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How to Create When You're Feeling Small & Powerless

self care


Disclaimer: This is a piece about how to keep creating when you feel less than stellar, but please don't misinterpret this overall message "no matter what, you have to keep working". That is not the goal! You all know I'm a huge promoter of rest, naps, and general self care, so if that's what you need right now, take it!

That being said, if you (like me), happen to find a lot of solace in your creative work, this might help when times are tough. Enjoy!


Have you heard of the term 'doom-scrolling' before? You know, that passive, mindless scrolling you do through social media, taking in all the bad news, horrible realities, and atrocities of the world -- all the while knowing full well that it's making you feel sick, powerless... and small? You want to stop, but somehow, you can't. 

I think we've all been doom-scrolling this year, and honestly, I don't think it would be right to tell you stop. Don't get me wrong -- I do think we need to prioritize self care, and if that means stepping away from social media, do it! Stop doom-scrolling!

But I also think it's important to stay with the painful things sometimes. After all, if we don't face them, we've got no way to truly move forward and past them. This holds true whether they are outer events in the world at large or inner truths about ourselves.

But what do we do when allowing in the awful things makes us feel small and powerless?

How can cope when you feel small? How can you keep creating when you feel powerless?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and recently, it took a simple picture to help me realize my own answer. 

The trick to coping when you feel small is to embrace the things that are bigger than yourself.

It sounds counterintuitive, right? But it works.

Here's what I mean. The world is always going to have injustices. It will always have things that make you cry and rage and want to give up. Most of these things will make you feel very, very small.

These are not the things to embrace - these are the things to fight against with every shred of strength and grace you've got.

But you can *gain* strength by shifting your focus.

Instead of looking at things that make you feel small and powerless - look for what makes you feel small... and powerful.

They're out there, but they might take some work for you to find them. 

What does it for you? What makes you feel connected and vast and fills your lungs with cool, vibrant air? What makes you say "I may be small, but if I'm a part of THAT, I can trust my own power and the steps I take."?

What makes you feel alive and grateful to be alive in that exact moment, above all others?

For me, the answer, the real power behind it all, has always been nature. It's the moon and the mountains and the sight of crashing water against rock. It's the stuff that's survived for millennia, and will be here long after I'm gone.

That's how I feel powerful by embracing the things that make me feel small. If I live in a tapestry of whales and wolves and the hot tread of elephants on the cracked earth, I can lean into how small I feel -- because that's where the gratitude is.

That's how the math works: Where there is gratitude, there is empowerment.

And there, while feeling small yet grateful and connected to power --we can all find our strength to take action.

So I remind you, and nudge you gently: if you're feeling small right now, that's okay.

We *are* small. It's not a bad thing. It's the way it's meant to be.

But we are mighty powerful too. Don't lose hope. Don't stop working for a better world.

And always, always be grateful for the whales that remind you of it all.

Take home message: 

Remember: the antidote to fear is action, and if we come from a place of gratitude and empowerment, we're already halfway there.

Bonus: Want to see the picture that inspired this essay? Click here.

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