Hamster Wheels and Pseudo Thread…among other things

So…I read another great post from one of my favorite email subscriptions yesterday – Liz Goodchild’s, “Life Coaching for People Who Give a Shit”.
I read her advice Every. Single. Time. she posts – it’s that good – guess that makes me one of those people… 
But I already knew that. 
I’m an INFJ. That’s not code for anything – it’s a personality type.  
I’ve posted about that before (how learning your personality type is like finding your very own personal owner’s manual…the lost edition) – it’s all very fascinating and entertaining and simple to do too, if you are so inclined. And to keep you from having to go back and dig through old posts in case I’ve now piqued your interest …go to: http://www.16personalities.com to get the scoop. But I digress…
THIS post isn’t about that – not directly anyway.
THIS post is about the ‘Aha!’ moment that sometimes (if we’re lucky) occurs when we read something that tells us to pay attention. Really pay attention. The light bulb moment…The nudge.  
I get this nudge often. I’m tuned in. So, believe me – I know a nudge when I see/feel one.
Yet…I DON’T EVER SEEM TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
Crazy, right? Especially for someone as ‘tuned in’ as I claim to be. 
It’s the bane of my existence. Well, it’s a major bane, the one topping the list at the moment. Some of the others are: people who litter, tags in shirts that use horribly stiff pseudo thread, and flimsy drinking straws and stir-sticks – but I’ll save those for another time.
This post is about that feeling I get often: ‘the thing I’m supposed to be doing with my life’. You know the thing – it’s just over there – somewhere else – just out of reach and always a bit fuzzy. 
And so I read posts and articles and books about it. I acknowledge the Aha! Moment whenever I encounter one and enthusiastically embrace it, “Yes, that is SO true! Yes, I must DO that!”
I understand and agree with everything about the Aha! Moment completely. It resonates with me like meeting a kindred spirit for the first time. I know it. I understand it. It makes complete sense to me. And I have absolutely no concerns about the validity of any of it.
Yet….crickets.
It’s like that old saying of waiting for your ship to come in. You see the ship. It’s loaded with passengers who’ve already gotten the nudge and are happily on board waving and blowing kisses at you, telling you to come aboard too. But for some reason you just can’t step off the dock. 
It’s all very frustrating.
I tell myself that ‘if it were the right time it would happen – whatever it happens to be’. And that ‘things happen when they are supposed to happen’. Blah, blah, blah, blaaaaahhhh.  
But…doesn’t it also take doing something to make something happen?
If I want the TV remote and it’s across the room, is fate telling me I’m not supposed to watch TV because the remote isn’t already in my hand? Maybe I’ll learn something from the television show I’m about to watch or maybe, if I choose not to watch, I’ll read something interesting instead. No big deal.
We’re given opportunities and choices for everything. Everything. Not just the little things but the big things as well. Why do we get so tripped up in one instance but not in another?
Because the stakes seem higher when it comes to life choices and because we’re so afraid of making a wrong choice or a mistake. We’re so afraid of doing it wrong – even when we have no idea what ‘wrong’ is. We may not even know what ‘right’ is.
And this is the truth – –
We’d rather continue to do the same thing over and over (and over) like a hamster in a wheel – than risk doing something new and different – even if new and different has the potential to be better!
That’s insane.
So….here is something to really think about:

Where is the line drawn in the sand and, more importantly, who’s in charge of the drawing?

And if you’d like to be inspired – read Liz’s blog…www.lizgoodchild.co.uk

 

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the path of mindfulness

Occasionally I read books on meditation and mindfulness.  I’ve never tried to actually practice meditating – well, maybe once or twice – but it didn’t stick – but I do like to read about it and hope that something beneficial will register with me in the process.

One area I find interesting about people is the way we compartmentalize our lives.

Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this is his book, Peace is Every Step, The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.  He mentions how we should be able to bring the practice of meditation into our daily lives and not just during the period of time we spend on meditating  (assuming we do meditate).  He questions the reader…’ do you practice breathing between phone calls?, do you practice smiling while cutting carrots?, do you practice relaxing after hours of hard work? ‘.  These are practical questions, he says.  If you know how to apply meditation to dinner time, leisure time, sleeping time, etc. it will penetrate your daily life…Mindfulness can penetrate the activities of everyday life, each minute, each hour of our daily life, and not just be a description of something far away.

Which got me to thinking…if this process works for bringing mindfulness into our daily lives…then wouldn’t a similar process work for bringing creativity into our daily lives as well?  If we ‘practice’ seeing like artists – visualizing like artists, thinking like artists – at all times of the day – even when we are not in the studio…don’t you think that practice could impact our work when we are in the studio?

I do realize we, as artists, tend to do this to some extent already…but maybe there is still more we can do – to formalize it so it becomes more a part of the process…

I’m just thinking out loud.

Gift from the Sea

Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s reflections on a woman’s life were matured in active years of family living and stimulated by conversations with men and women who experience the same problems and feel the same need for assessing the true values of life.

The setting of her book is the sea shore; the time, a brief vacation which had lifted her from the distractions of everyday existence into the sphere of meditation.  As the sea tosses up its gifts – shells rare and perfect – so the mind, left to its ponderings, brings up its own treasures of the deep.  And the shells become symbols here for the various aspects of life she is contemplating.

In a blend of complete sincerity and delicacy, so uniquely her own, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares with the reader her awareness of the many frustrating elements we face today: the restlessness, the unending pressures and demands, the denial of leisure and silence, the threat to inner peace and integration, the uneasy balance of the opposites, man and woman.  With radiant lucidity she makes visible again the values of the inner life, without which there is no true fulfillment.  She does this without the overtones of preaching, but herself as a seeker, echoing – only clearer and stronger – our own small still voice.