Sunday, June 24, 2018

Overwhelm


'Overwhelm' is a noun these days.   It's the state of being paralyzed by having too much to do, too many choices, and no good way to figure out which direction to go first. 

Sound familiar? 

I notice that one signal that someone is in overwhelm is when they start to say: 'I'm so behind!'

Let me assure you that you are not behind. You are exactly where you should be - and even better, we can get you exactly where you want to be, right from here.   So take a few deep breaths and know that it's all just fine, right this minute.  And it's going to feel better soon.

Here are two simple things you can do right now that will help you start cutting through the overwhelm.

Strategy #1:  Finish what you start.   A lot of overwhelm comes from knowing that unfinished things are hanging over you.   You worry about them and the things you haven't started yet and wonder how on earth you're going to get it all done.  So what you're going to do is finish something you've already started and then as you start something new, you're going to see it through to the end.  Do all of the dishes, not just a sink full.  Repair that one thing on the top of the pile that you've been putting off.  Make your bed - it takes all of 25 seconds, I've timed it.  You'll be amazed at how good finishing feels. 

Don't feel like you have to finish everything today.   Just finish what you start today [if at all possible] and try to finish one thing that you started earlier. 

Strategy #2:  Be on time for things. Something else that contributes to overwhelm is chronic tardiness.  You're scrambling to do XYZ and just can't get out the door, so you show up late, then spend the rest of the time worrying about what you've missed and playing catch up. On top of that, you can really damage relationships by disrespecting other people's time.  Don't do that to yourself.  Show up on time. Stay on task and finish that task.   You'll be eliminating a long list of things that contribute to your overwhelm by doing that one little thing. 

There are other great strategies for dealing with overwhelm and I'd love to hear your favorites.  Please let us know in the comments!



I'd like to invite you to join our Best Self facebook group where we can talk freely about becoming our best selves - and all the messy work that entails.  In addition, I have another group, The Well Balanced Artist, for creatives of all kinds and in all stages of their creative lives, who are trying to balance their art, business and personal lives.   




Sunday, June 17, 2018

Forgiving Yourself


As I mentioned in the post last Sunday, failure is part of learning new things. 

This is hard for me.  I am learning how to forgive myself for being less than perfect at all times, in every situation, to everyone. 

This is why:

  • Learning how to deal with failure allows you continue exploring, experimenting and interacting confidently without beating yourself up every time you do something less than perfect.  If you keep beating yourself up, you're going to end up being a hermit in your house, afraid to do anything at all. 
  • It is impossible to please all the people.  They all want different things.  You can't always tell what they want.  You have to choose what to do and in choosing, someone is going to get left out.  It's the way it is.  
  • Learning to forgive yourself helps you to approach situations with more confidence and that ups your likelihood of success.
  • Learning to forgive yourself lowers your stress and is easier on your body, which in turn makes it easier to be productive.  
There are lots of other reasons, too

Here's the deal though - I know why it's a good idea to forgive myself, but I'm not very good at the how.

Here are some things I've been doing when I find myself in a failure funk and need to get into a head space where I can forgive myself:
  • Take steps to actively repair any problem I've caused.
  • Repeat a mantra like this:   'I am enough.  I have enough.  There is enough.'
  • Take minute to get grounded in the moment and then enjoy it.  Listen to the birds, feel the sun on my back, smell the lilacs, cut a few flowers for the studio. 
  • Weed a garden bed.  It makes things look nice,  feeds the chickens, lets me connect with earth.
  • Go for a walk.  Usually, I feel better after the first mile.  
  • Talk about it with a trusted friend.  Saying things out loud often helps put things in perspective.  Plus, people are not as hard on me as I am on myself and they usually have valuable ideas.
  • Let go of relationships with people who make me feel bad or where I am a better friend to them than they are to me.  
All of these things help me get to a place where I can take a deep breath, fix any issue, forgive myself and move forward without being afraid all the time that I'm going to make a mistake.  

As with all things, this will be easier for me in time, with more practice.  

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sunflower



First sunflower of the season.   Pure joy.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Elderberry



The elderberry is blooming.  It's bigger than the chicken coop now and loaded with flowers. 

I planted them in 2013, from cuttings I rooted myself.   After almost killing them with love, I backed off and let the ducks fertilize them and the excess water from the garden keep them good and moist.  They are so happy. 

My goal for this year is to figure out how to make a syrup or jelly that I can eat [with no sugar,  honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.]   That's going to take a bit of creative problem solving. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Another Experiment - Leonard's Barn

© Robin Edmundson, 'Leonard's Barn' work in progress,  watercolor, 10 x 14 inches

I've been playing with really wet, messy washes, lots of color, lots of granulating pigments and some simplified compositions. 

This piece is really overworked, but the concept is pretty good and I think with practice I'll be able to do things like this more comfortably.   It will be good for me to lay in the wash and then leave it alone.  

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Risking Failure

© Robin Edmundson, 'Overgrown', watercolor work in progress

I do not like to fail.

I take it personally and it makes me feel like I am fundamentally and irreparable flawed.   I don't like that feeling. 

Since I have never figured out how to learn new stuff and do it perfectly right off the bat, I have trained myself to risk the failure,  try new things anyway, and work through it. 

There are times, like lately, when I am working hard and mostly producing failure after failure. Even when I have a good start, I often ruin a piece in a later stage.  [The painting above looked OK at this stage, but I killed it the next day.]  My pile of crap paintings is very high.  Every evening I wonder if I should just quit painting altogether and get a 9 to 5, which would at least pay the bills.

And every morning I decide to trust.

I trust my intuition that says to continue.  I trust that I will figure it out.  I trust that someone will show up that day be supportive.  I trust that people will buy my work so I can afford to continue.  I trust that I'll know what step to take next. 

Trust is my best strategy for dealing with failure.   What is your best strategy? 



I'd like to invite you to join our Best Self facebook group where we can talk freely about becoming our best selves - and all the messy work that entails.  In addition, I have another group, The Well Balanced Artist, for creatives of all kinds and in all stages of their creative lives, who are trying to balance their art, business and personal lives.   



Sunday, June 3, 2018

Imperfection: Wabi-Sabi

Barn, Greene County, Indiana.  Highway 43.  Since torn down.


Wabi-sabi is the Japanese notion of finding the beauty in the imperfection of how things really are.  I've written about it a few times here on the blog.

It took a while for me to realize that I choose my subjects for painting and photography because of that very notion.   I love the wabi-sabi of aging structures.  The imperfections tell stories and telling [painting] those stories keep our history, communities and culture alive.   I love that.

Things that have been made by hand and which have lived long useful lives are beautiful. 

What are your favorite examples of wabi-sabi?


I'd like to invite you to join our Best Self facebook group where we can talk freely about becoming our best selves - and all the messy work that entails.  In addition, I have another group, The Well Balanced Artist, for creatives of all kinds and in all stages of their creative lives, who are trying to balance their art, business and personal lives.   We can be wabi-sabi together.

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