Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.
I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.
Today we get to meet Paige Meredith!
Paige, take it away…
How are you changing the world?
(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)
I am pursuing my life-long, but slightly delayed, dream of making art and sharing it with the world.
What challenges your heart in that journey?
The hardest part of any creative work, I believe, is learning to have a conversation with the negative thoughts and fears that are an inherent part of the process.
What inspires you to keep going?
I compare it to the difference in drawing in pen versus pencil. With the theoretical pen you are working in absolutes – “always” and “never” and “can’t”. With pencil you give yourself space to work and to mess up and to play and to re-do. Pencils and most people are much more forgiving than we are to ourselves.
I remind myself to always work in pencil.
How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?
What nourishes and replenishes you?
Alone time is crucial for me and one of the reasons that postnatal was extremely difficult for me. During that process I learned that having a goal outside of myself gave me focus and power. Its kind of like what you hear about getting seasick, look at the thing that’s not moving to silence your insides.
The flip side of that is that I also learned about what the opposite of self-care looked like. This time last year I was teetering on the brink of workaholism because I fell into the “if a little is good, a lot must be great,” mentality. Thankfully my body put a stop to it (I spent almost a full month in bed) and my brain took the clue.
Now, on the other side of that experience, I’m learning to better listen to my body.
How do you experience care within community?
How do others support you in your journey and practice?
This one is tricky because it differs according to the sphere of community. Online it can be as simple as a share. In “real life” it’s often going past saying, “we need to get together,” and actually putting a date on the calendar.
The thing that both spaces have in common is acknowledgment.
Acknowledging one’s presence and energy and time is often enough to be the fuel to encourage the next wonderful thing.
What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?
Just say, “hello”.
I’ve identified as “shy” my entire life and I am just now realizing that being able to connect with others is my greatest resource. That first step is scary but always always worth it.
Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.
A more compassionate world looks like a more compassionate “me”: slowing down, taking the time to listen and understand where others are hurting, setting big goals for myself but allowing myself grace to rest and enjoy life.
Paige Meredith is a self-taught artist and illustrator who lives in the hills of the Ozarks. She is learning to pursue the things that scare her.
How to connect:
You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!
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