Want More Time? Stuck In a Rut? Then Slow Down…

There’s something about my approach to painting that I have only recently understood and it very clearly serves to explain why I’ve been frustrated and frequently blocked, even when I’ve been prolific. For ages I’ve thought my paintings suck, or lack, or just don’t quite do it for me. I’d like to share this with you because it’s a common problem with lots of areas in our lives. Apply my theory to any area in your life and see what happens.

Here’s my theory…

It’s not what you are doing It’s HOW you are doing it!

Now that may not be a major revelation for you if you are a careful person who instinctively takes their time but for me, when I discovered I was simply rushing, this was my moment of breakthrough. Ok, I knew why I was rushing; because I don’t have much time to paint and I’m trying to fill a canvas or whatever and get a painting ‘done’.

What I had forgotten was the process. I had become goal oriented…oh how strange!

Just like the vast majority of my life I had unwittingly transferred my frantic search for ‘more’ to my creative life as well!

You know the scene…rushing through the boring jobs to get to the one you love and then when you get to that important one you really give a damn about you are so strung up you botch it by overworking a piece, going too far, too quickly, your mind completely out of the moment and in the idealized future when….oh dear, another unsatisfying result which leads to further feelings of frustration and reinforcing the ‘I’m crap’ belief system.

Sound familiar? Well it does to me.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of guided meditation during my chill time with the help of a few inspired apps like Insight Timer instead of reading or searching on eBay. This is paying dividends in my attention span and my ability to choose thoughts. Its been a while since I rushed headlong through a painting. I’ve been close but the process has been loosened out a bit from my previous habits and there is a bit more time to choose the next move. As a result my work is starting to deepen, and this pleases me immensely.

Ok, it’s been frustrating to have to wait so long to actually paint something, simply because I am taking longer to get round to it, but again, the quality over quantity bug is starting to itch me more than the one that just wants more, at any cost. I get the feeling we can all be a bit fixated on the more and not the less, so it’s a bit of a minimalist thing I suppose. I guess you could say it’s minimalism in action, not in stuff terms or to put it another way, simply pacing our activities away from more to less.

It’s not just our most important creative pursuits that need pacing. Due to experiencing ME/CFS for the past few years, I’ve had to learn how to pace everything! Literally…

My walking, my talking, my breathing, my eating, my cleaning, even… well you get the picture! Even getting dressed used to get me wound up in the morning and falling over my jean legs; I was always trying so desperately to get somewhere, but where?

Somewhere Else!

The thing is, the grass really does look greener on the other side because we’re not standing in it looking down at the gaps! In psychological terms when we are rushing we are living in non-acceptance of the present. Why is this? Why is the present moment such a hard place to be?

Our culture for one encourages the vision to always be scanning for bigger, better, brighter…it actively fuels our discontent.

Indeed, many a time I have observed myself walking through town scanning, window shopping, desiring, planning my next spend. It doesn’t matter how much we have, the habit of spending as just one example is indicative of our collective inability to slow down. Yeah, there is also the background pressure to keep the economy going, but this is rhetoric. We are the economy! If we slowed down to a human pace and not that of a machine, the economy would adjust. But lets face it, I’m being utopian here and humans are no more going to slow down than I’m going to become Buddha in the next five minutes.

Wait a minute. …

But I could you know! I could become a Buddha in an instant if I really believed it was possible, and so could you. Likewise, it’s as hard to imagine we are even able to slow down, but I’ve seen it is possible and probably necessary for lots of reasons that we all know. Stress for one.

What if we spent a whole day watching our breath, watching our thoughts, watching our endless list of needs and desires play themselves on loop. What would happen if we could see clearly?

What if we became mindful, ethical, peaceful, slllllooooooowwww down just enough to take care of our creations and most importantly, our relationships, for they might just be the most important things we ever create.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

‘What if……………………?’

Namaste

🙂

2 thoughts on “Want More Time? Stuck In a Rut? Then Slow Down…

  1. Forgetting about the process and becoming goal oriented is something most people can relate to, including myself. It’s easy to fall in the habit of becoming frustrated and focusing too much on the finish line or being too hard on yourself for not progressing at a rate that is satisfactory to the stressful standards that we put on ourselves. Being in the present moment allows a person to give proper acknowledgement and credit to the process of obtaining the goal. While it is important to have a goal in mind, the process is if anything more important. Without it, the goal cannot exist.
    I have a dry erase board and it has my goals on it, dead center of that dry erase board I write and re-write everyday the next steps for me obtaining those goals. As I cross one thing off, another fills its place. I’m never going to be able to cross all the things off my list, therefore learning to embrace the process is inevitable. I try to remind myself to look at progress differently, in terms of if I am better today than the day before, if I helped the momentum towards what I am trying to achieve or become. Great post, I look forward to reading more from you.

  2. Thanks Bad Brain!
    Excellent comment. Yes the goal and the process do go hand in hand and need to co-exist. I agree that losing sight of either will nullify the ‘why’ of what you are doing and therefore it just becomes a big ‘what am I doing?’.
    I love the white board thing. I nearly bought a big pin board recently. I walked out of a meeting and they had one for sale for a fiver. ‘Tempting’ I said out loud and the lady in the waiting room just laughed…yeah how many women my age are into pin boards? I do wonder sometimes but really it’s a fascinating thing and I shall try to do something similar and see what happens.
    ‘If I am better today than the day before then I must be doing something right.’ That’s a great mantra. I now keep a note book of all the ‘practices’ and new stuff I’m trying otherwise it’s easy to forget things that work if your trying lots of new stuff at once. Once it becomes habit it’s easy then. That’s my goal. Easy & Happy!
    Big Thanks for my first proper comment!
    🙂

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