Tag Archives: intention

Time Suckers and Procrastination

1.        That slippery slope

Last year I took my TV and stuck it in the closet.  I figured “out of sight, out of mind” and since it was a time in my life when I felt strongly about modeling healthy behavior and since I had a lot going on in the evenings, it was easy to forget that it was lurking a few feet away behind a couple of flimsy louvered doors.

Instead of tuning in to one of the two channels that I actually get with the rabbit ears on the top of the set (yes, there is no cable in my house, no microwave, no automatic coffee maker), I knit socks and listened to music, I worked hard on a journal that I was writing and painting in.  I cooked.  I read.  I wandered about the house a bit but my mind was mine.

I did miss movies though and thanks to my then 17 year old son, found out that I could watch them on my computer.  It’s a tiny screen but if you sit close enough, who cares?  A couple of nights each week, we would sit together and watch a movie and then turn the computer off.  He taught me how I could stream them, which increased the number of viewing options I had exponentially.

One evening as I sat waiting for him to come home from an evening out, I decided I was tired and didn’t have enough energy to be creative or even to concentrate on my book so I went online and selected a movie and watched it by myself.  When it was over, I started an online Scrabble game just to pass the time; an occupation I had discovered during a time in my life when mental distraction was necessary to my sanity.  When I heard the door open, I closed the computer before I could be “caught”.

The number of evenings when I was too tired to be creative started to increase after that.  I was still secretive about my watching habits.  If no one knew, it didn’t seem to be quite as dangerous a transgression and after all, the TV was still in the closet.  I wasn’t watching every day and what the heck, I was tired at night.

From a friend, I found that a couple of TV shows that I had watched could be found on the internet.  This was getting dangerous.  The number of shows and movies that caught my attention could now easily entertain me every night of the week if I allowed them to.  Luckily, summer came and the afternoon sunshine turned into early evening sunshine.  The porch was open and the frogs were singing their sex songs.  I was being entertained by nature and my computer use stopped.

It is now fall again.  The evenings are getting dark and sometimes I have to light a fire to keep the house warm.  The computer is out on the table in the living room because it’s my only source of music at the moment.  I have watched a couple of movies at night.  I haven’t yet taken out my knitting and my journal is hidden deep in the case I use to haul it around.

Before the cold gets too deep and the nights too dark, I have a decision to make about my time.  I know what I want to do.  I know what would make me feel good about myself.  I know that time wasted is never returned.  I know that what you practice, you become.

I know that sometimes I am too tired to be creative and that watching movies can be fun.

Decisions can be made day by day as long as my practice is intentional.  More on that in part 2.

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Vacation

It’s that time of year again.  Just like all of the mental health workers of the world, August is the time of year that I retreat from the world of my daily commute, internet access and the modern world.  Two blissful weeks spent in Maine, the first in the north woods on a pond with no electricity.  This is a family property that swells with cousins and aunts and uncles and children and dogs during the first week of August.  We spend our days catching up on news, swimming and climbing mountains.  Our evenings are card games and the occasional community bonfire.  I love this place.  I’ve been visiting since I was a little girl and will continue as long as I am able.  It is like going back in time.

The second week is rather more luxurious.  After all, there is electricity.  It is a house that my grandfather built on the rocky Maine coast.  This year I will be joined by my son for a weekend and then my art friends for the rest of the week.  My favorite time there is coffee on the deck as the sun rises.   I am anticipating great food and lots of creative fun.

Setting my intention for this time:

Relaxation – These weeks are the calm before the storm when I have to get ready for my son’s trip out west and his first year of college.

Mindfulness – I will work on staying in the moment and paying attention to what I am doing now.

Work – I intend to do some thinking and planning for a workshop that I am hosting later in the fall.

Play – I intend to have fun and make the most of my family and friends during this special time.

Say It Out Loud

A few days ago I wrote about changing the name of the room that I work in from “Sewing Room” to Studio”.  It took a long time for the name change to stick, mostly because every time I referred to the room, I was in a rush or the middle of a conversation and I reverted back to what I remembered easily and called it once again, the Sewing Room.  Everyone knew what I was talking about.  To make the change real and permanent, I had to be very deliberate with my words.  I had to say “Studio” when I thought “Sewing Room” and I had to do it over and over again until it became habit and the people I was talking to knew what I meant.

The way I refer to my work or myself can carry the same untidy remnants of the past.  It’s taken years for me to be able to tell people that I am an artist without cringing inside at the audacity of giving myself that label.   Now it comes more easily.  I’ve said it over and over again and I no longer have to blush or stumble over the word like it had an embarrassing smell to it.  It feels real.

