Are you an artist who uses magnification while working? Do you use loupes or magnifiers? They can be expensive. Did you know that Dollar Tree sells reading glasses (magnifiers) for $1.00? Up to 3.5x magnification. 3.5. This is not an ad, just something I think is useful to share. I picked up 5 pairs and keep them all over the house now…and if they break, so easy and cheap to replace. I’d much rather have glasses perched on my head when not in use than that big old band, and you can still attach jeweler’s eyepieces to them if you need to increase the magnification.
I had some advice once to write down all my accomplishments at the end of the day. I knew at that moment that this person was not speaking from a perspective with which I at all connected. I didn’t need one more thing to do at the end of the day. I had enough to do just figuring out what I was going to do the NEXT day.
If you are a creative person, chances are that you always have too much to do. Chances are that you have created that scenario for yourself. You gave yourself those tasks. You created them, because creating is what you do. It may be time to look at it all from a new perspective…only make a list of things you actually want to accomplish.
If you are like me, thoughts abound, and sometimes come rapid-fire in groups. Keep a separate list of these thoughts. They all don’t have to make it to the task list. I keep a master list for anything I think might be noteworthy, then pull from there for my daily task assignments.
Only giving yourself a workload that you can actually acheive gives you a greater sense of fulfillment at the end of the day. If you find you are not getting it all done, either there was a legitimate interruptor and you may have to move one or two things to the next day, orrrr you are giving yourself yoo much and setting unrealistic expectations.
How do you handle your workload?
I awaken…and immediately beging to mentally list all of the things to do, then I stop, and remind myself to be aware of the light. I look out the window and look at the day. It is bright and beautiful and I make a mental note to make sure I allow some outdoor time today, even though it is still cool and crisp.
As I go through my morning routine, I find my mind starting to wander again to the day’s list. This list is usually comprised of more things than I can reasonably accomplish. Once again I remind myself to be in the moment. “You are brushing your teeth,” I tell myself. “Be in the brushing.”
I wend my way through the hall and downstairs to prepare coffee, my morning indulgence, although without caffeine, and I enjoy the aroma of the grounds and the sparkle of sunlight through the window. While the coffee brews, I wipe the sink clean and take a moment to enjoy the shine while I pour my coffee.
I settle at my desk with pen and pad and my previous day’s list, adding anything I think may be of importance. Then I give myself just a few things to do. It’s my hot list for the day and contains only what absolutely must be done and a small number of other things I’d like to accomplish. Once this is done, I carry the hot list in my pocket, and refer to it as the day progresses. I do not even look at the Master List again until the next morning. If anything occurs during the day that needs my immediate attention, I write it on the bottom of the hot list. As I think of other tasks or appointments I write them on the back of the Hot List and will add them to the Master List the next day. Choosing only a few things that have to be done and looking at the Master List each morning while enjoying my coffee helps me to prioritize which allows me to “be in the moment” of whatever else it is I am doing for the day.
As my mind’s natural bent is to race forward, this has taken some practice. Slowing down is not what the world preaches today. We are encouraged to be fast-paced multi-taskers, and there is a cost to that. Our stress levels are sometimes off the charts, and unrelenting stress can cause permanent health damage (a post for another day).
We do have lives that are full, and usually have a lot to accomplish. It needn’t be overwhelming. We don’t have to go full speed ahead all the time. We can do one thing at a time and enjoy the moment for what it is, be it work or pleasure. Even an unpleasant task can be made more tolerable by looking at it with new perspective. Putting the unpleasant things at the top of the list will get them out of the way first, enabling you to better enjoy the rest of your day.
Being aware of our surroundings…on the drive to the office, for example, can give us bursts of joy to carry us through a day. Instead of trying to think of all the things you need to do when you get there, be in the driving and be aware of your surroundings. Notice the sun rising in the sky, maybe the smell of the rain, or that chocolate factory you pass every day. Witness the fact that the lady that lives in the farmhouse that you don’t even know has planted flowers, and you get to enjoy them too. Oh, and yes…be in the driving!
Part of being mindful is to organize those potential distractions early in the day so they don’t keep interrupting you. Some people I know like to do this before bed so they can start the next day fresh. I admit as nice as this sounds to me, by the end of the day my brain sometimes doesn’t want to play. You’ll find a system that works well for you, I’m sure. If you already have a system, please share it with us.
Peace and light and joy to you in your moments! I’d love to know about them…
Same blind sketching process, done quickly. On this, green was done blindly first, followed by blind pen. I then deliberately (and sightedly) accented what the blindness brought me in red. This is fun and I sometimes have an idea where it’s going. It does allow me the freedom that I usually have trouble giving myself, so it is a good exercise.
What are some of your practices that keep you in the creative bent?
I have begun a periodic process of blind sketches. I started with the blue, my eyes closed, and just let my hand do what it wanted. I then took the pen, closed my eyes, relaxed, and did the same. I then used the violet, eyes open, to accent what the blindness brought me. I did this last step quickly, not wanting the result to become elaborate or deliberately representational. This meditative exercise has brought my spirit to the surface on many occasions. It was interesting to note the circular patterns my blind steps took. This is a useful exercise in getting started sometimes.
When you wish you were rich, take another look at your measures. You will find richness by looking with a different perspective.
As I was out last evening, having a light meal before venturing to galleries to look at art for dessert, I saw two lovely women, engaged in conversation not more than ten feet from where I was sitting. Although I didn’t hear anything they said, their mannerisms, the tilting of their heads and the animation in their eyes was charming. I want to paint them. I want to see if I can portray the beauty I saw. I asked them, and I hope they will let me.
When one’s life suddenly goes off a cliff, sometimes the injuries are such that significant recovery is necessary. If you ever find yourself in this situation, allow yourself time. Healing best occurs during rest. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Know that after a time, you will be able to go on. Allow yourself to grieve, if that is needed. Feel it all fully, and wade right through it, whitewater and all. You may feel as if you are going to drown, but you won’t. You will make it to the other side.
Sometimes there is a shift. It may be a coming together of perfect nourishment and clearness of mind, or it may just be a happy accident, but it’s that moment when every cell of your being is so alive that you can almost feel each one; when just the simple pleasure of being alive can bring tears of happiness, and you feel like you are in perfect tune with the universe.
Do you know how when you are tuning a stringed instrument and you pluck a string to match a note, and if the note matches, you can mute the initially plucked string and the matching one resonates all on its own? It does so because it is in perfect tune with the first. That’s how it is. You may not know to which note you are resonating, but if it is right, you will have unspeakable joy.
May you have resonance!
Wrapping paper just bothers me.
Here is the post from the old blog where I first pondered the situation.
Four years…but now it’s done. The first year, I tried to use up all the old wrapping paper I had. The next year, kept it to recycled gift bags stuffed with my paper shreddings (paper shreddings, bad idea…what a mess!). Last year I used anything recycled I had, newspaper, brown paper, etc. It was still stuff that was being thrown away.
My daughter had decided the previous year to invest in fabric and cloth ribbons and wrapped all her gifts that way, and took all the fabric back home with her to reuse the next year.
THIS year, I started making fabric bags out of scrap fabric and whatever kind of ribbon or cord I happen to have around. EASY wrapping! No need for tissue paper, no boxes, no need for tape. The bags can be reused or given as part of the gift. I am getting a head start! And not just for Christmas anymore…these bags are great to use ANY time you have a gift to give. So easy, so green, and I am finally SO happy! And I still like the tags from old cards idea.