A personal note on growth.

A year of Bloomsday means it’s time for some reflection.

It’s been a little wild. 2020 has brought some big ups and downs.

To name a few:

  • my first weddings

  • closing up over lockdown

  • “support local” swells

  • some very quiet months

  • huge wholesale orders

  • postponed events

  • personal growth

  • incredible workshops

  • lots of learning

It’s hard for me to gauge where Bloomsday would be if COVID hadn’t hit - a common feeling I think. Whether you were planning to be lying on a beach overseas, you thought you’d still have a job, or even just wanted to be a little more this or that.

I feel ya.

Here’s something I read recently that might help. It’s about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see the image) - to survive we first need the physiological basics, then on top of that, safety. Love and belonging, then esteem are the next requirements. The peak is self actualisation. 2020 has torn down this pyramid for so many people. If you feel like you’re not reaching your potential this year, or there’s just something off, this is why.

A global pandemic has removed our sense of safety. The racism and injustice rife in our society takes esteem and recognition, belonging, safety and security. Internalised capitalism has us chasing busyness and ‘more more more’, which sits nowhere on this hierarchy. You get the picture.

The world is fucked, so go easy on yourself. Surviving is an achievement.

Same goes for Bloomsday. Scraping through 2020 has been a big win.

On the flipside - a good friend recently told me to shift from chasing “happiness” to relishing in the moments of joy that already exist in my life.

Again, hello internalised capitalism.

I think we all struggle with this. In Bloomsday, it’s “I’ll be more successful when I have more followers /nicer photos /a feature in this mag /XYZ”. In life, it’s “I’ll be happy when I have a dog /my own home /no flatmates /when I’m fitter”. While in reality, I love my job. I have a safe home with good heaters. I have time for the things I love, and it’s a matter of prioritising them.

Embrace gratitude. Chase goals, but soak in the goodness of now.

One more perspective, and one that I repeat often: growth happens in the wicked space.

The wicked space is a concept I learnt about on Outward Bound, back in high school. It’s the space where things are hard, things are scary, things are confusing. When things maybe don’t work out.

These are the times that you dig deep and find out you’re stronger than you thought. Or, you don’t make the ‘right’ decision, but you come out with lessons learnt and some solid battle scars. I’m always one to say that shit times make you more empathetic to others’ shit times.

The tricky part is to remember to have empathy towards yourself. Mistakes = humanness.

Lately, I’ve had some patches of wickedness myself. I’m trying to use these to guide my path forward - reminding me I don’t like selling my work as wholesale, or that I prefer smaller groups for my workshops. That I’d prefer to do a few things and nail them, rather than spread myself too thin. That my dream house has a bath and a big garden and dogs rather than flatmates.

In other words - adversity breeds courage, and kindness.

Balancing compassion with discipline, noticing joy with chasing goals - it’s an enigma. I could spout my whole life philosophy out here, but in short: Good luck, humans.

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