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  • Writer's pictureSue Bulmer

Doing and Being

I’ve just been re-reading an old blog post I wrote many years ago, back in the day when blogging was the thing, before short form social media posts existed and people spent more time reading longer form content such as blogs. I used to blog regularly, charting my creative business progress from the very early days when it was a dream rather than a business up until about 2015. The title was ‘Be More Productive’. As I read it, I had a silent little smile to myself as I thought about how the way we think changes throughout our lives.

The premise of the blog post was that, as I only had limited time to spend on my creative business, I felt I needed to make the most of that time by being as productive and efficient as possible. I have always been a planner (so it seems some things don’t really change) so I went on to talk about to-do lists, tasks, tick boxes, chunking time and alternating activities. I waxed lyrical about how all of those techniques for saving time and being productive have served me so well and I sounded so please with myself!!

(* Okay I still admit to drawing my own boxes next to my tasks on my to-do list and noticing the little dopamine hit of achievement as I tick them off one by one. I even made a list today about the jobs I have to do this weekend. Write blog post is number 6 on the list so my pen is at the ready for the next tick in the box!!)

One part of the blog post really stood out to me… it was this:

What’s the age old saying... 'Fail to plan, plan to fail'... definitely true and if you plan your time well you will be left over with much needed down time, to spend however you so desire, friends, family, on your own, reading, walking, cooking or just being spontaneous’

I noticed the thoughts that immediately entered my head as I read this…

‘but shouldn’t we be planning in our down time rather than squeezing it into what’s left after all the jobs and tasks have been completed?

These ponderings made me realise how much I have now changed since I wrote the initial words and since I’ve been more consciously living aligned to the seasons. I now value the ‘being’ as much as the ‘doing’, it’s all just as important to life, just as the seasons turn, we have time for growth and time for rest. This feels so much more sustainable than growth, growth, growth (which, for me, usually results in burnout). This is how I now live, listening to the seasons, what’s going on in nature, planning in the times for rest and it feels so much better.

The late summer part of the year has intentionally been a time for rest. After a gentle easing in to the year and my decision to take 2023 to turn inward and make art just for me I embarked on my year long project making one handmade sketchbook per month and filling it with seasonal inspiration. This was followed by a big spurt of growth in Spring which culminated in my first online course, 'Creative Soul Sketchbooks’ which was released in June. Through July and August I’ve taken some time to sit back as nature starts the ripening process in readiness for the harvest. For me this has consisted of time to make art, time to be with friends and family, time to cook lovely nourishing food and time to swim. I’ve made a conscious effort not to think about the next season but just to let the fruits (or new ideas) ripen, ready for sowing in the Autumn.

So I invite you to embrace this time of the year, enjoy the ‘being’, take the time, plan in the rest so we are ready for the work we can begin after we have sown the seeds of our ideas which will grow into the coming year.

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