Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Start Each Day as a Child in Play!

The more I try to control my days with plans and goals, the more I am limiting myself. But wait, wasn't I taught that to be productive and successful I had to set goals? Remember the question, "where do you see yourself in five years?" I used to soar with answering that and building steps to reach that five-year goal plan. Did I procrastinate? Was I frustrated or let down before the five year goal mark arrived?

YES! But now I am turning all of that upside down and inside out. I am learning to let go of the goal setting. I found goal setting was interfering with my basic happiness. It was blocking passionate, mindful living, as I was always pushing towards something in the future. I have found that new ideas and daily successes emerge and evolve from activities that aren't boxed in tightly with detailed plans. In fact the new ideas that reveal themselves unexpectedly almost always sparks the pathway to another idea, and another...so much so that when I am drawing, painting, or writing I have to keep my Moleskine notebook nearby to record these ideas.

You may be asking, "but Darlene if we don't set goals how will we accomplish anything?" It is not easy to change the "goal- setting- for -success- mindset" as I know it makes me feel good and secure that I have a defined plan in writing to complete a goal. But the truth is that it didn't make me feel good and secure at all. The results usually made me feel bad about myself because I would procrastinate, or allow distractions to interrupt, or I simply became bored with the plan. And this is when I'd fall into the dark hole of the "I should be doing this," or  "why can't I finish that?"

I believe I was addicted to the feeling of control...which by the way is an illusion. It is an illusion to think I can control the outcome of my goals from start to finish. What can I do? I can replace the words "control and goals" with "discovery and letting go of the results." I can explore each day as compassionately and passionately as I can. THINK OF THE LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES I'D HAVE IF I STARTED EACH DAY AS A CHILD IN PLAY. What things and materials excite me? What activities do I lose myself and time in?

I've been focusing on the idea of no goal setting for several months after my computer crashed. Suddenly the on-line busyness halted and I was given time. I didn't have access to on-line classes, communication among artist friends, or on-line posting. I had no excuse but to go to my studio and focus 100% on creating. I have a computer now but I don't jump on it first thing in the morning, nor do I interrupt writing or drawing just to check emails real quick. (There is no real quick...) I learned that when I started my days with on-line activity I spent the rest of the day in reactive mode. I was primarily chasing after on-line activities. Now I start my day in the studio creating or writng. Same time every day. Even if I can only give 15 minutes I show up to do the work. I have a better balance of computer/studio time. Both are necessary and important and both impact and help drive and define the other.

Forming habits of daily success is more important to me now than setting long-term goals. If I show up in the art studio every day, at about the same time every day, then I build a habit of producing creative work. The showing up every day to do the work on what passionately motivates me is what makes for a masterful day. Soon the masterful days produce a completed manuscript, a painting, illustrations, or a series of Zebra cartoons. (And all of that really is my goal...I just haven't tortured myself to get there.)