You guys, my life is a mess. It's a beautiful, crazy, lucky, insane mess, but it's a mess.
I think I underestimated the chaos of moving and overestimated both my ability to do physical labor and my ability to keep up with everything in my business. But, I have learned several good life lessons in the past week (which also apply to art making) and I thought I'd pass them on:
- Just make a choice. At first, I was paralyzed by all the boxes and the new choices that had to be made. Where should this go? Will I regret putting it there? And then I realized, who cares? Better to have to move it later than to just stare at a box. The same is true with art making. I think we often stare at a blank canvas or a half finished piece paralyzed with indecision and fear of making the wrong decision. Who cares?! If you have to redo it, you'll learn something. If you don't have to redo it, you'll learn something!
- Bursts are the way to go. I think of this kind of like intervals at the gym. I can go hard and all in for a burst of time -- unpacking and lugging stuff with enthusiasm for about 20 minutes. Then I feel tired. And so I rest. A few minutes of sitting down and drinking water and thinking about what I want to do next is very helpful. And so on to the next burst! Making art often goes this way for me as well. I'm intensely in the moment for a short period of time. I work hard and with laser focus. Then I sit back and look at what I've done. I take a few minutes to evaluate the state of things. Where should I go next? What does this work need? I think this burst methodology is one of the ways I keep myself from burning out.
- Be kind to yourself. I made a goal for myself: Unpack 20 boxes a day. Haven't managed to hit it yet. I also planned to write more blog posts this week, but it didn't happen. Same with e-mail. Haven't looked at in two days. At some point I decided sleep was more important. At first I was annoyed at myself, but then I took a deep breath and decided to focus on what I *have* gotten done. And to remember that it's okay to be a person who has a life and needs to rest. The same is true in art making. We tend to be enormously self-critical and compare ourselves to others. Why?! Relax. Focus on what you *are* doing and remember that art making is a process.
- Ask for help. I want to lift every box and climb every ladder. I want to be a superwoman who needs no help and does it all perfectly and speedily. I want to be entirely self-sufficient and capable. But, I am not superwoman and I am eight months pregnant. I have had to ask for help. Can you lift this for me? Can you help me install this shelf? And you know what, I didn't die. Nobody rolled their eyes at me or acted like I was a weakling for asking for help. As in life, I think it's normal to need to help during the art making process. You may need an outside opinion, advice on how to use a particular tool or medium, inspiration to jump start your engine -- lots of different things. I think asking for help needs to be seen as a good thing. You are taking action towards a goal when you ask for help.
So there you have it, wisdom from chaos. I hope you have a great weekend! If you're looking for me, I'll be unpacking boxes....
Thanks for stopping by!