Friday, January 10, 2014

Your Very Best RIGHT NOW - What Do You Need?


Awareness, Plain and Simple
I often get caught up in the hurry scurry of everyday living, only to look up and realize that 2 and a half months have flown by. I suspect a large number of you are the same.

Is this a good thing? Does this mean I'm living in the moment or does it mean that I'm living with too little awareness?

Probably the latter. Unfortunately.

It certainly says that I'm not living intentionally.

It brings to mind the old saying, "The days are long, the years are short."

I was recently lamenting this fact to someone and they asked, "What do you need today, RIGHT NOW, to be your very best?"

"Uh. Um. Ah. Yeah, let me get back to you on that," was my addled response.

"No," they pushed. "What do you need? You already know. Just say it."

The first thing I threw out was money. It's the easy answer. Who doesn't need or want more money? Wouldn't money make everything better?

But it wasn't the real answer, not really.

What I need most is knowledge. Organization is a very close second. Focus and inspiration follow and any one of those could top the list on any given day.

"So get it," was the response.

It Ain't That Easy
That was my immediate thought. It isn't that easy or I would have done it by now, dontcha think!?!

But as I began to mull over the idea, I came to some startling conclusions.

It can be that easy.

I know how to ask questions, I know how to read, research and study. In other words, I know how to gain knowledge.

But...it's not quick and that has been my stumbling block—I want to know what I need to know right now. RIGHT NOW.

Yeah, well, not happening.

I have been (as usual) standing in the way of my own progress.

Sigh.

How This Applies
As Katie said in the comments on the last post, she wants to live more intentionally this year. A good many of us would like to do that, judging by the feedback.

I would go so far as to say that it's not enough to intend on living a year aware/focused/intentionally.

What about the days? The hours? The minutes? How do we live those intentionally?

To think we could live them all intentionally is quite intimidating to me. Scares the mess out of me, actually.

Just like making a masterpiece out of each day, I don't think it's possible to do.

To be intentional every minute?

Count me out.

Instead, I would like to be clear on the intent of my actions and thoughts for the day, for a project, or for how I may approach a given situation. I think by approaching things in this manner, I can let those minutes take care of themselves.

How Does This Apply To You
If you're an creative individual faced with 356 days (or less) left in your 2014 journal, you may be wondering where to go, what to do, how to fill those pages.

I'm right there with you.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, I have to make the assumption that you're creative (even if you claim otherwise) and are involved in some type of creative pursuit.

I'd like to ask you the question "What do you need, RIGHT NOW, to be your very best?"

Not for the year, the month, or the week, but for right now. What do you need?

Doesn't seem quite so intimidating, does it?

I'd like you to take some time and think about your answer. Come back and fill in the poll when you know. You may already know. Go ahead and fill in the poll today.

You can only choose one answer.

WHAT DO YOU NEED, TODAY, TO BE YOUR VERY BEST?


I'd love for you to share your thoughts on what you've chosen down below in the comments, especially if you chose something else. My hope is that we can all learn from each other!

32 comments:

  1. I got a set of paints from the secret santa last month and today I got a set of paint brush and oil paint varnish from my trainees as a gift. (I work as a trainer -commercial Insurance) I haven't painted for 8 months. I told my mom God wants me to paint and she said no, he wants you to get married and decorate your house with your paintings. Yess!! I want that!! I wish to experience a relationship and get married now now now!! :) Oh and decorate my beautiful house with my new paintings!! :)

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    1. Slow down, Mamta! You're going to have a rock star year if you accomplish all of that this year. Going back to the original question, what do you need RIGHT NOW?

      Since it's kinda hard to conjure up a husband or a house out of thin air, focus on what you do have—paint, brush and varnish. Do you need time? Focus? A place to create? Come back to what you can focus on you need in this moment to get you to the very best you!

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  2. Great post, Laure! Mine would be 'Focus', as I'm so easily called away..... as the Beatles' Uncle Albert song goes.....

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    1. That seems to be a big one for all of us, Pam. What do you need to FOCUS on most? Today, right now?

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  3. That was hard! I had a time ot choosing between focus, direction and organization but if I have the direction in sight, I can focus and can even ignore the chaos of my surroundings so direction came out to be the key.

    I got a lovely card in the mail yesterday! I showed it to my husband and he said "that was painted?!" To which I replied "that's why she's my teacher"! Thanks so much. I so enjoyed getting something so nice in the mail.

