Here is a piece I've been working on - it's going g to get its own blog, it has been so challenging! More on it later. (But just gotta love those #Allison Glass fabrics .
Wow - I've almost gone an entire month without blogging again! I apologize to my faithful followers. I simply have let bogging and many other things fall to the wayside. Mostly because of disorganization, really - and lack of discipline, and so many other reasons, including lack of commitment. so I have learned. I shall explain.
Recently one night, disgusted by things forgotten and by lack of accomplishment, I went into my studio almost in tears.
( Here's a close-up of the piece I am quilting right now - I'm trying to add dimension without taking away from the beautiful fabrics. I will share more on this later)
"What am I doing here? What the hell is wrong with me? Is this really all I am good for - cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry?" I thought to myself. "Because those are just about the only things I am keeping up with and getting done lately - what a loser I've become! I double schedule. I lose things. I forget things. For god's sake, I used to have a career! I raised a child. I did stuff! I accomplished things. Now I can't even remember to pick things up at the grocery store! Man, I SUCK!!!" I got a firm grip on myself, did some meditating, calmed myself down, and went to bed feeling a little better but still quite troubled.
The next day, a little bruised and irritated with myself, while I was eating lunch I sat down to watch one of the few tv shows I DVR and watch regularly called Super Soul Sunday, on the Oprah Winfrey Network. On this show, Oprah interviews different people - writers, spiritual teachers, educators, leaders, even sports figures sometimes, who share their spiritual journeys and things they have learned. Most of the time I only watch about 20 minutes at a time, while I'm eating, and then turn it off, never to finish it. Not so this day. This particular program happened to have Steven Pressfield, an author, who among other things wrote the book The Legend of Bagger Vance, on which the 2000 movie with Will Smith is based. In the Super Soul program, Mr. Pressfield talks about various ways that people encounter what he calls Resistance (with a capital R). According to Mr. Pressfield, Resistance is a force which comes up any time we are pursuing something that is truly important to our soul. It isn't necessarily our fault that it appears, it's just part of being human. He wrote an entire book about it, called The War of Art,. In the book he not only describes different forms of Resistance and what they look like, he gives practical advice on how to overcome or defeat it.
Once again, I feel like the Universe has given me exactly what I need at exactly the right moment I need it. I haven't even finished the book but already I see how I have encountered this Resistance and how it has been keeping me from pursuing my goals, especially as they relate to creativity. Basically, I realized that I constantly set aside my own pursuits, (which I deem selfish) in favor of many,many other things. I've just been moving from thing to thing with no plan and little discipline. And the results have been a lack of excitement, accomplishment, and a feeling of deep self-doubt and even uselessness..
Another way I've given in to Resistance is by not even examining what is really important to me. I always let other things pull me away or I let someone or something interfere with what I am trying to do. For example, if someone asks me to do something with or for them, I do it rather than saying "No, I have to work." Which caused me to realize that I also haven't been taking my work seriously.
So - I have some things to think about and some things to decide.
What I'm doing is taking a good hard look at what is important to me now. Because, you know - I'm not sure I've ever really done this before, to be honest. I had a clear path mapped out in my life (heavily influenced by my parents and others in my life, I must admit) that I never really even questioned - grow up, get an education, have a career, find a partner (hopefully) and raise a family....check, check, check, check and check. I won't say it was always easy achieving those goals, but honestly - I never really thought hard about what was next - it seemed obvious and I didn't examine it much. So were they my soul goals? Well, I don't know, to be honest. Having said that, I have few regrets. Because not only do I feel that I have truly lived but also that I have LOVED my life so far (Okay not every single second, people - that's not possible! Shit happens, you know!) but a damned good bit of it! So those ideas I was following - whosoever they belonged to - certainly have brought immeasurable amounts of joy to me, so no need to look back and question really. I am content with the choices I've made.
But now, things are different. I find myself in a new position. My son is in college, I'm no longer teaching; my husband and I are relatively stable in our lives at the moment... But I still want to live and do and accomplish things. The problem is - I need to figure out what that means for me at this moment in my life.
So I need to examine first - What are my NOW goals? My true, deep soul goals? And secondly, am I willing to Work Hard and Sacrifice to achieve them? Am I willing to battle Resistance with a capital R for each of these soul goals? The first two questions take time to completely parse out, I realize. But in thinking about it, I do have enough of an idea to get started with, anyway.
The answer to the second set of questions is absolutely, unequivocally - YES! So - armed with this burgeoning knowledge, the help of Steven Pressfield's book, and my own excitement and enthusiasm, I sat down and made a set of lists. Included are the following "Must do's," which are the things that have to be done, period. You might be surprised to find that these tasks include setting aside time for the pursuit of my heart's deepest desires, my soul-goals. I'm no longer considering these goals to be selfish, because they aren't. If I want to make them happen, I must make them priorities. So they are. Of course the relationships in my life are also a priorities - not just family, but friends as well. So they are on the first list, too. I also have things like meditation, exercise, office time for our business, etc. because these are all the things that I have to spend time on, non-negotiable. Then there are other things, that don't happen daily necessarily, but often weekly or monthly - grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing, writing, reading, set meetings for various organizations of which I am part, book clubs, etc. These things are "Should-do's," because although they are important, they are secondary to the first list. And then there are the things that don't even happen on a weekly basis, but that happen sometimes...and so on. The various lists were long and a little daunting, to say the least. I was doubtful that half of it could fit in, and thinking that I was nuts trying to even do it - I should prune some things out, be realistic, give up...
But I said a resounding "NO!" to Resistance, and just wrote a tentative daily/weekly/monthly schedule, starting with absolute priorities and ending with the things that seemed less important.
And was completely astounded when every single thing on every list was able to fit perfectly into my schedule - I mean all of it! Every SINGLE thing that is important to my soul, all my obligations, all the time for my relationships, my community - there's time in my life for all of it. With time to spare, even. All I had to do was give myself the time to work it all out and the permission to prioritize what is important to me. And to overcome Resistance.
I'm not saying I think things will always go perfectly as it says on the schedule. As I mentioned before, shit happens...often.. I'm okay with that and anyway, it would still happen even if I weren't okay with it. I'm even trying to be grateful for it, because each time it does, it's an opportunity for me to grow and honestly, life might be a little boring if it didn't. We all know we need both yin and yang in to make life complete! And of course it will change as I figure out more about what is really truly important to me. But at least for once I have the beginnings of a plan that I'm certain is my own plan, the one that is true to my soul. I feel a sense of lightness, ease and even a sense of accomplishment as I've begun to follow my schedule. I think it comes from knowing I'm on the path...to being my true, authentic self. What can be better than that?