I’ve finally decided to accept me just as I am, to go with the flow . . . water is a powerful force and I could do worse than to emulate its properties.
I have always wrestled with developing habits that would lead to some sort of self-improvement or help me towards a goal. As a child I did not practise my music, do my homework or even remember to feed my guinea pigs on a regular basis nor do recall being encouraged to do so. My children could well say the same and although I remember asking them if they had homework, I probably did it irregularly. As an adult there is very little I do regularly but that may have something to do with having had a working life regulated by appointment times and school bells. Routine and I? Well it’s always been a difficult relationship: I have a low threshold to boredom and for me, Routine and Boredom seem to have some sort unholy alliance.
My latest attempts to instill some discipline into my practice have all ended up as failures. My attempts to place limitations on how many directions I go in . . . playing with encaustic medium almost didn’t happen and, right now, I’m really enjoying its possibilities. And that’s it . . . words like limitations, discipline and routine give rise to a negative, almost visceral reaction however possibilities makes my Self sit up and smile and start to sing.
Why do I keep trying different things? In the hope that something will enthuse me so much that I fall in love with doing it and never look back? That we, the activity and I, will be romantically entwined for life and . . . what? We ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after? Like that is ever going to happen! And before you go telling me that it just doesn’t work that way with ANY passion whether it be something or someone, I know, I wasn’t born yesterday! I’ve given up trying to limit myself or form beneficial habits. I gave it a damn good try many times . . . giving up is just not the same as giving in.
There is much written about the positive effects of having a daily regimen and having a daily practice and I don’t discount it but it simply doesn’t work for everyone . . . and it’s not some virtue and I will become, by some miracle, a much better person on the inside if I somehow crack this Sisyphean task and do something ‘good for me’ on a daily basis. Read it here now . . . I will never be that person, who when asked about the secret of their success will say, “I XYZ EVERY DAY AND HAVE DONE SO FOR X YEARS.” The only thing I do almost every day is get up, use the bathroom, make coffee and take it back to bed and read (a book or online) and I have done that since I did my MEd which I completed in 2002 (working full-time I could only do the necessary reading between 5:30 and 7:30). Now, I wake when I wake and shower when I shower . . . I don’t wear a watch. And while I try to hand the car keys in the same place there is a second thing I do . . . I make all sorts of stuff.
For me, trying to set up a new habit opens the door to those voices that tells me I have no will-power or won’t-power, I’m hopeless. The loudest voice of all,
tells me positively screams at me that I’m lazy. I then spend most of my energy digging a hole to fall into and then have to struggle to get out again. No more. No more will I set myself objectives that need to be done daily at a certain time. I shall continue to be haphazard in my approach to what I do. My weekly goals will continue but always have the rider “unless something more interesting turns up.”
Recently I decided I would draw every day, make marks if you will, the ‘authorities’ (and yes I know, I have ascribed that title to them . . . they haven’t, however most of them are teachers so, to some extent, they have). The most I ever managed to keep this up was for 10 days straight and then something happened and I never got back into it. Maybe it was a visit from my grandhearts (who love to draw), a particularly stunning morning that demanded I go for a walk or perhaps I got waylaid in the workroom on my way to make coffee and didn’t get out of my pyjamas until 11:00. Does it matter? Did time stop? Was there some cataclysm in some corner of the universe? (And such is my level of spontaneity, it is now 12:15m and I have not showered nor had any breakfast. And don’t get me started on the difference between being impulsive and being spontaneous.)
For me, having to do something kills a lot of the pleasure . . . this probably means that deep down I’m a hedonist but that’s okay . . . I’m sure the world can cope with a few and might be the better for it.
By now you could be wondering what started all this ranting and rambling. Yesterday on Face Book I read ‘Action opens the door. Consistency keeps it open.” You might nob in agreement and say that’s fine, that’s true, but for someone who will have the epitaph “She Analysed” on her gravestone, that isn’t good enough. First I finished admiring the penmanship and use of watercolour and then, perhaps because it doomed me to failure, perhaps because I am a bit of a pedant around the edges, I found myself disagreeing with the word choice . . . big time.
Consistency (Oxford Dictionary)
consistent behaviour or treatment. “the consistency of measurement techniques”
Maybe I’m splitting straws but in my mind the difference between consistency and perseverance is a bit like the difference between equality and equity.
Of course if it really is consistency that makes the difference between me just mucking about with art supplies and being an artist I’m really sunk. Regardless of whether it does or not, I’m off to persevere in my making and mucking about. My plastered forms are waxed and ready waiting for me to apply colour. Next week I could be weaving, embroidering, making more charcoal, a book or perhaps even drawing or painting, miracles do happen . . . but whatever I do, I’ll be making because that’s what I am . . . a maker (which is not too far from my childhood nickname of Mucker and that’s fine by me).
And my mottos? 1, Necessity is the mother of invention and 2, Strike while the iron is hot . . . .and there a millions of power sockets in this world.