Sunday, July 29, 2012

Garden In Progress: June & July

Garden shed in morning light

I have admitted here before that I am a recovering perfectionist. When I call myself that I don't mean that I used to do everything perfectly and now I don't. What I am talking about is my attachment to perfection and how that used to, and sometimes still does, keep me from achieving or even attempting to achieve my goals.

Take my garden for instance. The record breaking high temperatures and my other projects have not allowed me the time I would like to spend working on my garden right now. This means there are more weeds than I would like and a few other issues that can't be solved in one day. The perfectionist part of me is appalled by this, she feels that if we can't remedy the whole situation immediately and have a perfect garden, we might as well throw in the towel. Then there is this other part of me; this patient and confident presence that I like to call the muse of progress.

The muse of progress reminds me that if I just spend a little time each morning tending to my garden that my flowers will still bloom and my projects will eventually get done. She isn't blind to all the work ahead of me, but she helps me focus on just one tiny bit at a time and it is amazing to see how all those tiny bits slowly build up, well on their way to becoming huge accomplishments.

So here once again are some photos of the perfection in progress that is my garden.

Garden in late June

Summer Blooms

Cone Flowers (Echinacea)


Some friendly Fairy advice

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Slave To The Should?

I admire Painters (capital P intentional). Among my favorite muses are people who really dedicated themselves to the single act of painting on a regular, if not daily basis. People like Georgia O'Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and many others who made capturing and creating something on canvas and all that entailed the central focus of their life. For much of my life I have looked to these shining examples as role models and aspired to be like them. What I have learned, however, is that I am not like them. This revelation has bothered me in the past but I have recently come to accept it and believe I am on my way to embracing it.

This doesn't mean I am giving up painting. It is still one of my favorite things to do ever but it is not the only thing I do and though I go through phases where I paint a lot, it is not always the focus of my life. I used to think this was because I lacked discipline or dedication but then I had an interesting conversation with my muse that made me look at things a little differently.

I have been doing a lot of projects around the house lately, such as the garden shed in my last post and a bathroom renovation I hope to complete and tell you about soon. It is very demanding work that has left me little time to do much else. I have had to let some other tasks go temporarily and I am fortunate that my lifestyle is flexible enough to allow me to do this. Still, I kept hearing this voice in my head that told me I SHOULD be painting. I thought this voice belonged to my muse but when I finally confronted her about it she was extremely insulted.

“Let me tell you something once and for all,” she began indignantly with her hands on her hips, “my voice is not the one that tells you that you SHOULD do something, my voice is the one that says you HAVE TO do it and because you know what's good for you, you have always heeded it.”

“Really?” I asked, wondering which one of us was delusional. Had I not been rebelling against her all this time?

“Really.” She confirmed, triumphantly gesturing to the newly tiled and painted bathroom we were standing in, “Who do you think got you to do all this?”

I thought back to the insane amount of hard work I had done over the last few weeks and why and realized it was true. She isn't the voice in my head telling me I should do things that I'm not doing. She is the one who plants the images in my head, the visions that haunt me until I have no choice but to realize them any way I can.

“So who keeps telling me I should be painting?” I wondered.

“Obviously someone with a lot less knowledge and wisdom than I have.” She replied with her usual confidence. “I wouldn't listen to them at all.”

And then she blinked out of sight. 

I found that very annoying but then I looked around at my bathroom that was starting to come together and I had to admit that woman knows what she is doing. I, however, am not the rebel I once thought I was, not because I have been doing my muse's bidding even more than I realized, but because I allowed that other voice, that “should” voice, to boss me around for far too long. I think I am done with that.

So, maybe I'm not going to be a Painter but that's okay, I already have a job, remember? It's called being a “Slave To The Muse” and it turns out that I'm actually pretty good at it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012