TGGC #74: Following your flow and rekindling your creativity with Claire Baker

Claire Baker is an amazing women's coach and writer. Through her popular blog, eBooks, online courses and live workshops, Claire teaches self-care, creative rekindling, how to live life aligned with your menstrual cycle and being kind to yourself and the world.

Claire believes in less stress and more flow and knows that working with our natural rhythms is 'the missing key' when it comes to women's wellness. She’ll have you throwing out the scales, booking the flight, launching the blog – and falling back in love with your life.

We talked about all of those things, as well as her new course Flow. What I think really sets this episode apart is we dive into how you can honour your natural cycles even if you don’t menstruate or if you’re a busy mom or have a 9-5 job and your time isn’t entirely your own. Clare has incredible advice for honouring your own rhythms regardless of your personal situation.

 

In this episode we talk about:

  • The power of moving first thing in the morning
  • How Claire’s illness changed her relationship with her health and her body and eventually led to her work as a women's coach
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine practices that she used to build vitality in the body after coming off the contraceptive pill
  • Claire’s decision to move to London and what her experience of moving across the world has been life
  • The journalling practice that Claire uses in sync with her menstrual cycle
  • Following the flow of your menstrual cycle within the constraints of a day job
  • The blocks Claire sees women experiencing around their creativity
  • The first steps to rekindling your creativity

 

Links mentioned:

 

Where to find Claire:

The Cure for Procrastination.

I’d planned to start writing at 10:00am but at 10:01 I was still reading an article on how one person reclaimed their attention span (the irony will soon be clear), so I decided to finish it before getting down to work. When I reached the end of the article, I mindlessly clicked over to Facebook for a bit of scrolling. And thus my morning of procrastination began. 

Over the next hour - when I’d planned to write 1,000 words of my book - I clicked absentmindedly between my browser and the Scrivener doc I was working in. The words just weren’t flowing and while completing all of 50 words I did almost everything but write. I added a few expenses into my bookkeeping software. Made a cup of tea. Got a snack. Browsed Instagram. Let the cat outside. Sent a message to a friend. 

Common wisdom will tell us that procrastination results from a lack of desire, dedication, and will power. We just need to make the decision to get it done and then do it; it’s as simple as that. 

But how come I can knock out 1,000 words without thinking somedays and on others I get sucked into the mindless rabbit hole of procrastination? 

Understanding our cyclic nature is definitely an important factor. We aren’t meant to consistently show up the same way day after day, week after week. As our energies change throughout the month (and even throughout the day) so do our strengths and abilities. Understanding that our natural cycles and rhythms will produce different outputs at different times is important. Working with this changing energy allows for greater flow as well as greater peace of mind as we’re not constantly beating ourselves up for being ultra productive one day and full of daydreams the next. 

But honouring our cycles doesn’t mean we can’t show up to the work every single day. It just means that the way we show up, the kind of work we do, and what we produce will be different (being pregnant means I don’t have the consistency of a monthly menstrual cycle but I’ve been using the lunar cycles and daily energy check-ins to stay in tune with my natural rhythms in this season of my life). 

An hour of procrastination certainly wasn’t showing up to my book. So what gives? 

I love something Jess Lively said recently on her podcast (I’m paraphrasing): 

When you’re procrastinating you’re not ready to do the thing you’ve sat down to do. You’re not in the right headspace. You’re not in the flow. 

We use procrastination to numb out by watching TV, eating mindlessly, falling down a Twitter rabbit hole… etc. etc. 

What we really need to be doing is checking in. Into our bodies. Into the now.

Jess says (and I love this!) that we get into alignment and into flow by doing what will bring us joy in the present moment.

She spends her mornings doing whatever will bring her the most joy in order to allow her work to flow naturally and easily throughout the day.

“But I don’t have time to bring the joy,” I hear you say, “I have this thing to do!”

Right. But if you’re procrastinating you aren’t doing it, are you? So what if you tried diverting that numbing out energy into some joy-inducing activities and see if anything shifts?

Jess explained that even if you’re strapped to a desk in an office you can still give this a try. Just close that browser you’re using to facilitate your procrastination (yes, we caught you) and open a blank email or word processor. Try typing out thirty things you’re grateful for about your life right now. Your boss is no more going to know you’re doing this than they knew you were stalking your ex-boyfriend on Facebook. But see how different it feels. Does your energy shift? Do you feel more ready to do the task at hand?

I’ve been experimenting with this during my own mornings recently to great effect. I’d convinced myself that the low energy I’m experiencing during pregnancy means I need a slow, gentle start to the day and I’d been giving this to myself by watching Netflix before beginning my work day.

But I found this habit left me feeling sluggish and dull. I was checking out.

There are lots of ways to be slow and gentle with myself, so now I focus on filling my mornings with joy and flow before I sit down to write. Most often this looks like writing morning pages, making a nourishing morning elixir, walking around my neighbourhood (this has been the most powerful factor in shifting my energy everyday), reading something inspiring, and having a mini dance party in our dining room.

I have a basic plan of when I’ll sit down to work and how I’ll structure my day but I’m not too rigid about it. I allow the day to flow based on what feels good and what will bring me joy.

The results have been amazing.

I feel lighter. I’m smiling. The words are flowing more easily. I feel better in my body.

I’m not saying I’ve become immune to procrastination. I still spend more time mindlessly scrolling social media than I’d care to admit but when I do find myself numbing out I can easily bring myself back into the present moment by asking myself: what would bring me joy right now?

TGGC #73: Cultivating slowness and a desire for less with Erin Loechner

Today’s interview is with Erin Loechner. Erin has been blogging and speaking for more than a decade on her website Design for Mankind and she’s now released an incredible book called Chasing Slow.

Now nestled in a Midwestern town, Erin, her husband, and their toddler strive for less in most areas except three: joy, grace, and goat cheese.

Erin is one of the friendliest, most open people I’ve ever spoken to and I loved chatting with her about minimalism, slowing down our lives, finding our golden hours in order to be more creative, and what she learned about herself from writing her new book.

 

 

In this episode we talk about:

  • Erin’s routine of getting up at 2am to write and work
  • Finding your “golden hours” to do your best creative work
  • Her journey of blogging over the past 16 years
  • How Erin’s views on minimalism and slow living have changed over time
  • Navigating the tension that occurs when your family members hold different beliefs than you
  • Approaching parenting as a minimalist
  • Transitioning back to work after having a baby
  • The realizations and lessons Erin learned from writing her book

 

Links mentioned:

 

Where to find Erin: