Learning, Learning... Always Learning
Note: I apologize in advanced for the bad grammar that I know is in here. Grammar is hard enough when I feel 100%; on days like today just getting the words out is a challenge.
Those of you who know me know that I place a lot of emphasis on holistic living. This is why I tend to mix spirituality and psychology with my art. Everything is connected in some way and when you ask "why" or "how" something occurs I find you can entangle yourself in an interesting and beautiful web of connections. That said, I apologize for my constant inconsistencies. I have dreams of completing some task or another (like this website) but find it hard to be consistent in my efforts. This is something I want to improve this year.
Anyway, what I wanted to share with you is something I have been learning in the past couple weeks. It is more related to spirituality/ self-improvement than art but I thought I would share it anyway. It has to do with pressure and timing.
People function differently so I am not saying that this would be true for everyone but what I have found is that when I want to accomplish something I go through a cycle and that cycle can be brutal. It goes something like this:
1. Have an idea
2. Come up with a plan to pursue that idea
3. Throw myself into that plan non-stop for several days
4. Feel exhausted and discouraged and depressed
5. Consider giving up and/ or tearing the whole thing into pieces and starting again.
6. Try to go back to being positive
7. End up more depressed than ever
8. Stop trying to work on anything at all related to project
9. Rest and start to slowly feel more optistimic
10. Start again at 1.
As of now I am oscillating between stages 6, 7, 8, and 9. I am writing this partially to encourage myself to not give up and partially to try to come back to a more positive out look and mostly to solidify what I see as a reoccurring lesson in my life.
This is the lesson: Stop trying so D*** hard and let things be.
This is what I mean by that:
The best ideas come when I am most relaxed and happy. This is when I get into the cycle of 1, 2 and 3. I feel optimistic and am working on something I want to accomplish because I want to do it. Somewhere in stage 3 of my cycle I forget why I started working on something and get caught up on the idea of completion. The thoughts and/or voices start to break into my optimism with statements like this:
"What are you doing? You know this is a waste of time, you aren't going to finish this anyway."
"You are stupid for thinking this will go anywhere."
"Why do you get to waste your time on stupid projects and ideas when other people have to actually work?"
"If you can't find a way to support yourself off of this then you are just wasting resources"
"This had better turn out to be something revolutionary, or else you are a failure. "
"If you quit then you are a loser who is incapable of doing anything."
"Prove that your life is worth something by finishing this and doing a good job."
"That's all you did? All that time and you came up with that? What's wrong with you?"
"How pompous are you to think that anyone would care what you have to say or what you have made? The only people who care are those who feel sorry for you..."
...and more variations along those lines. Needless to say these thoughts get VERY dark VERY fast so that by the time I get to stage 7 in my cycle of production (or anti-production) I am wishing suicide was an option that would not leave an impact on the people close to me (I'm not saying that as a hyperbole... I usually end up having a really hard psychotic episode where reality fades in and out and I become confused about what is real and unreal and eventually I find myself standing on the edge of this dark spiral like a black hole that is sucking in millions of stars and thinking that I should just jump into the abyss and be done with everything.) That is where I was last night.
This morning I didn't want to get out of bed. If I didn't have a dog who kept insisting on my attention I would probably not have gotten up at all. I looked at the paintings I have been working on for the past few days.. some completed, some not... and feel like a failure... I'll add pictures on here so you can see them...
At first I want to get mad at myself for sleeping in and zoning out all morning... what a waste of time... but eventually in that time I'm wasting the pain subsides. I come back to calm and I start to realize that if I had just slowed down in the first place I would have been able to skip over stages 4-8. Instead of pushing myself to work and clock my hours to prove I deserve to be here... I could have said, "okay, I'm tired now I can come back to this later"
The harder I fight to keep working and prove those thoughts and voices wrong about my ability to complete something the longer it takes to recover. The more I criticize myself for wanting a break or not "doing" something the longer I end up unable to do anything. I am lucky today because the episode was brief and I think that is the point... If reoccurring lessons happen to teach us how to handle them then eventually they get quicker and quicker (or easier) until we finally get it.
I've spent the last 3 hours sitting on the couch doing almost nothing and then suddenly I felt like I could get up again. Like there was hope and like I could come here and write this and make progress toward my goals (one of this being working on this site).
Every time I write a blog post I feel like I have to answer the question "Why?".Actually, if I think about it I feel that about most things I do and maybe that is another life-lesson for me to learn; that I don't need to justify every decision I make. I was thinking about why I was writing this as I was writing it and I don't know the answer... Why would anyone else care about these thoughts? I don't know why. What good would they add to the universe? I have no idea... But I think that the answer is actually not because of the added value to the world, but the added value to my psyche. I need to write this so that I can see my own lessons and I would like to share it because maybe someone can relate and because maybe one of my friends/ family will see it and be able to help me to learn these lessons... Speaking of that, there is another reoccurring lesson: asking for help. I suck at it. I have been hearing lately about the importance of community and learning from one another and I have been struggling because I feel like I don't have anywhere to go... I don't know enough to contribute and therefore have no reason to ask for help. It isn't until I get to that spiral that I reach last night that I realize I need help. In fact that was what I said when I got there "Help Me! Please, someone." but I don't know who to ask or how or what anyone could do to help me... so I only ask in my head and not out-loud.
So I am writing this now.. on the edge of calmness partially to help myself recover and partially to ask for future help from anyone who has suggestions or insights because I know that growth requires a community, I just don't really know how to belong to one.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. Here is what I was working on art-wise..
P.P.S. I know the table is messy, I didn't finish cleaning up after baby-sitting my niece before I threw myself into painting.