Shift Pretty Bird, Shift

Photographer: Gianluca Senese

Last month I addressed the issue of mediocrity in an effort to encourage us all to strive for our unique bests. One of the causes of mediocrity cited by friends in my note was multitasking. The argument offers that the distracting nature of multitasking causes our productivity to suffer as a whole, producing mediocre results. As much as we want to move away from the energy and resource suck juggling multiple facets of our lives provokes, modern day demands require us to maintain a relatively active schedule to ensure that our worlds go round. So if we can’t avoid doing what feels like a million tasks contemporaneously, then how can we set ourselves up for qualitative results? The answer to this conundrum may lay in how we shift from one space to another.

Earlier this month when I travelled to NYC to film new episodes of Tamu’s Cafe for you  Pretty Birds, I had the chance to observe the friction that we often experience when we are called to transition from one activity to another. Producing Tamu’s Cafe is a village affair: children, relatives and pets are all welcomed. Since we filmed on the weekend this time, our littles were present, amazingly behaved, but I heard a couple of our mom’s prompting their kiddos to pack up their stuff and ready themselves well in advance of wrap time. Self-aware of their off-spring management, they confided that they have to provide ample time for the children to shift out of play mode into lets say travel mode, etc, etc. Even though I have a teenager who also needs generous lead time, specifically when he is playing video games, I couldn’t help thinking, of course toddlers and school-age children need time to exit one head space and enter another. As adults, it’s really difficult to switch gears when you are immersed in a passtime that you are fully enjoying or concentrating on a challenging task that you had to temporarily pour your entire being into to even begin to grasp or master. At that moment, just thinking about the mental strength sometimes needed to execute a change in activity, caused me to bring my hands to my eyes for a rub which resulted in smudged eye makeup and a disapproving look from our makeup artist. 

Fast forward three days to the end of production, when the concept of shifting hit me again as I realised that I would have to move away from the fun associated with preparing a yummy dish and conversing with our guests to a somewhat hectic fashion week schedule. I adore attending fashion shows and presentations, but my mind immediately fixated on unpacking the samples that had already arrived, finalising my calendar and organising the looks that I needed to capture for this month’s Fashion Transition story and my Instagram account. I felt the wheels rotating in my brain, and to avoid any possible stress, I decided to treat myself to something fun and delicious as a way to neatly break from one portion on my plate to the next. Call it a palate cleanser, creating some distance, albeit tiny, between these two moments really made a difference for me this time around. I started my fashion week preparation and show period refuelled and refreshingly present. It may not proceed so seamlessly next time, but it’s all about experimenting and discovering what little steps can aid you in transitioning between the demands of your life.

The topic of shifting bleeped onto my radar again a few days into fashion week when I had a heart to heart with a girlfriend who recently launched a business. As many of you small business owners know, getting your business started and on its way to growth is a test of resilience and agility. Since you are resource strapped, you are by default stretched thin physically, economically, emotionally, and even if you are brilliantly scrappy, the worry related to driving the ends together can cloud your long term vision and chip away at your self confidence. At this point, it is so easy to slip into a viewpoint of scarcity. WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE at some point in our lives. However, if you brace yourself through the knicks caused by the friction and the good old growing pains, you can move into a space where you can steer your business to success. It’s all about shifting your mindset so that you can consistently expand your tenacity.

Shifting positively for your holistic wellbeing requires work, constant maintenance and encouragement from yourself and, perhaps, prompts from your community. Be gracious with yourself, acknowledge the difficulties as they arise, reward yourself for your efforts, create distance and implement necessary pauses. We are human and we are doing Our best to live this complicated, complex, but incredibly beautiful life.

Here’s to shifting to higher places of love,



Sometimes shifting involves what feels like volcanic energy. If you are a gangster, you have to get on that horse and ride that motherfucker. It’s like surfing a wave and not being sure what’s going to happen. What’s nice about the challenges that arise is that the end result is not always the same. 

- Bethann Hardison, paraphrased from a conversation that I enjoyed with the Fashion Expert and activist during New York Fashion week.