the same question?

I imagine as you are looking at all the items, and boxes, and lists, it can get really overwhelming.

If there was a way to strap everything to you,  maybe then you would have it all.

But, I imagine that would be really heavy, and cumbersome, and weigh you down.

Change can be hard enough, right?

How do we make it easy to navigate change and have everything we need as Artists?
How do we move forward without all the cumbersome weight?

 

Four years ago, I woke up in my hide-a-bed.  My brother was sleeping next to me, and I felt a sense of hope.

Today, I was leaving my married home for good. 

The new owners were taking it over, and my family was here to help me move my things to a friend’s for a month while I waited for my new apartment to open up.

I had barely slept, and had spent the last day breaking down every hour or so as I packed up my life.  Two of my closest friends had come to help me, hold me in between each wave of emotion, and physically help me to place tape on each box.

Today, we were taking all these boxes to a storage facility.  I had gone through and taken what I needed, and stayed true to the agreement.  I had survived each trigger, and now was going to walk out of this space of pain and loss.

I felt an extra bounce in my step, and hopped into the shower, smiling at my parents and brother, so grateful they were here.

When I came out of the shower, my mother looked at me, white in the face, and said,

Someone broke into your car. Your car door is open, and everything is gone.

I literally dropped to the floor in my towel, and had a nervous breakdown.  What had been in my car, was all the things I was taking to my friends house,

shoes
my audition book
my checkbook
my belts
clothes
legal documents
my meditation altar
my dance shoes

Even my underwear…..

All gone, just like that.

In the face of my divorce, losing my marriage, and now I had been robbed.  All of those things I had cherished were gone.

We called the cops, and somehow I made it through that day, and tried to wrap my head around the magnitude of change and loss that was occurring all at the same time.

This was my lowest moment.

The next day, at my friend’s, I sat in meditation, and saw a black lake in front of me.  I walked to the edge, and thought,
I could just dive in
I could lose myself forever in here

But, something held me back.  And I walked away from the edge.  I didn’t dive in, and instead turned back towards my life.

The strongest words I said in the face of my divorce came ringing back true and strong,
I want to survive.

What I never imagined was the GIFT of losing so much that day.  I was forced to provide for myself and go shopping that following week for very basic things, and the simple process of doing this brought to light the most empowering evidence,

I am capable.

Even more so, I was showered with gifts from friends and family who knew about my robbery.  One friend sent me a bag of clothes, and my aunt mailed me a box full of belts.

I rebuilt my altar, made a new audition book with songs that I actually wanted to sing, and found new shoes to fit my feet now.

The most amazing part was, my insurance reimbursed me completely for the $4K worth of goods stolen.

And I realized, I am provided for.

And there were things that didn’t need to come WITH me to my new life, post divorce.  Certainly not my underwear…..

 

So, take stock.

Grab a piece of paper, and write in the middle of the page,
MY CREATIVE CAREER

Now, create a Mindmap, drawing out from the center all the things you are working on right now.

All the things you think you need to have WITH you to succeed and receive the acclaim you desire.

Come back to center and ask this question,
What lives beneath all that I do as an Artist?

1) Are all the things you are doing and holding on to in SERVICE to that vision?

2) Or are you weighed down with boxes and items that are from your past and keeping you stuck?

Sometimes, it the action of releasing that ALLOWS for the new to enter in.

We create from our hearts.  This was never meant to be heavy work. But it does require courage, and inspired action.

 

This week I was on the phone with my mother, and talking about the upcoming move and starting to plan.  She suggested the most brilliant idea, and this woke me back up,

Make a list of what you are leaving BEHIND.

Oh yes…that’s right.

That moment on the floor was one of the most horrible for me and for my family to witness, and yet it opened a well of strength and reserve I had never accessed before.

The strength to let go.

And the belief that I actually had everything I needed.

This was a huge turning point for me, and allowed me to start building a creative life that was far more aligned than the one I was living before.

So, what lives beneath all you do?

Get intimate with this, and place it somewhere you can SEE everyday.  Come back to center.

Come back to your vision, and place your energy towards what will actually bring you the success you desire.

Make a list of what you are leaving behind, and release sweetly.

You create the life you want.

 

 

Photography by: Caitlin Cannon