Thursday, May 21, 2015

What are you waiting for? Just Begin!

"Ibis on a Perch" (looking forward) 11x14 matted/ready to frame
Sometimes the hardest part is starting; applying paint to canvas, words to paper, or bringing to life what only you can see. So you stall. You wait until you are in the mood. You procrastinate by savoring that perfect cup of coffee. Instead of eliciting your muse or the God of creation, you fiddle and fudge the morning away, waiting for inspiration. Not.

In case you haven’t heard, it doesn’t work that way! Action creates energy, energy spawns creativity, and creativity opens you up to receive inspiration. Get those fingers moving! Take those notes. Scribble that quick sketch. Don’t wait until everything is perfect. Imperfection creates “happy accidents” that happen when you're not uptight. Be loose. Quit worrying. Just get started.

"Moonlight Magic" 11x14 acrylic on canvas (my "happy accident!")
One day I was ready for an appointment, but had about 20 minutes to kill. I grabbed my kindle and started reading. Because I was worried about being late, I kept looking at the clock. Believe you me, when I glanced up to see what time it was, the minute hand had barely moved. It was like watching and waiting for a pot to boil. I was amazed at how many pages I was able to read in that short a time.

Progress comes in small increments. You don’t take a giant leap and reach “Go” (as in Monopoly). You take one square, one step at a time. The secret is to keep moving forward. It matters not how far you get in one day. Tiny units of precious time add up. Like the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time;” and in your case, one byte or one brush stroke at a time.

This week, I’m training in a new girl to take over my part time job. The company decided to hire a full time person rather than pay for two part time people. Throughout the day, she kept saying “I’m overwhelmed” right now. She was trying to eat the whole elephant in one or two days. I remember the feeling well. But she’s sharp, she’s tech savvy, and she will learn the ropes, one step at a time.

"First Daffodil" 16x20 acrylic on canvas @
Why do we get so impatient with ourselves during the inevitable “learning curve?” As certain as night follows day, what initially takes extreme effort and energy to perform will soon be done by rote. Actions that are difficult in the beginning will become mechanical within a few weeks or months.

Anxiety attacks are commonplace in the beginning. But if you stick with the job and just “do it” rather than stressing out over it, “This, too, shall pass.” The job, the project eventually gets easier. Remember the adage: “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.” ― John Greenleaf Whittier
"Dregs of Winter" matted and ready to frame (There will be a spring)
We had a dear artist pass away last week. She lived fully, taught art for many years, and established her own reputation. I don’t think she ever looked back with regret. She lived for today. When you reach the end of your life, never feel that you “missed out.” For better or for worse, “just do it!” Start each day with a dare. Challenge yourself to begin, even if you use baby steps at first. Don’t get left in the dust. When you reach the end of your life, never feel that you lost “what might have been.”