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    1. As I mentioned, Timaree, I had several words that could be at the top of the list depending on what time of day you asked, but like you I also found a linch pin…one that tied the others together.

      So, what is the most important direction you need RIGHT NOW? Today?

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  4. Interesting.
    Focus and direction were both my choices but I understood direction to mean "guidance" such as in building my skills whether in art or playing an instrument, which is why I chose that.

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    1. Diane, I deliberately left the words without definition around them to see how they would be interpreted. No wrong definitions, just different. As you mention guidance as your definition for direction…what do you need guidance in today, RIGHT NOW?

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  5. I need more time. I know that the simple answer given is always - prioritize. But I am retired and know how to do that while working full time, raising a family, and always keeping some creative activities alive. But now I want to do toooo much and even being focused all day, there are enough minutes to accomplish everything I think I should be able to do!

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    1. LOL, I would have to see there is no simple answer to needing more time, Shirley. Prioritizing, scheduling, and follow through are all part of needing more time as well as acceptance that it just isn't all going to get done!

      One of the biggest helps I've found is doing a brain dump. I take a piece of paper or open a file on the computer and I "dump" everything I want to do, need to do, have to do onto the page. Then I sort by what I can do now, what will need to be done later, etc.

      I ALWAYS attempt to balance those "have to do's" with something fun that I "want to do" as a reward. I also found it took me nearly a year after leaving my corporate job to get the hang of creating my own schedule and such.

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  6. I chose something else - courage. I have time, materials, space, rusty talent and projects on the creative to do list. However, lack of courage is my issue - the courage to start, to fail, to try again - the courage to stifle the paralyzing voice that says you're not perfect or even very good so don't try. Thank you for this timely post. It's a good reminder I need to brave... and relax... and I'm not alone!

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    1. I've been where you are, Aggie, and it's no fun. In fact, I spent years there and looking back, I see the wasted days and time. I've found two things to be important:
      1) Do it. Agree to do it badly, but do it (art) until you can do it a little better, then better yet. Know there will be days when you swear you've forgotten everything you know and that they will pass.
      2) Deal with your inner critic. Here's an article on how I dealt with mine. http://paintedthoughtsblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/what-does-your-inner-critic-look-like.html (Copy and past the address into your browser. Now in the article I taped my critic's mouth closed. Some folks objected. So use an inverted glass instead, but QUIET the critic!

      If you search the blog (search feature is down low on the right side bar nearly at the bottom) you'll find a couple of other articles on critics as well. Good luck and know that you aren't alone.

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    2. Thanks so very much Laure. I read your inner critic posts (should read these daily!) and love the idea of drawing the critic and then physically silencing him/her/it. I think it'll give me the chutzpah I'm needing.

      I stopped drawing eons ago and started again in 2012. My critic is a perfectionist & I wrote about it (http://aggie-doodles.blogspot.com/2013/07/my-voice.html). It is persistent. No matter how many times I get going, each new step or process is a struggle. I'm anxious to sketch my critic so I can say (yell) "Zip your lips! I'm doing fine!"
      And, I resolve to be okay with starting things out badly. (I hate the days it seems I lost all talent.) I saw Elizabeth Perry's "Do something badly" TED talk last fall and needed the reminder. I also appreciate the brain dump idea mentioned above. I'm bookmarking this post for all the helpful advice!

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  7. I need FOCUS. My mind is a sieve. I can't seem to focus on one thing long enough to do it. BAHHHHHHHH

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    1. Maybe you're focused on too many things, try to focus on something for too long of a time or are not truly focused on just the one thing in front of you? I do that and I have to stop myself because if I don't, I won't get anything done.

      Maybe you need a "brain dump" as well? See above. That way, you'd know for sure what you needed/wanted to focus on most.

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  8. My first reaction is TIME and yes, I have too many things to do (full time work, caring for elderly mom, being a mom myself, etc.) - I could definitely use more time. But, another factor is FOCUS - when I get home in the evening I'm so exhausted that I am not focused and don't prioritize the different things I want to do.

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    1. Claire, you're in good company. I think in today's hurry scurry world focus is tough for all of us. Exhaustion isn't helping either.

