ashley’s dream report: week six

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I’m really confused this week. I’m pretty frustrated with myself. It kind of feels like I am not getting anywhere. I really do know that these things take time but for the last couple of weeks I have felt like I have lost my sense of clarity. After I posted about how I had made the decision about the type of business I wanted to start I was super excited and ready to move forward in full force. But the problem is that I didn’t move forward. I began to avoid the business class I was taking like the plague. I turned my focus during my free time to decorating my house. I allowed myself to get completely distracted from taking tangible action in the direction of starting my own business. What the heck happened?

My ideas about what I want to do keep shifting and it’s kind of driving me crazy. At this point I feel like I need to take some steps back. I need to get clear again. I need to play and explore and get my hands dirty doing stuff that makes me genuinely happy and brings me joy.

I am currently reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharpe. She is a pretty cool woman who is a choreographer and has a really compelling take on developing habits of creativity in daily life. In chapter 2 of her book she says…

“A warm, secure dancer can work without fear. In that state of physical and psychic warmth, dancers touch their moments of greatest physical potential. They’re not afraid to try new movements. They can trust their bodies, and that’s when magic happens. When they’re not warm, dancers are afraid – afraid of injury, afraid of looking bad to others, afraid they’re falling short of the inner bar they set for themselves. That’s a rotten state to be in.”

I was a dancer for more than 15 years. In all my years of ballet there wasn’t a single class that didn’t begin by warming up at the barre. Not one. I never questioned it but I never truly understood it either. I thought it was just practice. And it’s true that it was practice but now I see that it was so much more. Not only did it improve my technique but it got my body and mind warm. It removed barriers to my potential. It generated trust in myself, eliminated fears of injury as well as insecurities and brought me into an entirely new realm of possibilities. It set the stage for magic to happen.

So I have decided to go back to the barre. The place where a solid foundation is set for success. I have decided that for 30 minutes everyday for at least the next week I will go back to my foundation. I will paint. There is something about pushing paint around a page with a brush that moves my soul to sing. I don’t feel like I am that great at painting but that’s not the point. Painting brings me joy and opens my spirit to creative possibilities. I need that right now.

I feel kind of embarrassed to say that I have to take a step back at this point but it’s the truth. It’s where I am at on my journey.

Thanks for your continued support. I am so grateful for each person who leaves a comment and even for those who just read the posts quietly and I am especially grateful for Jess, thank you for believing in me. I feel so honored to have this opportunity to share this part of my life with everyone.

Has anyone else hit this sort of block and needed to re-group and re-center themselves?

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  1. Emma Jo

    Come on! You can do it! You can do it! Take a big leap into the unknown instead of taking a step back, you never know what you find there.

  2. Carina

    I’ve been really inspired by your journey. I can say that I am currently in a re-grouping process myself. I’m in my third year of undergrad and I’ve realized that what I set out to do when I first registered for university is not going to do. Now I have to take a step back and see exactly what it is that I want to do ‘when i grow up’ and what my first steps will be in order to go in the right direction

  3. Beth

    Oh goodness Ashley, I completely feel for you here. In the past 6 months, I feel like I’ve tried everything I can think of searching for the *spark* thats going to make me happy. Give me clarity. Make me wake up and realize who I am. I’ve tried horseback riding, jewelry making, joined a new gym, a fitness studio, countless books, and just recently painting. While I am making small steps in coming to that realization, most of the time I feel like I’m getting nowhere and spending too much money in the process.
    I suppose all we can do is keep trying, take a deep breath, and listen to our hearts. Believe that this journey is taking you someplace incredible. Believe that one morning you will wake up and all the frustration and confusion will have melted away, leaving you with this beautiful life you have created for yourself.

  4. Abbie

    Think about ‘why’ you want to start a business and then the ‘what’ should follow. Hang in there!

  5. Carina

    Also another thing I want to commend you on painting just 30 minutes a day. Once I start painting, I cannot stop.

  6. Kate

    haha, I think you’ll find a lot of us are right there with you! This year marks my 5th year in college, and it’s not due to poor grades. I started out loving cars and dreams of super light, super efficient eco friendly car design in my future. Then, I realized I had much more passion for the environment than engineering, and switched from a mechanical engineering major to sustainability. The short version is I went from too challenged in the wrong areas to not challenged enough in the right one. I am frustrated with school and the lack of inspiration my professors impart on me. I have a full time job that I don’t hate, but don’t love. I volunteered for the past 2 years with a group that I recently realized (after taking a step back 😉 never really appreciated the +20 hours a week of effort I put in.

    So, where does that leave me now? Just about the same place as you 🙂 I’m glad you’ve got painting to re-center yourself, I am still looking to find my nirvana activity. Look forward to more next week, I have been a ‘quiet’ reader for a few weeks now but felt compelled to share we are in the same place 🙂

  7. Jessica


    How have you been 😀 I forgot to tell you about my post the other day on my blog. I still have your jewelry, so we should get together soon. What is your lunch hour like on Monday?

