Friday, July 22, 2016

Creativity, Simplifying, and "Jobligations"--Insights, Day 20 and 21

I have realized I am capable of turning every project into a job, an obligation, imaginary or otherwise...hence my new brand-new, freshly-coined word, "jobligation."  And in fact tend to do so.  It's a habit with me.

Just what this 31 days was NOT supposed to be.  I haven't simplified, I haven't stayed in the moment, I've only occasionally felt really part of the nature I was in.  Instead I have added one more project...and feeling pressured, as I have when I've taken on jobligations in the past.

I said I might not post every day, I said I might just share a sketch or a short poem, or a thought.  Or nothing at all...

...and then I made it a job--a discipline--to post a journal entry every day, taking photos or making notes, not so much BEING there as thinking what I'd put in my blog that day.  Creativity suffered as did mindfulness, and my goal got lost in the shuffle.  I recognized my tendency, again.

I've enjoyed it, I'm still enjoying it, but I am refocusing before it's too late on what this time needs to be, for me.

So now, two days' worth, and we'll see what else might be shared.  I'll still BE there, but making it into work...didn't work!

The bridge, with pigment from stones found just downstream...
A Japanese suzuri or ink stone works well for grinding small amounts...

Hematite and gum Arabic

My little rechargeable fan turned out to be a lifesaver, on the 20th...that day came closest to being what I had aimed for in the first place.

Recapturing a treasured memory of fresh peaches and long walks...20 years ago and more.

This journal page was a struggle...everything fought me.  My pen, the paper, which buckled on that humid morning, my watercolors...washes took forever to dry.  My colors were NOT relaxing and fun...
In the heat and humidity, my materials fought me and detracted from the experience of BEING there, yesterday, contstanting distracting me...frustrating me...

Shoes off, glasses off, NOT trying to work...

Beautiful blue chicory...

Joe Pye Weed along the lane
And so, two days have gone by.  The weather was a big part of it...since heat exhaustion some years back I just don't handle heat well.  I hit the wall after yesterday's hotter, stiller, thicker morning, and spent the rest of the day reading, resting, drinking cherry water, and recuperating.  Listening to my body.  Listening to my heart, and my soul, and re-focusing.


  1. Sometimes when you already intensely enjoy or appreciate the simple, you don't realize how much of your day is already immersed in the present. I don't think it possible for an artist to NOT be seeing and feeling more than non-artist people, in order to create art that has feeling and life. Maybe you're taking the wrong path in your journey - maybe you should be taking the one that says "I did enjoy that leaf" for 3-4 minutes making that one short period a tiny vacation that others never get to take. Maybe your journey should involve recognizing how much you do already immerse. I certainly appreciate all you do for yourself that you share with others. The joy in self realizations is precious so your current journey is also, even if you plan a bit too much. Don't worry about posting, I will certainly be here when you return. No postcards needed. LOL

    1. Mary, that's almost exactly what I'd originally envisioned! When you're an inveterate teacher and communicator, it is REALLY hard to break that habit, it seems! That's what I did last night. I didn't even write anything in my journal...I was just fully present.

  2. while you say the colors were muddy i still think you captured the beauty that was in front of you. thanks for sharing.

  3. I think that "stepping back" is an innate part of being a painter, sketcher, photographer, etc. There's a different sort of focus on shape, color, detail that is very much in the moment but in a different way than most people see things. Yet at the same time the intense observation sets you back from your subject. It's a duality.

    But the organizing workaholic in you that makes any project into a job...that is the habit that has sustained you all these years and enriched your life. It would be hard to tell your inner self that it is okay to relax and go with the flow now. Maybe that is the new challenge. :)

  4. Oh, I can so relate to making everything a job and always have my mind working on how I can or will post something or use it in my work or for someone else in some way or another. "Being" seems to happen fleetingly, then too soon I am back in that usual mode of not being in the moment but thinking of how I can use the present moment in the future. Sketching usually does help me settle in the moment, as does playing with my animals, but it isn't easy. Your words encourage me again and again to return to the present moment, and I really appreciate that.

    1. I knew you would understand, Melissa...this is a reminder to myself, as well. I don't believe anyone stays mindful at all times, but I do get closer...

    2. I'm loosely following your example and trying to use this month as a time to focus on being and hoping it will help me develop habits that will stick with me. I recently "coincidentally" in two different churches heard excellent sermons about Mary and Martha that really caught my attention. Combined with your posts, I felt like I was getting the message (or invitation) loud and clear.

    3. I love when the Universe sends that sweet synchronicity! And yes, I plan to do this more under the radar, this time. I did manage to turn it into a job, as I so often do. Sharing IS good, and I mean to, and I love it when I inspire someone, but when I miss the boat myself it's kind of counter productive.

  5. You know I can tend to do the same thing, with ,y posts and even sometimes a piece of fiber art. I get all excited to start some pieces can take months and I often turn that into a job.
    I've been trying like you, to relax and to enjoy life more, especially since I now have a 7 month old grandson.

    1. Since I've been self-employed most of my working life, it is a special temptation, I think! I'm well past "retirement age" but freelancers really don't. I need to set my intention firmly elsewhere!

  6. What have you learned? What are you feeling?
    I think it is inspiring that after a life of many successes, you are still exploring and thinking.

    1. Thank you! I'm learning I still have a long way to go, but I think I have a better handle on what it is that *I* need!


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