A New Year 2018

by indiecottage@gmail.com on January 22, 2018

in Uncategorized

Happy 2018!

Hi Folks, I hope everyone is enjoying the clean slate of a New Year.  The holidays sometimes feel like a pressure cooker to me and I spend much of January re-setting the stage and myself for ease and positivity in the new year.  This, of course, always relates to the dreaming around indie cottages and how we can all sustain ourselves with our personalized and hands-0n businesses that add value to our lives and the community in general.

What’s new with me?

I am continuing my work in elder care.  I find it to be meaningful and something I’m well-suited for.  For many years I was only aware of large placement agencies that underpaid their staff and kept the revenues at a corporate level.  The alternative seemed to be finding a family to work with, but there is a lot to navigate, including insurance forms.  Then I found a great alternative:  it’s an elder care registry called Circle of Care based in Portland, Oregon.  The registry matches families that need care to experienced and qualified caregivers.  The wages go directly to the caregivers and then the registry bills the family a small monthly amount to facilitate the staff needed, to do the paperwork, and to insure that the client has the best possible care.  The caregivers work as a team and are supportive of one another, the client, and the family.  Its an excellent level of care and no one is stuck in a capitalistic model that only benefits the owners.  There is less smoke and mirrors (and pecking order) so the focus can be on excellent care of our elders.

The shifts in elder care can be long ones, and I find that working a couple of long shifts per week  provides open time in my weekly schedule to focus on my indie cottage work and creative endeavors.  Now that my children have left the nest, I have the time and energy to provide nurturing care as part of my livelihood.  It pays well.  I am learning new skills and am able to utilize my life experience and knowledge of nutrition and plant medicines.

Listening while an elder reminisces over old photos is one of my favorite things to do. 

As our baby boomer population ages and people live longer in general, this is an important calling.  This is work that can be done in a way that the caregiver does not get burned out.  Having many high-quality part-time caregivers that are paid a good wage is a very sustainable business model and a win-win for everyone.  Hats off to Cynthia and Shannon, the visionaries behind Circle of Care Registry.

The Artist’s Way Creative Cluster in Southeast Portland.  

Last fall, we created an Artist’s Way group that is working with Julia Cameron’s 2nd book, Vein of Gold.  This book has chapter tasks that will kick your wa-toosie!  In the first chapter, Kingdom of Story, you are asked to write your personal timeline broken down into 5-year increments.  This is no easy task.  I was told by a friend in Al-anon that it took him a year to do this as part of his 12-step program.  In chapter 2,  Kingdom of Sight, we made collages that function as oracles, a doll of ourselves and a mask of our hidden self.  All this can really stir things up that have been laying dormant for awhile.  And that takes time to process.  So the group has given ourselves the luxury of meeting every other week, instead of weekly.  There is room for 2 more in our group.  We meet every 2nd Tuesday at 7 pm at Palio’s in Ladd’s Addition.  This is a safe and supportive group that embraces each person’s creativity.   The tools we use are Morning Pages (writing 3 pages of free association), daily walks of at least 20 minutes, and a weekly Artist’s Date (taking your artist self out to refill your well to draw on creatively).  We also a focus on gratitude and realizing synchronicities.  There is no charge to join a creative cluster, just a commitment to the process.

This year, I have a Goal of Travel and Savings.

This sounds like a creative challenge but I think I can do it!   I’m amping up the indie cottage businesses that I can do on a part-time basis that do not impede getting out of town.  Part of the beauty of an running a small business is to have the flexibility for adventure.  Northern California, New Mexico and camping in the Pacific Northwest are on my list this year.

This year, I have one New Year Resolution:

To not make my old difficulties the subject of conversation with my friends.  While my friends have been so, so supportive and while I’m still in litigation with big banks that has been going on for 10 years now, I’m gonna move forward and insist on spending time with friends focused on other things, like sharing food, and walks in nature and visits to art galleries and plays and concerts.  Gonna Hygge (hoo-gah) with my friends!

This year, I have a new intention:

To feel good most of the time, i.e. not stressed, not over-tasked (I seem to bring that on myself) and to do plenty of self-care, even if it seems like a ridiculous amount!  I have joined a gym with a salt-water pool and free Zumba and yoga classes.  It’s easy to go there and I like being there.  It feels more European than Gym-Rat.

And, in this New Year, I have re-thought my idea of Going Green.

It means {also} adding more greens to my plate at every meal.  Remarkably simple and obvious… but something I was neglecting as I ate comfort food to deal with stress (see above).  Colorful veggies qualify too.  Going green is just creating habits that are do-able.  Less is more.  Recycling is a spiritual practice.  Walking is a privilege.  Buying resale is environmental.  AND, my plate is full of greens.

Finding An Accountability Partner ~

Recently, I’ve been beta-testing on the function and benefits of an accountability partner.  Although the word “accountability” can sound dreadful, this is actually a fun and creative way to spend time with people you like.  If being your own taskmaster has been a lonely process, try this!

In one version, I get together with a friend to do 2-3 hours of admin and computer work, usually in a coffee shop so we aren’t distracted in our personal environments.  Bell Tower Coffee at Tabor Space is a favorite.  We work on our social media, marketing, web content, online courses, and bookkeeping.  We toss a few ideas back and forth to get input.  It’s an entrepreneurial version of a study-buddy. At the end of the session, we take ourselves out to a movie or a comedy show and a bite to eat.  $5 gets us into an improv show at Curious Comedy Theatre on MLK.  And for $4 we can see a recent movie at Academy Theatre in Montavilla.  

In another version, I sit down with a client that needs a weekly focus session to manage his indie cottage (in this case it’s an Airbnb) and to stay on task with his other dreaming.  This month he’s working on his vacation plans including booking a flight, covering his shifts at work and coordinating dog-sitting while he’s away.  He’s also creating lists of home and yard improvements that will later be broken down into manageable weekly tasks.  When I show up the following week, he is able to check-in with where he is at and then do the next steps.  This is also been a process of letting things go that no longer work in his life to focus on what he really wants to create:  minimalism, a quality partner, community and ample savings.

This is a great way for solopreneurs to spend less time alone.  And, I strongly suspect that we all could benefit from having a masterminding partner (or two) in our lives. Sometimes this is a spouse of domestic other; but when that’s not a given, cultivating an accountability partner can lead to support, alliances and a path to stay ahead instead of feeling like you are getting behind on keeping your dreaming and priorities in focus.

Finally, Beautify your Space~

You all know I’m always advocating and suggesting this.  Your space is your canvas, your environment, your creative nest and your cocoon.  Most days, I give myself an hour to sweetly focus on a little cleaning, some re-arranging and baby-step improvements that will go a long way to a dreamier (and easily functioning) space.   This week my office is getting a shelf-declutter session to create a small bar for the occasional cocktail (on one shelf), and an essential oils bar (on another shelf) so that they are front and center and always available.

My work room is getting a Refine & Define makeover as well.  I’ve added a storage system for the shoes that I sell and dedicated the bar area to photography and shipping (instead of canning jar storage).  The lighted hutch is freed up for a small-batch apothecary.  The dreaming goes on and on….

Please feel free to share you thoughts and inspirations.  I’d love to hear from you.  There is safety in numbers to buffering ourselves and RESISTING the political storms.

May your life be full of blessings and happiness in 2018.

Stay strong

Be the love in the world. 




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