Monday, July 20, 2009

I forgot to laugh... and it's been Hell!

I'm in the kitchen, cooking dinner tonight (nothing really good and fresh, gourmet and full of herbs like I so often used to make) but... at least I'm cooking! For myself!! This is the really impressive part (Jhon's working tonight and I almost never cook for myself lately-- takes too much time from work, and I'm always behind it seems). All of a sudden, our normally quiet little neighborhood is transformed by, not one, but two cars revving until the engine nearly screams, squealing tires, screeching brakes, ya know... agressive sounds. I start to think of bad things like them hitting my car, or my neighbor, or doing something malicious, or... "Stop it," I think to myself. "Think of what you want, not what you don't want. Think of something good."

So... I did, I thought about what I want. Though I've half-heartedly talked about what I want lately, I've not settled down and really just thought about what I want. I haven't really visualized it, and felt the good feelings of it. Looking back over some of my blog posts, especially the last, my feelings of being overwhelmed, as opposed to excited are obvious. I know the problem, and, in theory, the solution. Yet somehow, I've been unable to implement the solution lately.

But tonight, I did visualize something good while cooking, and it made me come up with a great idea. As I sat at the table eating, it occurred to me that I haven't had very many of those lately either... I've just kinda muddled along, working hard on the ideas I was having before I started working so hard. That's when I remembered the importance of balancing "doing" with "just thinking." How could I so easily have forgotten that that's when all my good ideas come?

Fast forward to after dinner...
I took tomorrow off (well, "off" of travel to get home/internet work done), so I give myself permission to relax and enjoy tonight. I scan our bookshelf, looking for a bit of something to fit my mood tonight, something uplifting... I need to get back on track here... something I can just kind of read a chapter or 2 of, and then get to bed at a reasonable hour...

My eyes stop on "Life's Greatest Lessons, 20 Things That Matter," by Hal Urban. Using a bookmark placed years ago, perhaps shortly after college since it was a graduation gift, I surmise that I've read Chapter One (SUCCESS IS MORE THAN MAKING MONEY) and Two (LIFE IS HARD... AND NOT ALWAYS FAIR). Really?? That's all of "Life's Greatest Lessons" I read?? It seems unlike me, and not very encouraging. "Hopefully I've learned more than that on my own," I think.

Commence, Chapter 3 (LIFE IS ALSO FUN... AND INCREDIBLY FUNNY). How ironic... I've had so little time for play, fun, or laughter lately. Now, I won't spoil the best quotes and gems of the chapter for those who love a good read, but it talks of the author's pursuit of serious disciplines and cultural movements that left him too serious and unsatisfied. It discusses scientific proof of the powerful health benefits & healing properties of laughter, as well as giving examples (Edison, Einstein) of the necessity of rest, play, and laughter in accomplishing large, arduous undertakings. Apparently, "Both discovered early that to work too hard or to think too intently for an extended period does more harm than good." Edison kept a cot and many notebooks of humor in his lab, enabling him to endure all the frustrations and long hours he passed through in his work. Another gentleman, Norman Cousins, designed his own healing program involving delving daily into all positive emotions (faith, love, hope, laughter), after being given a 1: 500 chance of surviving more than a few months. What he went on to accomplish after that is quite a story. Basically, the chapter discusses the importance of laughter, play, and rest to our health, head, work productivity, and relationships. Thinking back on the last year, and especially the last few months, I realize that I have figured out more than chapters 1 and 2... I knew the importance of all these things, and the balance of them... I just forgot. Forgot to balance work and seriousness with laughter and play. Both are good... but not to the exclusion of the other.

And I think of the good ideas I haven't yet accomplished, and those I have. I realize the importance of trying something thoroughly, but also the importance of allowing yourself to give up on a good idea that isn't working as well as you had hoped. That's the only way you have time to pursue (and create) more good ideas. And for the first time in a while, I stop feeling so overwhelmed. I'm ok. Better than ok, I'm proud of my accomplishments, grateful for my good luck and the kindness of others, and I'm excited... excited to sleep well and wake to begin a new Chapter tomorrow. The book chapter is WE LIVE BY CHOICE, NOT BY CHANCE. And we shall see what the life chapter brings...

And then, as I close the book, reflecting on all these thoughts, I hear the screech of tires, skidding around the corner, the engine whiiiIIINING to accelerate our short block, then tires squealing to meet the STOP sign, starting the cycle all over again.

And I think, "Thank you..."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What NOT to Do??

So... here's my schedule for this week (which I'm supposed to have been posting more regularly for folks I've met at Art Fairs but haven't had much time for). Why? Well, back to the "here's my schedule this week" part...

Monday- Fill/Ship orders, restock, *try* (unsuccessfully) to finish building website, and generally play catch-up with all things home and internet.
Tuesday- up at 4am to go to South Lake Tahoe to sell my work for my "Tahoe Tuesdays." Gone all day. And repeat at...
Wednesday- Sell work at market in Cameron Park.
Thursday- Switch hats (work Whitewater raft guiding in Coloma).
Friday- head south for Stockton Art Walk.
Saturday- midtown Sacramento for "Second Saturday" showing.
Sunday- sell work in El Dorado hills for market/event there.

(Mind you, many of the places listed are approx. 1-2 hours drive).

Now, I don't mean to sound ungrateful or unappreciative-- I'm VERY grateful for the warm reception I'm finding out here and all the opportunities being presented. I think that actually is what makes this so tough. I'm finding myself unable to keep my energy up and I'm falling behind on activities/priorities/obligations/etc... I know some people do a fantastic job of keeping a schedule more chaotic than that and big kudos to them (and envy) but I am coming to realize that for me...

Something's Gotta GO!

This routine of getting to bed at midnight and up early, then driving all over (to events that sometimes are productive and other times leave somewhat to be desired) is taking too much toll on my health, sanity, time spent actually doing photography and with loved ones... ya know, the stuff that makes life rich.

It's a tough decision for me to make (I tend to want to take advantage of all opportunities offered to me) but, I have to face facts and facts is... I'm losing steam. So, as I have for the last couple of posts, I'm going to assure you that I HAVE NOT forgotten you and am working to make changes to allow me to catch up soon... just not sure what all those changes will be yet. But they will be, and they will be soon! :) Stay tuned next week...

And, as ever, warm wishes for a wonderful week filled with laughs, beauty, and all things joyous!