This month’s blog post was supposed to be about relationships, in support of the content I was preparing for next months edition of the Shame-Free Parenting Webinar Series. It’s February after all, and part of me was feeling the pressure to align with Valentine’s marketing. Who doesn’t want to talk about the invisibility of emotional labour in relationships?
Normally I can’t get enough of these discussions, but I’m not going to talk about it. At least not right now.
As many of you know, 2017 was a rough year for my health. After not listening to my body for a long time, circumstances aligned that forced me to get into bed and rest. And it was not a speedy recovery. Healing my liver involved giving up many of my favorite coping tools (I will always love you wine and cheese), I lived with chronic pain and had to rebuild my physical and emotional stamina. Slowing down was hard, but I’m grateful for the many things I learned during this time.
Personal growth, friends, so painful and so awesome simultaneously, amiright?
Thankfully, with the help of a pretty incredible care team, I slowly regained endurance. By the end of 2017 I was ready to get back to my ‘regular’ pace. I dutifully did my strategic and goal planning for 2018, which is how the Shame-Free Parenting Webinar Series was born.
I was genuinely excited about the webinar series when it first launched! I started by partnering with the very cool Annina and Beth. These webinars felt light and fun, and with almost no advertising we had high enrollment and high engagement. But everything changed in January. Suddenly the webinar series didn’t feel right for me anymore. I tried to ignore these feelings at first, telling myself I was tired from the holiday’s and just needed to get into the swing of things again.
But that wasn’t it. You know when you ignore your intuition and suddenly you find yourself doing the double the work for mediocre results? That’s what happened to me! January’s webinar had really low enrollment with very low engagement. As I reflected on what ‘went wrong’, I flipped through the permission booklet I had created for webinar participants and my eyes landed on the permission slip that stated: “I give myself permission to change my mind”.
Then it clicked. I don’t want to do the webinar series right now. My energy around this project had completely drained, but I was falling into old patterns of forcing myself to be a workhorse out of a sense of obligation, instead of working hard because I was inspired and excited. Thankfully, I’m a little wiser than before and I could quickly see where that path leads – it ends with exhaustion, a body that quits on me, and feeling grumpy about doing work that I really love.
So, I followed my own advice and gave myself permission to change my mind. I opted to put the series on hold and felt immediate relief, as well as a sudden resurgence of energy.
As I took a meditative moment to check in with myself about it, I realized that I’ve been re-delivering the same content for a while now and I’m ready for some fresh ideas. I want to use this time to be an informational sponge where I soak up innovative research, bury myself in books, test out new concepts with community talks and interviews, and just generally shut up and observe for a while.
Because after this period of thinking, absorbing, and going deeper is going to come a whole lotta writing. But more on book deals later…
For now, I hope you’ll accept my sorry-not-sorry for changing my mind. I received the pretty clear message that it’s time for me to talk less and listen deeply. I promise to be back with all the cool things I find along the way soon.
Olivia Scobie, MSW, RSW, M.A., ACC, MSP
Social Work Counselor