Conscious Curiosity was a long ago project for me. I self published well over a year ago now. Yet, still, I think about what went into the project vs. what I got out of it. Then it gets me thinking about what goes into a long term relationship and what one must put into it vs. what one might get out of it.
If we knew we could not fail, we might take more chances, we might ask more questions, we might go for it more often. Or not.
What questions do you wish you had asked a friend, lover, spouse, or partner before you became engaged in one another’s life? Could there be a set of questions that would mitigate all problems? Are there questions that could lead you into a finer state of existence? Are there a set of questions that foster vulnerability and self-disclosure in such a way that two people really fall for one another? There is the vulnerability of eye contact too, but some believe that falling in love comes from asking the right set of questions.
This article in the NY Times addresses the question and the solution. A set of 36 questions to ignite, love. Is 36 questions all you need to assure yourself that you are engaged in a relationship with the “right” person?
I don’t know. Maybe you’ll want to try this set of questions. I think I will. Even though I have already been married for 24 years! Today.
Amateur vs Professional. Can anyone really define the difference, the grey area, the line in the sand between these two categories bestowed on creative people? Artists? Authors? Well, maybe and maybe not.
What I like is that this article tried to draw the line and define the difference. At times the article is gut wrenching. At other parts, I find myself nodding my head in agreement. Yes, yes, so true…
Do you want to know for sure if you are an amateur or professional artist? Do you already know? Read the article here.
This is a fu–ing good article because each time I read it, and I’ve read it many times over the past three years I see more wisdom and I also recognize the lies I tell myself.
In my most recent reading, the advice in warning number 7 gave me prickles on my spine and at the base of my neck. Ugh, yes I tell myself… ugh. Number 7 – “Amateur artists never finish their work.” There are several projects I promised myself I’d complete this year (2016) and they are still on the table. A second Conscious Curiosity book for the self – yep, not yet started, but I said I would. A Dorkey Doodle coloring book that I created – yes, almost complete, yet stalled…. Then there is a set of postcard designs I made initial sketches for… another stall… and I could go on. and on.
I guess I’m still in amateur stage, but this saddens me to say, because on another level I feel like I AM a professional. I have given myself to making art and writing for so long that I cannot even imagine myself doing anything else anymore.
Enough lamenting. Professional vs Amateur. Who really cares? Why label? Why categorize?
Lazy seems to be a bad word in today’s culture. Except that I decided that it would BE my word this weekend. The decision unfolded quietly and unknowingly.
Lazy Is as Lazy Does.
I did lazy. I am doing lazy.
I have celebrated mother’s day by spending three full days in my PJ’s. Reading. Watching movies. Drawing. Eating and sleeping. Alone in my home. Relaxing with my dog when she sleeps. Talking on the phone.
When is the last time you took the opportunity to fully embrace lazy? Quiet? Solitude?
There is something about being lazy and alone that feels different and powerful and wonderful. I have been forced to listen to myself. I could have run away into the world outside the walls of my house, but something unknown pulled me in. Each meal came when I was hungry, not when: “it was time to eat.” Sleep was the same, I slept when I felt like sleeping, and of course I used no alarm, because who is here to wake up for?
I’m on the third day now as I write this, and I feel calmer and quieter — and even more focused than I have in a long time.
Usually I am scattered and disappointed at the end of the day, because I often feel that there is always so much left to do…
I think a lot of this happens from doing the wrong thing, that work which does not matter.
I am still not sure how I fell into lazy for this weekend, but I did. Life is funny. I decided to write a blog post and I found that this topic had surfaced for me earlier this year.
A few months ago, I came across an article by Pema Chodron on Lazy. I had forgotten I read it. I had forgotten I was called to her words. This is likely because I am often too busy gobbling up information as it flies in at me from the internet feeds I frequent. Except, still somehow my subconscious remembered the pull and I chose lazy in spite of my forgetfulness.
I had all sorts of plans for this weekend. I had planned on going east to visit my mother or going to Colorado to visit my son. I had planned on going hiking in the redwoods, joining a party at a neighbors house, driving to Arts Alive! in downtown Eureka, attending yoga classes, and more… none of these activities called to me as loud as lazy.
Lazy Is as lazy does.
Pema Chodron had this to say in her article about looking into laziness:
The path of awakening is a process. It’s a process of gradually learning to become intimate with our so-called obstacles. So rather than feeling discouraged by laziness, we could look into our laziness, become curious about laziness. We could get to know laziness profoundly.
Curiously, the dictionary definition of lazy is: unwilling to work or use energy. These days, to do lazy actually does take work, I had to repeatedly tell myself that it is ok, ok to be lazy. I had to use my energy towards being kind to myself and telling myself that a weekend of lazy really is an adventure into self and a worthwhile endeavor. I explored my lazy with joy — willingly working at lazy and using energy exploring the depths of lazy.
How many Netflix movies and series can I fit into my day? Into a weekend? I’ll never tell…
I have come nowhere near the possibilities of the exploration of lazy. There is still so much not to do!
I have a very personal reason to talk about committing to one’s best life right now. So personal, in fact, that I cannot share the details (and please don’t ask). Still, I wish to share my thoughts on committing to life.
Our time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. — Steve Jobs
Life is meant to be lived, or as we yogis do, we could say life is meant to be practiced. Working to improve relationships, attempting to learn new concepts, drawing to improve skills, working out to stay strong, or eating whole foods to gain health, these and more all take practice. All things in life take practice.
