Do you know what it feels like to lose your sparkle?

Me and Nico Boon

Guest Post over at Roots of She

My guest post on The Roots of She is up today! You can find it below as well.

Do you know what it feels like to lose your sparkle?

Every once in a while, maybe even once a year, I feel low and uninspired. My wildness is gone, my desire to even do anything about said wildness is nowhere to be found. I am living, but I don’t really feel alive.

At different times I’ve blamed it on parenthood.

I am a mom. I have two kids under the age of five. I would happily crawl into bed each night at 8pm (and often do). I am also an artist and an entrepreneur and don’t have one of those glamorous full-time nannies you see on the television. Like you, I work hard, stick to my routine and collapse on the couch for an episode of Project Runway every night.

Where did my wildness go?

I have been wondering about this as I approached 40 last year, asking myself if this is a function of age or children or just having a different vision of what qualifies as fun as I grow older.

Maybe it’s not actually wildness I crave but aliveness.

How can we find our aliveness in the exact circumstances we find ourselves in? Without changing a thing, how can we find our spark, the thing that lights us up, our joy, within the routine, the commitments, even the exhaustion?

I think one of the gifts of getting older is getting more and more comfortable with who we actually are. After years of trying to be a better version of ourselves, trying to be more fabulous and perfect, we relax a little into embracing our wonderful, ordinary, as-is selves. And create from there.

What makes us feel alive now might be different than what came before.

Let’s all make a list, a quick and dirty one, of what gives us energy, what lights a spark in us, what delights us.

Got your pen and paper? Okay, set a timer for 2 minutes. Go!

Here is mine:

  • sharing a meal with a friend
  • a hike in the woods
  • a trip to the ocean
  • putting on great music and painting, especially with friends
  • dancing (especially my Nia class)
  • inspiring conversation
  • going on an adventure somewhere new
  • color
  • a great art opening
  • a perfect cappuccino
  • going on a photo walk
  • authentic conversation with people who get me
  • taking portraits of people
  • laughing with my boys
  • riding a bicycle
  • traveling somewhere colorful
  • serendipity

I have been teaching a class on dreaming for the last several years. We teach folks to imagine what we call their Mondo Beyondo dreams – the most outrageously wonderful things they can imagine happening in their lives. For many of our students, dreams they never thought possible actually come true.

But here’s the thing: In the end, it’s not really about our dreams coming true. It’s about who we are becoming in the pursuit of our dreams. Are we becoming the most alive version of ourselves? The bravest, most authentic expressions of who we are?

That’s how our dreams serve us. They tell us who we are and who we are becoming. They pull us toward a version of ourselves that inspires.

And the things that make us feel alive? Well that’s another way in. It’s like coming from the other direction. Doing more and more of what lights us up will not only bring us joy, it will pull us closer to our dreams.

Next time you feel like you’ve lost your spark, just reach for that little list. Forget about goals, ambitions and all the things you think you ought to be doing. Just start with those little things that bring you joy.

9 Comments

  1. Posted May 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Nico is GORGEOUS!

  2. jessica
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Dear Andrea:

    Get your sparkle on, girlfriend!

    You may feel like you are in a slump, but let me share something with you.

    Since stumbling across your blog…fortuitously and serendipitously…my life has changed. I have started writing a blog of my own. I am playing more, dreaming more, taking more photos and, yes, worrying less, too.

    Perhaps you’ve lost some of your sparkle because you’re sharing it with others; you’re like the Rainbow Fish that gives away it’s beautiful scales so the ocean ITSELF becomes a more dazzling place.

    Read my blog to see some of what you’ve inspired. I can’t WAIT to take your basics class so my photos become better.

    http://the-point-is-this.com

    Also, you should know that the kids at my school (I’m a 3rd grade teacher) are participation in national tests this week, which means there’s a lot of anxiety in the air. To balance that out, I’ve suggested a bubble flash mob on Friday in the auditorium. It’s an idea that I got right from the blog hop you did in honor of Plant a Kiss. Amazingly, after proposing the idea, I found out that Peter Reynolds, the illustrator of Plant a Kiss, will actually BE at the school on Friday. How cool is that?!!

    My point is that you are spreading magic all over the place and you DON’T EVEN KNOW IT! Be inspired by that, m’lady. And a big, big thank you.

  3. Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    lovely post, thanks for the reminder!

  4. Posted May 8, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Loved this!

  5. Mariella Newton
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Oh, Andrea…I love you so! Your posts these past few weeks have been hitting home for me. I’ve wanted to comment on them. I ponder over them throughout the day, but I have so much to say, I don’t even know where to start! Sometimes when I’m reading your stories I feel like I’m looking in the mirror. It’s surreal. Surrender and I have been having a go-around for a few years now…still working out the kinks. :) And, of course your posts on connectedness, silence, sparkle…yes,yes, yes! Oh, I can so relate. I got an email from Teahouse Studio letting me know there was an opening for Sun. OMG, I was so excited! I tried to juggle things around, but it was too late. I can’t make it up there this time around. :( hopefully, sometime soon! Dying to give you a hug, girlfriend! So grateful for the stories and words of wisdom that you share. xo

  6. Posted May 11, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Awesomeness. You inspired a happy list from me. :) http://thecraftyhomestead.blogspot.com/2012/05/list-of-happy.html

  7. Posted November 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let
    you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.

  8. Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:14 am | Permalink

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  9. Posted December 29, 2012 at 12:33 am | Permalink

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