Stings and Sunbeams...

Stings and Sunbeams...

Dear Friends, 

Twenty years ago, I was going through a life makeover of sorts which, among other things, led me to lose over 100 pounds. Shedding the weight was about taking off a protective armour that had kept aggressors at bay. I was suddenly gorgeous, but felt vulnerable without my layers, especially in the face of judgment and commentary.

Overwhelmed by the attention, I created a board where I drew up “stings” and “sunbeams”: when a nasty comment was made (or a comment that stung, even when the intention wasn’t to be hurtful),I noted or drew it in the “stings” area. Getting the comment on paper got it out of my head. As for the kind comments or unexpected acts of grace, they were given the greater part of the room – highlighted, underlined... made real by putting them on paper, giving them shape!

Stings and sunbeams got me through one of the most challenging periods of my life. And this week, I’ve realized that I need some sort of mechanism for putting some distance between me and those whose behaviour and beliefs are threatening my peace of mind: the anti-maskers, the hoax conspiracists, the racists, the “phobes” of all sorts (homo, trans, xeno) ... 

I remind myself that much of this need to control the narrative and control people is linked to their inability to control their immediate environment as the pandemic rages through its third wave. Yet, my reserves of empathy and indulgence are running dry. And my patience is wearing thin. Worst of all, these hateful, scared voices are filling up the space that I’ve carved out for joy, pleasure and creativity! 

So, I am giving myself the right to be a little more selfish and protective of my time and mental space. I want to be nourished with intellectual debate and learning of all sorts.  

I’m back to stings and beams! I’m going to take this next week to engage only with those who bring warmth and help me grow. And I’m going to unfriend, block and delete anything that blocks the sun. 

 I’ll be back to fight the good fight... but for now, this retreat from chaos and fear is essential.


Artists, as Empaths, also need to protect their sacred space of delight.

Artists are often committed to social justice and positive change. You’re at the forefront of political and fundraising initiatives. You rally the troops and offer hope. You are essential. 

You also need to make space for your own happiness and peace. 

We are headed for what economists call “K-shaped Recovery” where some parts of society will thrive (that’s the arm going up) and where others will fall (that’s the leg heading down). Not surprisingly, frontline workers, gig industry folk and artists are at risk – left behind as those as many (some less-deserving) folk bounce up. I cannot encourage you enough to put your own interests first in the months ahead!!!  

During the month of May, let’s let the sunbeams shine on us and neutralize those stings instead of letting them affect us. We need to summon all of our courage and energy to lay a new foundation to build on in the months ahead – one that leads us to prosperity.  

PART 1 – Grab a large sheet of paper. On the bottom corner, draw a hornet. And write out any names (or sketch faces) of any one whose “bugging you”! On the opposite top corner, draw out the sun, with beams coming down across the page. And when someone’s name makes you react with a smile – add them here! You’ll see that in time, your collection of good people will become your focus. 

PART 2 – Put aside that sheet and focus on yourself and your own projects. Every day this month, earmark 10 minutes to do something that will help you move forward: a tweak to your website, an invoice you follow up on, a message sent to a potential customer, a cupboard tidied, etc. 

Sending you virtually a sunbeam!

See you at the Hang!

- This comes from 5 years ago, when Jojo, my daughter, offered these wise words. She - and her sister Elise on the left - are my sunbeams, for sure!

xo Nat

Nathalie Kleinschmit

Article by Nathalie Kleinschmit

Published 04 May 2021