    Have a great day,


  8. Carolynn

    Google ” Mars goes direct ” The planet Mars has been retrograde since Dec 20- doesn’t fully slip back into place until May 17, but on March. 10th it went direct. To make matters more complicated the planet Saturn is also retrograde until May- google that too. Many more sources can explain these facts better than I, but I believe in astrology and the effects it has on our daily life. Mars and Saturn are heavy hitters and their movement and lack there of has some effects on us. This is a time of introspection and reflection- the “planning stage” if you will. It’s been a difficult time to really get rolling but this too will change and all of your reflection and planning will be put into motion. Enjoy the process- easier said than done, I know. Takes one to know one. You are constantly learning and evolving and you are gaining the tools you’ll need on the journey that is unfolding. All the best in creativity and beyond.

  9. Jadyn

    Lady, it is uncanny how every week I feel like you’re saying what is going on in my head even though I can’t find the words for it. Thanks for being real and vulnerable.
    When it comes to my own life, it amazes me at every step forward how much ‘stuff’ comes up and how much I have to work through before I see the light again and get to a place of feeling happy with who I am and where I’m at. And then I start to get that itch again to move forward and the cycle starts over. The problem is that every time the dirt comes up it doesn’t feel like going forward at all – it feels like going back, sometimes scarily so. But your heart knows who you are so keep listening to it, do what makes it feel alive. I’m thinking of a quote that goes something along the lines of ‘love brings up anything unlike itself’ which goes along with the idea that when a seed is sprouting it pushes up the dirt first before the actual plant is visible. Can’t remember where I read/heard this, I’ve been reading so many things lately :). But you get the idea. And I think that taking steps to create the life you want is the most important form of loving yourself, because love is not just a feeling but is expressed in the action we take. And this love, this caring for ourselves can bring up a lot of dirt. I think 30 minutes of painting is a great idea. Simply doing something that brings you joy is so important!
    Good luck with everything!

  10. Stephanie

    I appreciate your honesty! I’m enjoying following you on your journey… I sometimes feel like I’m “blocked up” and stuck too, but I think returning to basics is a great answer. You’ll make it!

  11. I’m actually going through this right now in my life with my craft. It’s not the first time either, and I think that’s natural. The cycle of feeling the need for something, being inspired, working at it, seeing improvements (no matter how big or small), and then coming back to that feeling of needing something. It’s like the ebb and flow of life. A continuous cycle that every time we experience it we are changed in some way.

    Hang in there! You’re about to start the next cycle. Staying “warm” will keep you ready to make the most of what’s to come 🙂

  12. I’m hesitant to offer unsolicited advice, but I’d like to encourage you to just dive in. I think that figuring out that thing that’s right for us is a false goal, because it changes over the course of a life. And we figure out what we want by taking risks…some work out and others don’t.

    I say this as someone that completely relates to you. I have so many interests, and I find it incredibly difficult to choose. But I’ve realized that the choice I make today doesn’t mean I can’t change down the line. But I’d rather try then wonder and doubt.

  13. Ashley . . . it’s so so so so normal to get tied up and stuck after a burst of progress. You’re handling it beautifully and will come out even clearer and stronger on the other side. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  14. Katya

    Yes! Absolutely, this happens to me all the time. My therapist calls it an “aversive reaction” to success, and it’s just a sign that you are moving in the right direction. If this is a totally new direction for you, one that requires a sea change in how you see yourself, then there’s going to be some resistance pulling you back to your old view of yourself – i.e. not a successful business owner. Every time you resist that pull and do it anyway (go to your business class, choose to do other business-related stuff over comforting busy-ness like decorating the house) you strengthen your own agency, your own power over your life. So good luck, keep pushing towards your goals!

  15. Heather

    I have been on a similar journey.. I have heard the saying : Sometimes you are backing up ( or taking a step back) to get a running start! Plus it’s normal once you get clear on things to get in that Oh *!@# Now I have to take action on it.. At least thats how I have felt, there is safety in the figuring out, and then it comes to the action part of it and that is scary. Each step no matter how small towards your dreams is full of courage, don’t discount the “small” ones. Setting up good habits, taking time to listen to your inner wisdom , it’s all part of this journey.. Not getting ready for the journey, but it is part of it, an essential part. Celebrate courage and success of all sizes!

  16. Lise

    Never be embarrassed to say that you need to take a step back and regroup. Part of the pleasure of reading this series for me is that you’re a real person on a real journey. It’s better to know that some days it can be hard, and frustrating, and it does takes time.

    If you were always perfect and motivated and immediately successful that wouldn’t ring true for me, and I wouldn’t be able to relate. I think its awesome that you can be so honest about this process, it’s very inspiring, and it reminds me that its important to go back to my roots when things are feeling forced and difficult – thanks for this, and good luck. I hope this warm-up time brings you fresh passion and ideas 🙂

  17. Thanks for sharing your struggle with this. You are definitely not alone! I am going to echo Brigitte though and say (to me too) that there does come a point where you have to jump in – at least with something. I’m reading “How to Make a Living Without a Job” right now and I’m drawn to their model of having your fingers in many varied money-making pies. I’m thinking of doing something similar – while I still have my 9-5 I can also do a little launch of a side project and test the waters. That way I’m getting my feet wet and getting comfortable, but if I hate it I can always dump it and move on to the next idea. Like you I have a variety of interests so that is one way that I’m allowing myself to explore actively. Best of luck!

  18. katie

    i’ve enjoyed reading about your “journey” thus far, because i feel like i’m at a similar point in life, and it’s nice to know that others are going through the same thing. i also feel the need to take a break, a step back, go back to my [art] roots, and figure out what i really love in life.

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