“It is one’s actions that matter, not one’s best intentions of action”. –Pablo Picasso
Since this is the beginning of a new year, I thought that it was an appropriate reminder of what I believe and try to live up to. As a creative person, it is easy to lose grip on time and energy that other tasks and people require of us each day. When I say I want to paint more, I mean it with best intentions. Then I notice the dishwasher needs to be emptied or I have set up too many appointments all in one week or I’m tired and the couch seduces me into an afternoon slumber. Then I get mad at myself, because what I wanted to do was paint.
I am aware that my intentions and my actions are seasonal. My energy level fizzles between October and February, but that is no excuse. Maybe it is about the light (or lack there of in the Northeast) this time of year. Maybe it’s that I really don’t have enough time with the demands of the winter months. It’s the holidays, yeah, that’s it. But, if my passion is painting, then I have no excuse.
I think anyone who has creative rumblings in them hits a slump or a block now and then. It’s okay to just let it be when great things are happening that distract you. By great, I mean wonderful or out of the ordinary or just overwhelming. But ask yourself this, when was the last time you set aside time to act creatively, not just think about it?
Each person has their own set of circumstances that interfere with a pattern of creative activity. The key is to look at those circumstances (carpools, jobs, household chores, kids, whatever) and think about how you feel about those activities and compare them to how you feel when you’re being creative. Interestingly, it’s not the circumstances that bog us down; it’s what our thoughts are about those circumstances. “I have to carpool everyday for my kid’s multiple activities”, “I have to organize my den before I can set up my art project”, “I have to answer every e-mail before I can write poetry” or at least the very least “I should…”
With the thoughts I have to…or I should…consider what that does to your physical and emotional self. How does it feel when you believe that you absolutely HAVE TO do something when you prefer to focus on self nurturing and being creative?
I suggest that if it doesn’t feel so great to neglect that part of yourself, then you must change your thoughts about it. Example- “I have to carpool each day for my kid’s multiple activities.” Options “I chose to do all that carpooling and I’ll bring a sketchpad and use it while I’m waiting” or “I can alternate with other drivers and give myself one day free to be creative” or ‘My kid won’t suffer with one less day of scheduled activities and maybe will benefit from some unscheduled time”.
You’ll see that once you allow the alternate thoughts into your head, you’ll be able to change the course of your creative life without cataclysmic damage to your whole world.
It goes like this- Circumstance> Thoughts (I can’t or I can, I have to or I chose to) > Feelings> Action (or non-action) > results (good or bad).
I can’t imagine what Pablo Picasso would have accomplished if his head were full of thoughts for his best creative intentions without action. His Blue or Rose Periods, Cubism, Fauvism, and multiple perspectives may not be synonymous with his name in history. Speaking of multiple perspectives, practicing different ways of looking at the situation will help to inspire your own action. Try it.
Pick one thing on your “TO-DO’ list that you think is a must and reword it from another perspective. Thinking creatively, might find you time to be creative.