“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
I’ve been antsy lately. Unable to focus, and balancing many plates but failing to provide essential nourishment. The other day, a friend of mine caught me in a state of frenzy – kitchen in disarray (I was rearranging), laundry half folded, and me…outside with a hammer (finally) replacing the screens on my windows.
In case you’re wondering, “frenzy” is not the ideal state for creative output – particularly when it comes to writing. For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to retrain my brain to focus, trying to find once again that discipline that’s served me so well in the past. There’s plenty to do, but in my current state of affairs, multitasking might actually be doing more harm than good.
Sometimes you need to recalibrate your settings and realize that all those cliché’s about serving too many masters and burning candles at both ends have a point – we can only accomplish so much at any given time.
I’m realizing that it’s time to prioritize yet again. One of my bosses once explained to me that everyone has a “top ten hit list”: those dreams and goals that you carry around with you all the time tucked neatly into your subconscious but influencing your motives and ambitions from the sidelines. Your list might be “1. Lose weight…2. Pay off credit cards…3. Learn the art of French cuisine”. But the trick is, when you finally find yourself in a position to check something off the list, all the items shift – some may even disappear completely to make space for a whole new set of wants and needs.
As my boss explained at the time, “you might achieve your number one goal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your number 2 goal moves into that slot. Could turn out you find yourself with a whole new set of priorities.”
For example, let’s say you need a new car – and that need has been sitting in your number one spot for quite a while. Then one glorious day, you pull off the lot in your new ride. There, like the flickering tiles of a train station schedule board, your list morphs and changes: now you need insurance, and perhaps a warranty or good mechanic… You definitely need to start budgeting for regular car washes and maintenance. Even parking takes on a new significance (corner spots and end slots become your highest achievement).
Which brings me back to my current state of tumult and agitation – sitting there, covered in window screen dust and surrounded by disheveled dishware I wondered, is this a symptom of some greater imbalance? Perhaps I need to re-jigger my own schedule board – reassess my own top ten hit list and analyze whether the benchmarks and goalposts I’ve previously established are still relevant.
It was time, once again, to step off the path, pull out the map and compass, and make sure I was still headed in the right direction –and that the horizon I’m aiming for is still the one I want.
So I’m hunkering down with my very special team of experts…Hey there Julia Cameron and Sarah Ban Breathnach – long time, no see! Hello new acquaintances Chris Guillebeau and Alexander Heyne! I’m so curious to hear what you have to say. And a hearty “Welcome back” to my poets and muses and artists galore – let’s return to the drawing board and commence the Imagineering of the life of the Daily Creative Writer.
Time for a change…. Time to shake things up and rearrange those routines.
Complacency is the devil in this case – so I’m gearing up for a sort of exorcism with the hope that a jumpstart and a swift kick in the butt will result in some fresh work and some unexpected inspiration.
Time to take Ms. Nin’s advice, and face the painful blossoming.
For those of you who perhaps, like me, suddenly found yourself struck with the horrible, no-good, slightly awful and yet totally awesome Brady Brunch earworm, “It’s Time To Change,” – her it is in all its glory. Enjoy!
- Rearranging (opehliastic.wordpress.com)
- How Creating A Better Bucket List Becomes A Blueprint For Living Your Best Life (fastcompany.com)