Ever find yourself trudging away ever so painfully slow at some task, all the while bouncing around in your mind because you’d rather be doing something else???
And then the task takes like a gazillion times longer than it should
because your mind can’t focus…
and keeps wondering to what you truly want to be doing with your time.
Sometimes, it takes so freaking long that you run out of time or energy to give to what you wanted to be doing all along…
and then resentment sets in.
Or regret. Or just a little layer of defeat.
It sucks, right?
Sucks the juice right out of you sometimes.
I’m not going to offer any solid answers here.
I’m just another person dealing with the same mental blocks in day to day life,
learning as I go, discovering practices.
There are some techniques that I find work well for me.
Like setting a time commitment and limit on the task that has to be done, so that you save a little time for what you really want to be doing (an hour of business, an hour of play).
Or taking a real honest inventory on how many of the tasks you hate
are self-imposed and could possibly be limited ,
if not eliminated,
with a little change in perspective, circumstance or living
(maybe the dishes can wait and leftovers will do just fine tonite).
There are, of course, times when these states aren’t so obviously adjustable
(like when your friends are having a reunion in Nashville and you have to work, or you have to turn down a dream opportunity to care for a loved one who desperately needs you).
But sometimes there can exist the chance to integrate two time competing activities,
to bring one into another,
minimizing the resistance
and finding a whole new level of peace and resolve within yourself
as you explore and experiment with the combination.
This takes a little creativity, but keep an eye out for it.
It can make things much more enjoyable along the way.
See, I am currently in a creative writing workshop class –
because I always wanted to take one and never did before.
It’s a great experience, and I am learning loads about new ways to look at writing and description, and just generally painting with words.
But there lies the problem.
While I love writing, I only love writing when I feel like it.
Most of the time right now, I’d much rather be painting.
But I have loads of writing assignments
and a fantastically passionate teacher that can smell laziness from 5 miles away.
So even though I love wordplay, I find myself resenting the time it takes me away from painting – after all, there’s only so much free time for creative energy.
So I sit to write, at a complete block
– like, no words will come to me, none at all,
as if I’m trying to write in a foreign language I don’t know
with nothing but a tourist’s language pocket guide. Yikes.
Last week we were asked to show up with a poem for everyone to read that will be workshopped (critiqued) – ugh.
And I had nothing in me to say. nada. zilch.
I stared and stared at the blank page, scribbled out a few weak, hollow one liners, scratched them out,
and mind-wandered into the playground of what I would rather be doing.
I really wanted to paint. That felt right.
Not forcing words for someone else’s schedule of when my creativity ought to be due.
And the really funny thing is that, sometimes,
even when I really want to paint,
my mind is a million other places even then.
What a ridiculous conundrum.
But this isn’t just about painting, or writing poetry –
this is how it often is for lots of things I choose and have to do.
It’s about presence in the task at hand.
And it’s an opportunity for awareness and refinement.
So, I chose to take this writing class, and I intend to see it through.
I will write when I’d rather paint
and keep my heart open to how the two can inform one another,
how each can be more fully experienced
by exploring possibilities within the other.
This hit me last week when I was trying to write that poem,
so I wrote about what I really wanted to be doing all along: painting.
And you know what?
The words began to flow – just like the paint can.
Here it is – the poem about painting:
Into the Now
As we began, my monkey-mind had me everywhere but here with you,
chasing after sounds of attic mice scampering, never quite catching a glimpse,
just scraping my nerves with irritating scrutiny and outcome obsession.
I could see you in my periphery, patiently watching my antics and breath,
until you pulled
on your white flesh.
Then onto the dirty glass of sweet water sitting next to us,
untouched and ready.
My hand twiddled nervously with the long brush
until, teetering on the edge of stagnant indecision, I remembered to let my body ease,
a sigh of release, into this uncertain process.
In surprise, my chattering brain hushed briefly
and I could see the window of escape between us,
one deliberate breath at a time.
I raised my eyes to meet your gaze,
so light and free as though a glowing breeze blew through my bones,
softening brow to breast like a cub to sleepful bliss.
As if in synchronous design, a surge of sure impulse abandoned all concern
for your response to any forward advance, and raised the brush I held to touch you waiting.
Perfect and odd that your hair proved to be
long, juicy, green-blue tresses
that taste like purple peppermint drops….
The sound of the bristles meeting their function, rough and raw,
sings like musical back porch stories of coming home, grounded.
As you speak, your voice – kinder than my own –
rolls through the labyrinth of my mind, from busy to buzz,
pale now to the pace of pulsing poetry you whisper.
Purely guided, I first dip my fingers into the dish of orange marmalade color divine,
then into the sweet water,
to rest a caress to your bare jawline and lips,
strange and delicious destination.
And then I notice:
the space inside.
The scampering has hushed.
Quiet enough now to listen and follow your cricket rhythm flow of love, just barely begun.
You have something to show me:
The anticipation of my own senses aligned to the biorhythm of heart to hand to you and back again,
The teeter-totter harmony of blank page process and palette of hues.
There is no muse but you.
No you, but me and this promise of precious release, surrender, return.