On tipping the balance:

I learn a lot every day. About how to be here/happy/human. I’d like to share and also to string words out of my head so I can knit them into something like a crash pad. And so maybe you can help me tie up the holes.

watercycle and seasons of trees

Last year at life school we had visiting speakers. A couple of them, the lovely/articulate Yolande Clark and Danielle Hogan, were the first people to tell me how NOT balance work with life, but rather integrate it. This way you aren’t confining parts of your self and questing after elusive (impossible) perfect balance. But I haven’t figured it out yet, how to do it.

I was thinking about a blog and how I like to blog about process but it feels like I repeat a step by step rundown already apparent in photos. The parts I need to rehash for my growth are exactly the parts that come off as negative, for others. I’m thinking of ways I can use the blog constructively, to write about the inside things that are harder to say with only pictures.

Sun paintings_1


And maybe let us get to know each other. If you’d like that sort of thing.

I’m going to stop presenting my work as seen from some objective outside observer, and rather show how my mind affects my work, and my ability to do it. How the books that I read and the people I talk to are a catalyst for big internal earthquakes. And maybe you can relate. Please, do let me know how you relate.

watercycle block split

If we remove the person from the work, it sort of cuts out the footing. We don’t relate. Last fall at Canadian Crafts Federation symposium on Heirloom they talked about creating a story that will follow your work through its various relationships. To me that means being sure to attach your story to your work. Not just a piece about nature but a piece about nature which came from my experience of roaming through Fundy park and losing all my worries, all my monologue. And trying to find some way of re-organizing my mind to feel at home in the city, to recognize that even our cities are nature, we made them. They are our hive.

Me in Moncton (2)

I would guess to live a life of work/play merged is all of owning that perspective. The guilt I feel when life comes over work is a trick. There is no such thing as putting life over work. All of the work I have done has been continuous, inseparable, from life. What is work but a pass-time I chose? Maybe I like the physics definition best:

Workdisplacement of the point of application in the direction of the force.

pumpkin ring

In other words, steps taken in the direction of your intention. I would wish that on all my friends.

Let the time pass by.

I, like every other, think about time all of the time. I worry the premise until it is soft like a river stone. But I have been thinking lately that maybe this is the wrong approach.

It seems the more you fuss about it the faster it passes (or alternately slow, when you are fussing about it at work). My goal being of course the extension of time, I think it is best to ignore it entirely.

Even when you are in a rush. The more you focus on that rush the more it distracts you from getting the thing done, from doing things one at a time. Even more this focus on rush overwhelms me and leads me to procrastinate.

I have a difficult relationship with focus. I don’t remember that problem when I was younger. I suspect I do it to myself, like most things we do. I know it’s not a mental illness. Distraction just is.

And plus, there are these times of perfect clarity, so I know it lives inside of me. When I have zero time left to do something, I lapse into a hard-line focus. It feels wonderful. I think of nothing else but the task at hand.

This is the reason I am so fond of test-taking. For some reason, when I take tests I can be nervous as all hell right off the gate, but once I read the first question I relax. My internal monologue disappears one hundred percent. All I do for as long as it takes is test-take. And it rocks.

I think maybe when I’m not in these moments of pressure, I am out of focus not because I am not exercising focus but because I am exercising it on too many things at once. FromĀ  “This is taking so long” to “I’m never going to get this done in time” to “I can make that decision later” to “I wish I could read my book now”, I run through a thousand negatively shaped, time-worry thoughts.

Enough! I refuse to allow myself to cater to these whims. It is a rumour that we are not in control of our own thought patterns. This rumour comes from needing to trust what our minds tell us, from everyday sensory information to danger recognition. But in the case of the nagging monologue, it is a false prophet.

I suspect that in order to act as compassionate beings, we have to worry what others think. We have to play pretend that we are them and not us, that we are judging ourselves from the outside. But we are not the outside. We are ourselves. And I for one must cut myself some slack.

If I learned anything from quitting smoking it is that the mind can be convinced to do anything if it is framed positively. And anything can be framed positively. If I can quit smoking, I can learn to savour the passage of time.

Time is our only path to the present. Without it we would have all moments at once, and none to experience. The present is the gift time presents to us. We should not look a gift horse in the mouth. Anticipation is all very well and good, but we cannot spend all of our time in that realm and none experiencing what we have been waiting for.

Time will pass. Let the time pass by.