      So, to get to that place where you have FOCUS, what do you need right now? A list of everything you need/want/have to do? A prioritized list? More rest? To lower the expectation that you will/must/can do it all?

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  9. When I first read this question I was thinking of it in terms of my art. And my first instinct was to respond with TIME. Yes, like everyone I need more time to create. But when thinking it over I realized that I do have time, just as much as anyone, it's how I use my time that's wanting. Now I read the question again and realized it's about everything, not just making art, but with everything I do what do I need to be my best...and that would most definitely be FOCUS. With my art, homeschooling Kiddo, every day-to-day task, I am like the dog in the movie "Up" - Squirrel! So easily distracted that I lose sight of what is good, in this moment, while looking at what might be the next best thing.

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    1. You're not alone, Ann! I'm the same way, except it's not just the squirrel…it's the leaf, the blade of grass, the bird that just flew by, oh, what was that noise, and so on!

      But I think you nailed—it's keeping sight of the good we are accomplishing in the moment. Realizing the next moment will take care of itself is a huge step forward.

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  10. I did comment...but it flew off to Siberia to be warmer, I think..I picked the something else circle to check as I need to maybe be 20 years younger (just to be spryer) , know what I know today and have better health..the rest of it all is pretty well settled and not going anywhere...I love the Painted Thoughts and believe it must help a lot of people out inspirationally...

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    1. AH, Winna, to be 20 years younger with the knowledge I have today…I'd rule the world! LOL! Many thanks for your kind words.

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  11. I also picked something else. Something very prosaic: I'd love to be without pain for a while (recurring back problems). I find that exhausting. I have great regard for people with chronic pain who stay upbeat and optimistic and energetic.
    What do I need? A partner who is also an osteopath perhaps? Or just patience: it will go away again (probably!).
    As for focus and time: I need "empty time" to get the creative juives flowing, not jus the half hour you need to make a sketch, but empty moments when the mind can freewheel.
    I'm not a great lover of choosing a word for a year, or of "deep thoughts, sayings that help you in your life". But still, I've put up a small poster in my atelier that says "Self critique is just another opinion".

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    1. Monique, I feel your pain. Literally. I've been going through a series of back problems myself and it is amazing how drained I am at the end of a particularly bad day. And like you, I council myself to have patience and to do what I can to become stronger.

      When my husband and I were first married, we often fought about my needing "time." He would come into the room and find me staring into space, sitting in a chair and doing "nothing." He did not understand the need for that time. In the intervening years, he has come to understand and cherish such time for himself as well.

      If you need it—and I agree that you do—find it, get it, keep it, guard it zealously and cherish it. It's there, but you have to take it. No one will give it to you nor give you permission. You must do that.

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  12. Right Now, Today - Health. Lingering cold has sapped all my energy.

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    1. Ugh. Wishing you sunshine with Vitamin D, citrus with Vitamin C and lots of healing energy, Justine. I hope you, right now, today, start to feel better!

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  13. Dear Laura - very thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing this list with me. It really made me think hard about my answer. Take care and have a great week.

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    1. Debbie, I hope it give you some insight!

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  14. I chose something else. I need to open my mind to let the creative flow. It is all in there waiting to come out. I am 61 and have watched many artist, tried many creative things, learned many techniques. Now it is my time to play and experience all the is trapped in my head. Does this make sense? It does to me. LOL Thanks for asking.

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    1. Linda, sometimes we have to just start. It doesn't matter if it's in the beginning, the middle or the end. Just start. Once you get past the starting, it seems to flow better. At least it does for me. Good luck to you and don't give up!

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  15. I just found this post :( and must answer it.
    I need 'motivation'....I have a pile of ideas and every supply there is and I'm retired I have extra time....but like Monique I live with chronic pain and am just on empty. I look at some of my art and say 'how on earth did you do that'....whatever it is I choose to paint has to 'touch' me...then I get immersed. So I guess this says, I need my MUSE!!!
    I'm looking forward to the Independent Study ..and hope someday you will take an "Imaginary Trip to Santa Fe"~
    Suzanne

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    1. A journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step. I hear you on the immersion, but would it be possible to simply take a step a day? More when you have the energy? Focusing on the things that fill the well rather than empty it is a necessary way of dealing with chronic pain. Hope your muse comes to play soon, Suzanne!

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  16. lovely post! time and organisation! x if you make me pick one then organisation! x

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