I'm having loads of fun with these giveaways while I'm writing and painting away on my BOOK :) Interviewing creatives and mamas is keeping me grounded during that process, and it's really fun for me to bring others into my space regularly again. Thank you to all of you who show up to appreciate these women.
This week's giveaway is pretty special because Stacy de la Rosa is one of my dearest friends. Witnessing her evolution from stuck and low to vibrant and prolific has been a tremendous gift. It always intrigues me when a person grows into a place where they can find delight with working with what they've got and doing what's in front of them to do in the most magnificent way. Stacy's taught me a lot about staying connected to the present moment, and I'm so happy to share her course, Getting Naked with the Now: Rooted in Gratitude, with you today.
What were your motivations for creating Getting Naked?
I know from experience that in healing ourselves we can also heal others which is why telling our stories and sharing our truths is vital to the growth and healing of us all. I decided to share what the whole of 2011 was about for me by making it into a six-week photography based e-course on the value of gratitude. My jewelry business Bella Wish was birthed in this same way in 2008 - I created a talisman for myself while pregnant with my first daughter. It really helped me hold on to hope during those months and I wondered if something similar would help other women as well. It turns out the answer to that question was yes.
How did you begin this course? Was there a catalyst?
In 2010 I gave birth to my second daughter. When she was around 8-months old I found myself exhausted and depressed, and guilty for feeling this way. I was unhappy in our home life and my husband was working long hours. I found myself depleted, isolated and resentful being home alone with two babies ten hours everyday in a tiny apartment. I was desperate to change our situation and see my life as more whole - I knew this time was precious yet I was having difficulty being present to it. I've always loved photography since my first class in seventh grade but it wasn't until I lost my second pregnancy in 2006 when I discovered my camera was also a healing tool. While on a walk with my girls one morning, I brought my camera determined to see something new. I followed an old photographer's exercise of shooting a photograph every 100 steps to shift your perspective. Those steps awakened something and brought me back to myself. It became the catalyst into a year long study of using my camera and my journal to completely change how I viewed my life from the inside and the world around me. It rooted me down in gratitude and as a result continues to expand my life in wildly wonderful ways that I couldn't have imagined at the time. It's brought me out of survival mode and into a space of thriving. I am now someone who is madly in love with her life - the peaks and the valleys.
How do you balance being mama with doing your creative work?
In two words - I don't. Balancing motherhood with work of any kind is a constant dance that I admit I'm not always graceful at. However, I recently moved into a studio space outside of our home which seems to bridge the two a bit easier at times. I found that giving myself an actual work schedule, one that separates my home life from my work life, is the closest way I can find balance. Plus I am eternally grateful to have a flexible working schedule so I can be present for my girls. I wish to model for my daughters, and all women, that they can create work they love and follow their dreams, but I also can become quite stressed if I don't have focused, quiet work time where I can recharge. That stress is not something I wish to model for them, having my own work space and a few hours to myself creates harmony for my entire family.
What does a typical day of creating look like for you?
Now that my girls are in school three mornings a week a typical day might look like waking up before my family and meeting a friend for a sunrise walk around our local reservoir. This sets the tone for the day, I find ideas come to me in these early morning hours and I find being up with the sunrise and moving my body is wildly motivating, I love starting the day by greeting the East and throwing some gratitude to the sun. I then come home, perhaps check email and Facebook before everyone wakes up and then make us breakfast, pack lunches and get my girls ready for school. I get them settled into their co-op, grabbing either a coffee or a smoothie somewhere and heading to my studio for a 3.5 hour block of focused work. I say focused only because I don't have much time or internet access in my studio which creates space for actual production. I see this as a blessing. I have recently scheduled out my work hours which has helped me tremendously with efficiency. What this looks like for me typically is packaging Bella Wish orders on Monday mornings and heading to the post office - I also use Mondays to plan out the week ahead. Wednesdays + Thursdays I focus on writing, blog posts, administrative duties, content creation and coaching sessions. I pick up my daughters from school at 12:30 and afternoons/evenings are dedicated to them. One weekend day I have an 8-hour day in the studio. On these days I tend to play more: peruse books and magazines for inspiration, brainstorm, write, journal, edit photos from any shoots I may have done, turn up the music and dance wildly - this usually gets my creative mojo flowing. Saturdays are the days I make my necklace orders from the week before and generate most of my course content. After the girls are asleep is when I take care of internet related work that needs to happen from home where I have internet access.
Do you have any special rituals that you do before you get to work?
It's not very exciting but I find having a beverage (coffee, tea, green smoothie) is a must before I get into a work groove. I've just discovered lavender lattes. I find I usually have one of those or a coconut-kale smoothie by my side. Indulging in gorgeous beverages is part of my business plan. ; )
What inspires you to do your work?
Connection. I have a vision for how I want to live my life, the way I want to feel and what I wish to contribute. I keep my "North Star" dream posted near my work area. I love what I do and am inspired by what I am building whether it be through photographs, writing, jewelry, space holding through e-courses or coaching. Even in my forties in many ways I feel as though my creative career has only just begun. My long-held dream has been to create meaningful, sustainable work in the world that serves to inspire, rise and heal people through deep connection.
Do you have a story you'd like to share about a significant experience you've had related to your process or an interaction with a client?
I think the one thing that surprised me about my work is how much it would touch people and go beyond something as simple as a piece of jewelry, a photograph or a coaching session. The stories I have received and the trust with which they are given is not anything I was expecting when I first began, but I hold each one as sacred and is what inspires me to always keep going - infusing everything I do with loving energy. One of the lessons I have learned is that whatever work we do is not limited to what we produce. Meaning I am not just designing jewelry, or taking a photograph, or writing words or holding space, it goes much deeper than that. What we create and release makes an impact on others. I will share one lovely story with you: I have had one Bella Wish client whom I've become quite fond of and close with over the years. She orders many custom items from me whenever celebratory milestones come up for her. She ordered a custom baby bracelet from me last Fall to give to a friend of hers. It turns out her friend is a published author and is featuring the bracelet on the cover of her upcoming book - that is how much she was touched by her daughters handmade bracelet. Stories like these are significant because they remind me that this is what creativity is all about, this is how we connect in deeper ways. We are not here as islands fending for ourselves, we are here as community making a difference in each other's lives.
Stacy is giving away one of her famous Bellawish word-of-the-year pendants, as well as one seat in her Spring session of Getting Naked in the Now: Rooted in Gratitude. You can also use coupon code SouLodge10 in her Bellawish shop through February 1st.
Leave a comment in the usual way, and check back Sunday evening for a winner! Tell us how you stay present to the precious moments in front of you.
Thank you, Stacy! Follow her on Facebook here.