Bored, disgusted, frustrated, worn out and annoyed—there comes a time when we need to re-set the way we live our life. Perhaps we tried this in January with good intentioned resolutions but statistics say that most of us have already failed and dropped out. The problem with a “resolution” is that it is an intention to resolve or accomplish some thing. And “things” are harder to accomplish then re-setting a direction. It is harder to “lose 20 pounds” than it is to cook from a different cookbook, harder to “add a workout time” to our life then it is to park further away from our job and walk, harder to “not work so hard” then it is to schedule fun first. If we can reset our direction and our priorities, then the “things” fall into place.
It is the American way to keep on going, stay in motion, charge ahead without a breath and if you are *from New England, you suck it up despite the circumstances. Stoic is the word used to describe this emotionless phenomenon of endless long days of lists and toil with no room for reflection. The only difference between the fevered silicone valley over-work Badge of Honor and a Yankee is that one brags about it and the other is quietly self-satisfied!
But there comes a time when, if we are self-aware enough, we need to re-set our course. When in the midst of the drive it is hard sometimes to see the scenery if we are only concentrating on the road. We need to pull over to the rest stop, have a look around and notice if the surroundings are what we had bargained for. I love the story of when Ben and Jerry first started their successful ice cream business and several months into it just closed up for several days to “figure out what they were doing”. Pausing to evaluate, stepping away to get perspective and taking time to observe is an important part of any life and any creative process.
This pause is an important part of my life. It began when I was a teenager taking January hikes amongst the fragrant eucalyptus and fir with my aunt Nell. As a life-long self-employed professional artist she also embraced this pause, so with the scent of ocean in the background we silently walked and when we reached a perfect vista, would sit down and write out our desires for the year. Unlike a business plan with predictable spreads of numbers and a black and white plan, our lists were composed of desires that were somewhat lofty. But there was something about this act of writing down our intentions that must have tailored our judgement throughout the year because the next year when we met again, both of our lists had been completely fulfilled. I wish I still had those notebooks to look back on.
It seems to me that the emotion of desire coupled with the interest in the creative process produces results. If we desire to accomplish something then looking for opportunities that support that and, as equally important, avoiding situations that don’t make living it easier.
There is a reason it has taken me over 3 months to write another blog post. I have been in a long pause period, no doubt aided by snow days and physical set-backs, but I have come out the other side with my course corrected and a sense of renewal. Art, designs and words are coming again, my love of gardening is rekindled and my kitchen is once again a creative place. Gone is the rushed anxiety and instead is the calm knowing that I am fulfilling what I was put on the earth to be. It is all because I took the time to be still enough to listen and re-set.
Let me share some of the ways I was able to do this:
- First, I had to recognize that I had to change the way my daily life functioned in order to support my daily centering activities that in turn support my inner desires.
- I then allowed myself time to noodle on how and why, and then to dream about it. I literally made appointments with myself by lining out “dates” in my calendar. I did not have the eucalyptus grove but I had cozy spots with good tea and often a fire in the fireplace.
- I gave myself some slack. When you are really off course it takes a long time to auto-correct and the inspirations are slow to come. But they do come if you give them time!
Best wishes for your own re-set!
*A little humor note: Just to be clear I am not from New England because my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were not born here. I just live here. My husband was duly corrected while in a tractor store when we first moved here 14 years ago. When asked for his address by the sales clerk he said “I am from Canterbury”. A graveled, stern voice nearby rung out “YOU are not from Canterbury. I AM from Canterbury.” Ok, I am not really a Yankee.
During my re-set period I had time to finally finish piecing this Christmas quilt. Next summer I will actually quilt it and be ahead of schedule for the holiday!