Friday, January 15, 2016

100 Days of Calligraphy: Day 3

Day 3 of what I intend to be more diligent and intentional about this new year! :)  It's the first variation of the pressure-and-release stroke.  I began practicing the smaller version of the stroke.  After that, I worked on the upside-down variation which I found to be easier to do.

I think I'm getting better with the control I have over my calligraphy pen (read: no more splattered ink due to intense nib pressure) as seen on the thin and practically uniform downstrokes.  I still have a long way to go, though.  This year, I swear I will be more disciplined and committed to getting better at this. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The One About Grace

And just like that, a new year has begun.

The year 2015 was a year of hustling hard.  I ran two side-hustles (Joujoux and Quaintrelle) with production being a largely one-man department – me.  On top of sourcing materials, designing, producing, and marketing, I had my day job (art teacher) and another full-time job (a wife) too so you can just imagine how my cup is filled to the brim each day of that year.  At first, I did not complain.  I was never one to be idle, even on weekends.  I used to get high on filled-up day planners and loved the satisfaction of crossing out each accomplished item on my to-do list.  I loved being busy; I enjoyed being productive. 

But then you can only enjoy being busy up to a certain point.  In my case, that was when a surprisingly – and overwhelming – delightful response greeted The Quietly Cool Book that we launched during the 15th Global Pinoy Bazaar during the holiday season.  Sure, I loved the people’s enthusiasm.  When my three-week holiday vacation started, I enjoyed waking up and beginning the day in front of Miss Gertie – my trusty sewing machine.  Together, we’d sew our way through all the orders until sundown.  I thought to myself, “So this is what it feels like to work from home!”

Still, being a busy person all my adult life, it was difficult for me to see the line that divides work time at home and, well, just being at home.  My fingers would go numb in the middle of the day from all the crafting and I’d get the sense that I should rest.  I’d take a coffee break and some Instagram time and suddenly, a guilty feeling would creep up on me as if scolding me, “Why are you resting?  Are you actually enjoying doing nothing?  You should be working on those orders.  You have a deadline!”

Don’t get me wrong.  You know that I loooove what I do.  I love it to pieces.  But I love it enough to know when it consumes me too much and loving it does not become healthy anymore.  Because I have become too busy to appreciate it.

When 2015 started, I decided my Word of the Year was HUSTLE.  And I am mighty proud of what I have accomplished last year by being true to my theme.  This year, I initially set out to PURSUE a lot more of my goals but, at the last minute, I thought of being nice to myself.

So for the year 2016, my Word of the Year is GRACE.

Give myself grace.

Give myself grace as I pursue my dreams.  Know that hustle is good but if my body is exhausted, I should give myself grace to rest.

Give myself grace and know that success is not a race.  Success will happen even if I stop for a coffee break.

Allow God’s grace to fill me and to listen to Him.  To follow His instruction so I may be enlightened on His direction.

Give others grace.

Give myself grace and let God take charge.  Allow Him to let things fall into place – in His own good time.

Give grace to enjoy quiet moments like this and not feel guilty about it.

Yesterday, I began filling up my new planner and began setting goals for the year.  I couldn’t believe how changing my mindset from being busy to giving grace reflected my plans and goals.  Suddenly, it was no longer about finishing up all the tasks that had to be done.  Suddenly, it is now all about wisely choosing which tasks are aligned with my purpose and intention.  Because being busy does not necessarily mean being productive.  Because if I give myself grace, I can be productive and still have the chance to enjoy dolce far niente and not feel guilty about it.

So, give grace.

Bring it on, 2016.