They say there's no destination, as in the joy is in the journey. So can somebody tell me why I'm always trying to get somewhere else?
And I don’t mean geographically. I mean the striving that keeps me adding things to my never-ending to-do list. Gotta do this. Gotta get that done. Gotta be better. Gotta fix that.
If the joy is in the journey of figuring out who you are or maybe better said, remembering who you are, then why do I always feel like I’m not ready? Like I gotta DO something first in order to qualify.
But you know what? The more I think about it, it’s not even that darn to-do list that’s got me in a state of existential doo-doo.
It’s that screwed-up internal recording that prompts me to add more stuff to my to-do list.
You know, the recording that’s stuck on almost perfect, but not quite. So even if I never added anything else to my list, I’d still be left with that nitpicking party pooper inside my head telling me I’m not ready yet.
So here I am, embracing my duality of being both wise and nitpicky. Attempting to anyway. And although I don’t know if that nagging feeling to always have to DO something will ever go away, I have a trick I use when I’m making art that helps me.
Whenever I reach a point on a painting where I can say I like what I’ve done (when it starts looking like I kinda sorta know what I’m doing), and before the nitpicking party pooper takes over, that’s when it happens. In that tiny window of a split-second space in between.
That’s when I reach for my trusty can of varnish and slap a juicy coat on.
I do this because I barely dare to breathe around a clean coat of varnish let alone touch it, until it’s dry. So the option to make any changes is completely eradicated by that coat of wet varnish. Just can’t go near it until the next day. Nope, gotta let it dry.
This trick to keep me from messing with something that actually feels right, well, I think it could work in other moments, too. It’s much like a reset button. And I think you should try it out.
Whenever you’re having an anxious moment, you can be still.
You can metaphorically speaking, slap a coat of varnish on that baby. Check back on it tomorrow when the varnish is dry. You can reset yourself.
When all else fails, reset.
Or better yet, before you even start feeling all worn out, it’s time for a reset break. And if you can use your reset break time to feel grateful, then you’ve just found your superpower to outwit that nitpicking party pooper inside your head.
Turn off, turn on again.
It goes like this:
You notice you’re feeling anxious. And you sit still just long enough to be okay with it. Then you allow yourself to take a break and do something you enjoy. And then you come back to the tasks at hand with renewed energy.
If you can only do one thing, do this:
Stand up with your arms in the air like you’ve just won a marathon. Take this power stance and grin your head off. Then say THANK YOU LIFE repeatedly out loud and see how that makes you feel.
You can’t be grateful and unhappy at the same time.
It’s just not humanly possible. And isn’t that super-groovy to know!
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
- Anne Lamott
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