I spoke to SARK personally…

This post was written by Megan on March 19, 2010
Posted Under: burnout and stress management

SARK in hammock cartoon

Imagine a woman standing in a queue at the the Motor Registration Office. The walls are grey, the furniture is grey, the mood is…you guessed it…grey.

Now imagine the woman in the queue singing:

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found.
Was blind but now I see…"    

('Amazing Grace' lyrics written by John Newton, 1779)

Naturally everyone turned to look at this woman like she was losing her marbles. They continued to do so as she launched into the second verse.

By the end of the second verse, however, she had managed to get two others in the queue joining in. By the end of the song, the woman had EVERY person singing. Even the employees behind the glass.

This woman was SARK. It's the kind of thing she does, bringing light and colour into dark and grey places.


Who is this SARK person?

Speaking to SARK personally was a big deal for me. If you haven't yet come across this succulent author and artist, her full name is Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy. But don't let the whacky middle names put you off. This woman is no flake.

Note: knowing SARK, she would probably think that being flake-like is a wonderful thing…she has a way of turning assumptions on their head.

Note: SARK's name is often seen more like this: SARK


The bible for the burned out

My first introduction to SARK was through her book 'Change your life without getting out of bed: the ultimate nap book'.

An irresistible title, wouldn't you agree? Definitely worth having a gander if you are feeling burned out. SARK is a great supporter of 'the nap', no matter what your health is like.

How did I get to talk to SARK?

SARK's done a heap of other books before and since 'Nap'. Many of these publications are about discovering your creative spirit and your general inner fabulousness. She also tours around, giving inspirational workshops (generally in the US, where she lives). More recently, 'Couching with SARK' was launched. 'Couching' as opposed to 'coaching'. 

Late last year SARK offered a discount for her personal couching chats. I snapped it up. As this magical person was working on her next book over Christmas and then got the flu (yes, even light-hearted, colourful people can feel poorly from time to time) I only recently nabbed my first couch hour.


What did I get out of it? 

For a start, the couching session great ego boost. SARK described my blogs as 'powerful, whimsical and endearing'. Oh joy! And this is what I wanted my session to be about. Not about ego-boosting, but about my blogs. More specifically, I wanted to learn more about how to work smarter and fun-er, rather than harder (for obvious reasons).


SARK's small – but powerful – solution

In order for me to work smarter and fun-er, she recommended I draw a 'micro-management wheel'.

SARK's well-known for her love of 'micro movements'. She started the concept of a micro-yoga group where you only have to do yoga for five minutes. If you want to stay longer, do 10 or 15 minutes, then great. You can stay and do a whole hour of yoga. But the idea is to start off with doing yoga for 5 minutes, and giving yourself permission to leave it at that point. Then you are more likely to at least start doing some yoga than none at all. 

Apparently with 5 minute tasks, no matter what it is, people are likely to continue past the five minute point 60% of the time. The other 40% of the time we stop after five minutes.


What's a 'micro-management wheel' supposed to do?

The micro-management wheel is designed not to motivate you, but to inspire you. 'Motivation' feels like work. 'Inspiration' feels like a natural lift. SARK believes that we create the most when we are feeling delighted. 

Doing things out of fear, obligation or guilt isn't the way to go, apparently. SARK explained to me that Fear, Obligation and Guilt spell FOG. It explained a lot.


What does a 'micro-management wheel' look like? 

You draw a small circle (large enough to write some words in it) and then draw a very large circle around it. Then draw eight 'spokes' from the central circle to the edge of the larger one. You have before you something that looks like a wheel. Surprise!

You write in the small, central circle the essence of what you want to achieve. I wrote: "Lifting spirits with my words and art".

Then SARK gave me eight micro-tasks to do, one for each section of the wheel (note: write the micro-tasks in your wheel with different coloured markers, so the colours invite you to look at it):

  1. Write a list of people who inspire me.
  2. Contact those people directly and tell them how they've inspired me  - I screamed with fear AND delight at that task.
  3. Visit Artella Land - a site for creative spirits – explore it, find other creative souls through the Artella Cafe's online creative community.
  4. Write a letter to myself describing what I love about my work.
  5. Have a tea party with a good friend and celebrate the launch of my blogs (albeit belated) and ask my friend what he/she is inspired by.
  6. Read the Eileen Aron's 'Highly Sensitive Person' website (I talked about Eileen Aron in my last burnout post about depression).
  7. Go into my (sadly abandoned) studio, light a candle, play some music and spend five minutes there  - move one of my paint brushes, that's all.
  8. Take a miracle walk: start walking around aimlessly outside and say "miracle find me now" (this is a very self-loving thing to do, SARK says), have no destination for this walk, do no errands and notice what happens (SARK once found twenty dollars in a tree doing this – hey, I'd even do it for five).


About deadlines

SARK asked me if I could see myself starting on one of these micro-tasks within the next two weeks. 'Only one in the next two weeks?!' I thought, 'That's nothing!'.

SARK then said "Or does having a deadline just make you feel stressed? Does it help or hinder?'

It was a wonderful question. For my personality-type, I'm used to believing that I have to do everything immediately. To be frank, I have an obsessive relationship with insane deadlines. It's a big reason for my severely burned out adrenal glands.

So does a deadline help or hinder a burnt out gal like me? I still think it helps, but having one 5 minute task – and a fun task at that – with a whole two weeks to do it in was a new approach I was more than happy to try.


What else?

There were some other inspiring things SARK offered, but you'll have to stay posted for those…


This post was written by Megan Hills.  Megan is a writer and cartoonist who isn't usually a 'fan' of celebrities, but there are certain well-known people she would be happy to wave back to.  Find out more about Megan

Reader Comments

Isn't it great to break the rules and realise it's much nicer sometimes without them.
Less pressure and more reality.

Written By mary on March 19th, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

This is wonderful Megan – I look forward to the next installment!

Written By Sara M on March 21st, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

Wonderful, creative 'couching'! You have much to celebrate. Looking forward to more of what SARK shared.

Written By Erica on March 22nd, 2010 @ 9:04 am


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