There is an entire industry devoted to helping people to practice a better life. Self help books, classes, and online courses, or books like Conscious Curiosity (ha ha a personal plug) can only help if you commit to practicing the ideas presented. Work on them daily. Commit to practicing the work of something new for a week, a month or more. Practice spending time listening to what’s inside and writing your dreams. Draw your dreams if you like, act them out, and dance too.
The promise of change and growth comes when you commit to doing the work. The work called life. The practice of life. Some people will pick up a book, a new habit, or a new commitment and and quickly put it aside – when something else fancy catches the attention or when change seems too hard. Others, do nothing while knowing that something else is possible. Those that commit to doing some (or even all) of the work – practicing – will create and feel a shift in life. We are all busy these days. We all have choices as to how we spend our valuable time. Make a promise to yourself to make your relationship to your life the one you want to live.
Commit to your life.
When you commit to your life, great [and sometimes not so great] things happen. This I can I promise! I refuse to promise that doing the work is easy work. It is not. The work of being committed to yourself in life is not easy, but it need not be miserable either! The work of being committed to the practice of your life is NEVER finished. Until it is finished, and that is a very personal and final moment.
Do you feel like screaming right now…because you know that what I say is true? You will never be finished with creating and practicing a better life. You will need to practice at being in love with life and committing to improving your life, always and forever.
In the art of life, practice is the beginning. Practice curiosity. Practice deep breathing. Practice your commitment to your best life.
There is quite a lot to learn about fear. We can focus on it, forget it, or face it. The thing is, I have noticed that what we ignore tends to stay stuck. I do not want to stay stuck in fear. Do you?
Your fear is the most boring thing about you.
— Elizabeth Gilbert
Below is a sample from a journal page of the fears I faced a year ago when I choose to write and self publish my book, Conscious Curiosity.
“I fear that I will not reach as many people as I wish to reach with the content in this book. I fear a dud, like the cheap smoke bombs my children used to buy in China Town in San Francisco. They’d light the fuse…wait…and nothing. I have written and shared what I think might help, but I may be creating a dud…a project I launch, I promote, I wait, and I find nothing on the other end but myself still wondering about how to make a more three dimensional and full life with my partner in life and with myself.”
I faced my fear a year ago and self-published my book in spite of my self-doubts.
Now, a year later, I continue to face fear. Daily. I write or draw or paint and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes, I move through the day reciting to myself, “I am enough” and “hello fear, let’s play today.” I do this in the hopes that fear listens and realizes, “yes, she is enough and she is ready, let’s let her have this project.” Then, I create. The projects I work on, I am prepared to share. Even with fear coming along for the ride.
During the writing process of my first book, I had decided at some point that I am willing to put myself out there. Willing to take a risk. Willing to create even if I did not find readers. Fear lurked in every corner every day. The more I worked the smaller fear became.
I will continue to write more, draw more, paint more, and share more.
I face fear. Do you?
PS. I significantly lowered the price on my book. You can now purchase it at $13.00 instead of $19.95 (use the link above).
I took it from another blogger/on-line business, please see credit below.
One year ago I self-published a book that I had designed to sell. I created every page, every word, the cover, the content, the chapter breaks, the paragraphs, the font – yes, even the font! I had plans to sell a minimum of 400 copies, I felt that if I could do that then, “I would be an author!”
I sold 79 copies.
I gave away about 18 copies.
I am an author?
I ran marketing on my blog, Facebook, Amazon, and through word of mouth. I placed it in two retail stores for sale.
None of this was enough to: “turn my creativity into a career.”
Or maybe it does? The career definition does not include income… or maybe it does…. does it matter?
All of what I did makes me proud. The book sales. The recognition, and proud that I listened to my inner muse, followed through, made the work, shared the work, and also that I can say today: “One year ago I published my first book.”
Several months ago I promised myself I would begin another book. That has not happened yet, but the itch is getting stronger. And as Elizabeth Gilbert would say, the idea wants to be brought forth, if not with me, it will travel to another. I don’t want this to happen, I want my next book idea to be written by me.
When I do my next work I am going to work to please my inner muse. My creativity is too important to me to give it the nomenclature of “career.”
To those of you who purchased a copy of my book, THANK YOU!
I have found myself paying attention to the rhythms of the neighborhood.
On Fridays the young boys in my neighborhood ages 15 months – 6 years old go out to greet the garbage truck. The eldest boy is extremely knowledgeable on the whole process. He knows what cans are filled with what type of garbage, what time the truck will arrive at his house, how far apart the garbage cans should be placed (I have watched him teach his adult neighbors), and he even wears a bright orange vest about 6 times too big for him. A typically shy young boy becomes animated one morning every week. One day he will grow in to the job that fully fascinates him.
Why am I out there too?
I am a part of the rhythm of the neighborhood. My dog Luna and I go outside at 7:15AM nearly every day for a walk. We change our route, sometimes, but not on Fridays.
The garbage truck arrives at the home behind our home at 7:30AM.
This means I get to watch our little Master of Garbage in his delight. I also get to say hello to the mom’s and dad’s who are out there supporting the fascination of their children.
The rhythms of the neighborhood create community, at least in our little neck of the woods.
This gets me thinking. What fascinates you so much that you follow through on your instinct to know more? What rhythm in your neighborhood brings you daily or weekly delight?
Somehow, when I lived in bigger busier cities the small rhythms of the neighborhood got lost in the overall noise and bustle of the bigger busier life of things. As I settle into the rhythm of things in my new home base, I am reveling in the beauty of a life lived smaller. I delight in the little boy in his enthusiasm and excitement wearing his way too big for him orange vest.
May you find delight in some small rhythm of your neighborhood once noticed and forgotten or never noticed until now.