Thursday, February 24, 2011

note to self: just breathe

“i am like a book, 
with pages that have stuck together 
for want of use: 
my mind needs unpacking 
and the truths stored within 
must be turned over 
from time to time, 
to be ready when 
occasion demands”
- seneca

i am stuck. feel as though i'm stuck in a crack beneath a big boulder and can't budge an inch.  i've tried all the usual tricks to get myself jump started. nothing.  it's not that the ideas are not there. more like that there are too many. all running around. bumping into each other. dancing just out of reach as i try to tack them down into cloth.

it's not that i don't have the resources. the raw materials. more that there may be too much to choose from. so much so that i am inundated by options.

it's just that i am feeling stuck. not just in my art. i feel myself isolating more and more and my social life and dating has become pretty non-existent. i am just struggling a lot with motivation right now. i feel lost. confused. i don't know what my purpose in life is, anymore.

i just have to keep going. keep moving. keep creating. keep practicing.  keep cleaning. keep sorting.

i found this passage in a book that i have no idea where it came from, but it seemed to speak volumes at this moment:

"don't beat yourself up for not knowing all the answers. 
you don't always have to know who you are. 
you don't have to have the big picture, 
or know where you're heading. 
sometimes it's enough just to know what you're going to do next."

 -  sophie kinsella, the undomestic goddess

the trouble being, of course, that sometimes i'm not even certain of what i'm going to do next.

step back.
                   slow down.
                                       look within.
                                                            find balance.



  1. Very wise quote by Ms. Kinsella. Live in the moment. Like you, I find myself overwhelmed. Which direction to I want to go, am I an artist, can I really do this, questions, ideas, inspiration. I discovered today that I was not doing something because that meant it would be done and I couldn't use it as an excuse to keep me from the studio. The old "after I clean the house, mow the lawn, paint the cat's toe nails" excuse to avoid exploring and perhaps falling flat on my face. So, tomorrow I will begin again and hopefully explore and maybe fall flat on my face, but at least I began. Take a step and breathe, I'll catch you if you fall. :)

  2. And you are wise too, Joe. I'm thinking that just writing about these blocks we seem to create for ourselves every now and then must surely be helping. I'm a great believer in the ebb and flow of being a creative spirit....after all we are 99% water (or thereabouts). And nothing caught up in tidal movements knows which beach it is going to end up on.

  3. You created a beautiful blog post that you shared today. there are great quotes,(love the senaca quote about books) and great pictures. That in itself is your jump-start to more creativity.

    Warm Wishes for a new day ahead!

    Cheryl-Healing Woman

  4. Sometimes taking a moment to not think helps too. Mundane tasks occupying hands and consciousness, allowing the next project to bubble to the top, when it is ready. Patience. Spring comes and the grass grows by itself. -Sue

  5. joe, keep breathing
    come over to my blog to
    listen to soothing tunes...
    some of it may just
    get you back on track...

  6. I just came back from my trip to Iceland. I am so full of inspiration and thoughts of future projects that I am about to explode.
    I suspect that your eloquently explained in your artful post, may be due to a problem most of us that create have...the dreaded, 'I cannot copy, she/he is so much better/talented than I am, why did I not think of that...why can I not do as much work as he/she...etc. etc'. Then again I may be projecting here. I feel for you...I am no stranger to how you feel at the moment.
    Like my four year old grandson likes to say, while extending his arm, showing the palm of his hand, and forming a determined expression on his face, "STOP" A good, but not an easy advice to take...but one worth considering.

  7. I find these times the hardest - the times of being deep in the mystery. If I truly stay with it - be RADICALLY present, these are the times when suddenly I KNOW.

    Maybe you need this time to be more alone than with others? I'm reminded of Pema Chodron's teachings that everything can be a distraction from being with the pain. That when we judge our pain, "not knowing", ourselves, we can come back to the deep practice of self-compassion. I'm sooo hard on myself. I need to practice self-compassion over and over. I wonder if taking yourself out on a self-love and compassion date would be helpful. It sometimes works wonders for me!

  8. I find that having too many raw materials in sight confuses me with too many choices. I set myself up so I can get my hands on whatever I want but it's too much. I go for a long time without creating much of anything...and feeling a bit guilty. Then, I finally decide to put some of the materials away and select one idea to work on even though I may not be especially inspired. As I work into the project, I discover I'm doing what I love and I'm creating again. Creating (anything new) is good!
    Just a thought...have a good one...

  9. Joe, I am right there with you. There is something on my last post that may speak to you, it did me, it helped a lot. Accepting and loving where you are is the key, stuck, isolating,it is all okay. Hey, Spring is almost here! xoxo

  10. Hey Joe, such good advice to just BREATHE and slow down. I think I'm at an age in my life where I see too many roads to follow but I know I only have time to explore a few so I find myself stuck in one spot full of indecision. I want to do it all so therefore, I do none. I'm going to take your advice to just slow down & just wait. People have really disappointed me last year when I needed them, but I realize that maybe I just didn't ask them.

  11. Sometimes, somedays, all you really have to do is breathe. We seem to feel the need every day to race here and there and do this and that. But that's not always necessary. Maybe you are suppose to just sit back, breathe, take in life and rejuvinate your spirit.

  12. This was an amzing post, I love that you put in words how so many of us feels as artists AND people- wonderful words of wisdom. By the way, I'm part of a group that hosts weekly challenges and the theme of the week is "breathe" this would be perfect for it!
    I'm just sayin'

  13. Oh and here's the link:

  14. breathe and balance. and be kind to yourself. you deserve it.

  15. Oh man, I feel you there! Sometimes what it takes me is that I have a theme that I must work at, from there, it is where the chaos ends of having too much stuff to choose from and too many ideas. The key is to FOCUS on one thing and the rest of the things seem less overwhelming and things fall into place. It helps you to sort out amongst the piles. Write down your overwhelming thoughts down on slips of paper. Put them into a hat and draw. It will help narrow down so that you can FOCUS!

    I am no doctor, but from experience when I have all of this going on, I realize that I have been going through depression. It's been a long winter, a need for some vitamin D and lots of sunshine! Or perhaps even a boost of some antidepressants to get your seratonin levels up.

    So after you learn to breathe, learn to focus!

  16. Well maybe it's spring. Or the necessary chaos before creation. Enjoy the stuck feeling would say the buddhist :o)