I’m working on my dreams now.  I have ideas about things that I want to do that seem out of my reach.  I have lots of excuses; not enough money, not enough time, people won’t take me seriously, I have to think of others first; you know the drill here – I’m sure it goes on in all of our heads to some extent.  So now – I decided to say some of the things that I was thinking about out loud.  I decided to talk about them.

Talking about things as though they are real makes them feel real.  It gives substance to the possibilities that might otherwise evaporate inside my brain.  It makes me want to do something about them.  Yesterday I talked about making my whole house into my studio.  It might happen – it might not – but I did go home and start the process of making the house useful for me.  Saying it out loud made it important and real.

Yesterday, I sent a proposal to someone I want to work with.  The idea has been loitering in my frontal lobe for a few months now but I was ignoring the importance of it and letting everything else cut in line in front of it.  Yesterday I realized it was time to ante up and talk out loud and guess what – she said…….yes…….she wants to talk about it – out loud.

Word for the Year

At the beginning of this year, this new decade, during a ritual attended by my art group, I chose a word that I decided to embrace as the beacon for my journey through this year.  The word is PASSION.

If I were to look back over last year and try to describe it with one word, the word might be WORRY or CARETAKER or FEAR.  In the spirit of moving onward and upward, this year’s word focuses in a more positive way on where I want to go rather than on what everyone else is doing around me.  Don’t misunderstand me here.  I am still a mother to a teenage boy and need to be a role model and support for him when he needs me.  I still want to be aware of the people around me that I love and be there for them like they were there for me.

However, this year my goal was to spend my spiritual energy on me and where I want to be and what I want to do.

It’s hard to write that sentence.  It goes against the way that I was raised as a good girl; take care of others and to put yourself second. That is the way that I have been living for most of my 50+ years.  But, I believe that I am not an old dog and that I am quite (thank you very much) capable of learning new tricks.

So – PASSION.

Focusing my energy on myself and what I want to do requires knowing what I want to do and knowing what I love.  The things that I have always loved seem to be tainted somehow with the influence of their context.  Do I love to cook because I am a mom and I love to take care of my child that way?  Do I love to make things because it gave me a reason to be by myself in the studio and focus on something other than family?  Does it even matter?

It felt like I had to start from scratch.  It felt like I had to find my passion with new eyes – the eyes of the child me – the person who I was before I became the caretaker, the mom, the wife.  And yet, that person no longer exists.  I am an amalgam of all the things that I have been practicing during my life.  My passion exists because of this practice and to toss it out now and start over would be folly.

Instead, I decided to look at it with renewed eyes, the eyes of the person that I had become.  I resolved to take the time to explore my passion; reevaluate it; discover it in its new context.  I decided to be open to new ideas and new passions.  I yearned to take the moment, breathe and discover what it is that I love.

With the changes that these last short six months have wrought, the idea of PASSION is once again dancing in front of me and demanding my attention.  I will be living alone; I will be making daily decisions based on no one else’s needs but my own.  I can decide what will drive those decisions.  Looking back at the new year’s ceremony, I see what hopes I had for myself.  I see that circumstances change and yet the guiding light that I lit in January still shines and there is no need to reinvent myself.  I was always there.  I just need to remember to listen.

Breathe

This weekend I am hosting a graduation party for my son who will be going off to Colorado in 6 very short weeks.  Here is what I am feeling:

Pride – I love to look at this boy/man and see the courage and determination that he has developed.  I continue to marvel at his strength and to keep my mind open and learn from his enthusiasm, youth and honesty.

Sadness – There has been a lot of leaving in my life in the past year and this will be one more.  It is a sweet one in that it is what we both want but I will miss him in my daily life.

Elation – I haven’t lived alone for over 30 years!

Fear – I haven’t lived alone for over 30 years!

Elation/Fear – This is the unknown.  What will my evenings look like?  Will I be inspired or lonely?  Will I start eating dinner over the sink or serve myself candlelit dinners?  Will the phone ever ring if I’m the only one home?  Will I turn into the crazy cat lady or will I have (as my grandmother used to say) “beaus” lining up at the door?

Peace – This is what I feel when I stop and remember to breathe; remember that I can only live right now, right here.  Remember that I want to enjoy this process and feel each step as I walk along.  The rest will come.

Intention – As I start down this new road, I am setting this intention:  I will pay attention to my life by noticing where I am and what it feels like.  I will move my focus away from tomorrow and away from yesterday to experience today in the most aware way possible.  I will pay attention to my art by respecting its power in my life and keeping it close.  I will practice.  I will practice.  I will practice.

I will breathe.