It goes against every fiber in your being. After years of self training, struggling and pushing just about every waking moment, one of the most difficult things to do is to back off and actually enjoy doing little or nothing. Then all of a sudden someone says that word to you (“relax!”) and you look at them dumbfounded. The sound of the word triggers a vague memory in the back of your mind. You think back to a time long ago. Before children. Before you had your own business. A time when you woke up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and had no school and no other responsibility and said to yourself “What am I going to do today?” And then the little light bulb in your head begins to brighten and it comes to you. You remember what they are referring to. And you think “why would I want things to be like that anyway?” and you make a plan as to what you want to accomplish for the day.
Such is the life of a creative person.
I found myself thinking like that this morning. It isn’t that I have run out of things to do – quite the contrary, but I am at a point where all the ‘important things’ are pretty much done for the moment and I am actually on top of things.
In the past, this would have bothered me tremendously.
I have always been the type of person who pushes myself harder than any one around me ever could. I had that type of personality where if I were to actually achieve all the goals I set out for myself, I would find myself not really feeling proud and accomplished, but wondering if I set my goals too low. How self defeating is that?
I think I have mellowed in the past couple of years though. It seems as I get older that I am finally figuring out that pushing yourself harder than you could ever expect to preform is not necessarily a good thing. You wind up living your life feeling that you fall short of your self-expectations and as a result your self esteem and self confidence is lacking. You then try to push harder in order to compensate for those feelings of inadequacy and that only serves to make the situation ever more difficult and perpetuate the cycle.
It is a difficult cycle to break once in it.
We are all creatures of habit. be it good habits or bad. As such, it seems that once we are in a habit, it is a challenge to deviate from our behavior, whether it is good for us or destructive. I think it comes from the comfort we as humans find in what we call ‘routine.’ We like to know what to expect and habits help insure us that there will be few (or less anyway) surprises.
Breaking habits invite changes in our lives. While some of us enjoy looking forward to new challenges and unexpected events, many of us are just too worn out from the day to day activities and happenings and aren’t very open to these changes. Having habits and routines give us a sense of control and eliminating those also rob us of some of the security that we build for ourselves. And that could cause some discomfort.
So why all this talk of habits and routine and security?
Last night I had a moment when I actually felt ‘caught up.’ Now that may seem like a simple thing to most of you, but for the past half century or so that I have been on this planet, it is a rare occurrence. Especially around the holidays.
I finished all the instructions for the calendar project and they are ready to send to my editor. The laundry was done. The house was (pretty) clean. My emails were caught up. I had a rare night here alone with the cats and sat here sipping hot apple juice laced with cinnamon by the glowing light of my little holiday tree. Pancakes was curled up on my lap and I had some soft Christmas music playing and it actually felt good to just sit and do – nothing.
It didn’t last too long, and I have much to do today. But for those few moments of quiet I sat there stroking the cat and thought to myself “this is good” and I found something that I have been in search of for a long, long time.
I hope in reading this that you all find the time to reflect and savor your own lives. It is a small gift you give yourself that will be cherished for a lifetime.
Have a beautiful Sunday.
… “To achieve the strength we need in living, an inner life must be lived apart from the world.
To wear the whole world as a loose garment is the key to serenity.
Loosen your hold on earth, its cares and its worries.
Unclasp your hold on other people and material things.
Let go of resentments, they hurt only you, not the person, persons or institutions you resent.
Relax your grip, and the tide of peace will flow in.
Live in today, not in regrets over what happened yesterday, not in the fear and apprehension of what tomorrow may bring.
The past is gone as a cloud of dust.
Tomorrow may never come.
We are faced with living just one day…today.
Try to relax, rejoice, and be glad in it!”
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"