Tag Archives: walker

Timeout for Art: Coming up Empty

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I am an artist.

It took me many long years to learn to use those words to describe what drives me, what my passions are. For a long while I felt unworthy of the title. I’d say, “I like art,” “I’m an art student,” “I play around in art,” or “I’m working in the arts.” All of these reflect interest, but none imply achievement. Finally, I got over that barrier. I say “I am an artist.” Not only that, when asked to describe myself, that is usually the first thing that comes to mind. It has become the way I think of myself, on equal footing with mother, walker, feminist and writer. It is a big part of my identity.

I am an artist.

It doesn’t go away. This identity was slow in attaching itself to me, but now that it’s here, it isn’t fickle. Even when long days and weeks go by without time in the studio, it hangs on. Though sometimes I feel I have nothing to express through my art anymore, it stays with me. That’s good…because sometimes I just can’t bring it. No time and no energy leads to no inspiration, because inspiration isn’t a gift from the heavens, but just a by-product of daily tending. If I don’t put in the time, I don’t reap the rewards. It’s every bit as simple as that.

Still, I am an artist.

Though my children are grown and long-gone from my household…though it’s a rare occasion that I can even slip in a piece of advice…though I can see them each straining to not roll their eyes when I try to relate how I handled things…still, I am a mother. It’s at the very core of my identity; it won’t go away.

I think I will always think of myself as a walker, though my distance is not as impressive as it once was, and I let many other things get in the way. It has to do with how I feel about walking and how I feel when I am walking that holds its place in my list of personal identifiers.

My life is crowded with things to do…many are less important to my spiritual growth and well being than art, but demand my time anyway. I can’t always choose which way to best direct my energy. I have to consider obligations, commitments and the earning power of any endeavor. It might always be like this, though I’m wishing for better. No matter what, I am an artist.

 

What Next?

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After gaining recognition for his movie, Super-Size Me, Morgan Spurlock developed a TV show. “Thirty Days”  placed people in situations that varied wildly from their standards of beliefs, and showed them the opposing view from the inside. A “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” theme. The time frame was based on the concept that 30 days is the length of time it takes to form a habit. Beyond just habit, though, given thirty days of practice, a behavior or way of thinking can actually become an integral part of your personality.

That is the time, theoretically, when the forced adherence to a regimen becomes a lifestyle.

The thirty-day mark is where a person moves from “I’ve gone twenty-nine days without smoking”…to “I am a non-smoker.”

When the person dragging out of the house every morning at dawn to hit the pavement, wakes up and thinks, “I am a runner.”

When the dieter limiting food choices decides that light dressings actually are preferable to heavy sauces.

I love this theory!

I have been working at self-improvement all of my life. Too often, my determination gives way to boredom, distraction or just plain laziness. Many times I’ve thought I formed a good habit, only to find that cheesecake – or some other bad choice – had simply not presented itself for awhile.

I know it’s not foolproof.

Thirty days of practice can, perhaps, make it easier to follow a regimen, which can provide a sense of pride in saying, “I am a walker” or “I am a good house-keeper” or “I make healthy food choices.” Thirty days of sporadic involvement or neglect can destroy that habit as if all of the hard work and determination never happened.

I have written a blog post every day through the month of November. Where am I?

I took this on as an exercise in discipline, not to form a habit. I think of this blog as a life practice that helps me to slow down and be more aware. It gives me the opportunity to reach out to others. I will not give it up, but I do not intend to continue posting every day.

So what have I gained?

Well, in taking this seriously, I sometimes had to get up early or stay up late in order to get my writing in, around my schedule. There were times I woke up in the night, panicked at the thought that I’d forgotten to post something. There were times when I wrote very little, but I managed to get something out there every day. That, alone, is huge for me!

I didn’t let all other things go by the wayside. Often, when I start a self-improvement regimen, I use that as an excuse to neglect everything else. “How can I possibly be expected to dust when I am trying to diet?” Not this time! I managed to integrate this added discipline into my life without any more than the usual procrastination and disregard for other activities. That gives me hope!

I think this is the way to go: thirty days at a time, devote myself to one area of importance without giving up on everything else.

My head is reeling! Where to go next?

I have a series of collages underway in my studio that have been stalled for lack of time and devotion.

The studio could use a good thirty days of attention, to get it organized for work and creative function.

Shall I start compiling stories and recipes for the cookbook I’ve been planning?

The exercise regimen I’ve been working at in a series of fits and starts deserves a serious commitment.

This house would be a more pleasant place to live if I spent a month finishing half-done cleaning and home-improvement projects.

Even just a good long walk every day is a good habit to form before winter settles in.

I can’t decide!

The dogs are pacing the floor; today, I’ll start by giving them a walk.

As for the next commitment, I’ll write about it when I know.