A Creative Retreat – Day Two

Day Two of my creative retreat got MUCH better.  I finished up the chair, finished the work boots drawing I had started over a year before and did a good bit of writing and thinking.

Here are my notes on the day:

“Day 2 of my creative weekend is going much better than Day 1.  I’m more focused and not as frustrated.  I have realized that there are things that I need to unlearn or relearn as I go into my 51st year on this planet and have new goals for the second half of my life (yes, I have a goal of reaching 100 years old).”

I tried to condense some of what I got out of the weekend.  You can do a lot of thinking when you are painting a chair and don’t have any distractions for your brain.  These are the things I want/need to work on but they are pretty basic.  We all just have so much stuff to juggle and keep up with that it’s hard to keep your mind on what is really important.

1)  Be over other’s people’s agendas – Unconsiously, I spent much of my first 49 years trying to live up to other’s people’s idea of who I should be.  Most of the time that conflicted with my idea of the life I wanted and the way my DNA works.  It is especially bad if you are trying to make more than one person happy.  That, my friends, is a no win situation.  No one will be happy.  You least of all.  The biggest regrets I have are the decisions I made under the influence of other people.

2)  Enjoy the benefits of being older – I’m not talking about the Senior Citizen discounts.  I’m not there yet, but plan to take full advantage when I am though.  What I have noticed is that things that drove me crazy in my younger years don’t even phase me now.  I have survived some BIG things and after those everything else just looks silly to work up stress over.  Also, I don’t mind being silly and don’t embarrass as easy anymore.

3)  I don’t have to prove I’m right or convince anyone that I’m smart anymore.  Having been raised in a culture of negative reinforcement, I have always been on the defensive.  I was always trying to prove my worth in this world.  Finally I have reached a point where I just don’t care what other people think.  What a HUGE relief.  There will always be people who are smarter, faster, tougher, nicer, meaner, etc.   Just be who you are.  Other people are too busy worrying about what you think of them to actually bother thinking about you.

4)  Focus – This is the biggie I have to work on now.  I have juggled work, house work, yard work, kids, homework, laundry, art, friends, family, church, community for so long that I don’t know how to focus on one thing at a time anymore.  I caught myself just last week listening to a podcast, trying to read a blog and texting my S.O. all at the same time!  I have no clue what any of them said.  Your brain cannot do 3 things at once.   I can run the laundry while I write or draw.  Cooking is risky.  I can completely tune out the buzzer telling me the pizza is ready when I am reading or drawing.  Just take a wild guess how I know that.

5)  People are the most important – No, not your stupid job, not your new car, not the cool new toy or what is happening in the middle east (unless it’s your home and/or you have family there).  It’s the time you really give your kids, your friends, your family and people who need help.  Can I go back to #1 here?  Be there for your people, but don’t try to run or live their lives.  Don’t play God.  Just listen, hug, laugh with, support and help where you can.

6)  Enjoy simple things – Laughter, hugs, fresh food, flowers, thunderstorms, snow, walks, the beach, quiet, and many, many other things that are good and lovely.

7)  Give back – Find a cause or two that makes your heart warm to give to.  You don’t have to give money.  Many causes need your time more.  Volunteer.  If you have enough food, a place to live and clothes then you have more than millions of people.  Even where I live in the US it is ranked one of the top three places in the nation where people do not have enough food.  How very, very sad is that in this country.  People can’t be productive members in society if their most basic needs are not met.

I’m sure I can think of more to add to this list, but at the moment other things are calling my name and I have focused on this about as long as I can.  I will explain my easily distracted, easily bored issues later.  Oh, the chair still needs some more work.

Have a great day and hug your dog.

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