If You Can Do It I Can Do It

Been away for a weekend, loving every minute of it, now needing a vacation from my vacation.

But once reality sets in, when the kids go back to school and the weather starts to change, I start to think about my own dreams and desires and how time flies before you get a start on any of them.

Do you have dreams and desires and goals you have set for yourself that you haven’t quite reached yet? Are you doing anything about them? Are you saying “Mmmyeh…what comes comes…” and half way giving up since you believe they weren’t meant to come true anyway?

Or are you working on those dreams, manifesting your inside outside and really going for the gusto?

A friend of mine in here is a wonderful abstract artist, Anthony Grootelaar (MyMonkey Mind). I’m going to feature him in the Gallery soon. He has so much art created I’m sure he could wallpaper a mansion. I love his colors and his approach and his experiments and his plans. Here I am, telling him he should have art shows and go to art fairs with his wares and all these other extra-curricular things that he probably already has done.

I get pumped up when I see other’s successes.

I know a few other poets through this blog that are marvelous writers. I’m always telling them to publish a book of poetry or offer it on their blog or at book fairs. I’m all for the excitement and sharing of their talent with others.

I know painters, furniture makers, writers. They all are extremely creative and moving forward with their Art.

Yet where am I on my own cosmic sharing scale?

I would like to think that I, too, have a special talent that’s worth sharing beyond my personal computer or now and then on my blog. Yet I cringe when I think about sharing my talent.

For what if it’s not talent?

Why is it so much easier to be enthusiastic about someone else’s work?

There is so much beauty out there — so much creativity. So many new ideas. Forms of expression. Shining stars. I am all for others sharing their souls with the the world. After all, ~I~ am in love with their work — why wouldn’t others be?

But when it comes to our own work, we are our own worse critics.
I’ve been both ways. I’ve thought something was fantastic and it was terrible; I’ve thought something not that great and it was well received.

We will never know the extent of our greatness until we put it out there. And keep it out there.

We have to develop a thicker skin, that’s for sure. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and all. But more than that, we have to be willing to learn. from our creativity. To correct, to erase, admit we made a wrong choice, and start again differently. Better. Smoother.

I have so many plans for my future creative self. Things I want to write, art I want to make. And I want to share it with others. Maybe even sell some of it.

I know I can do it. I just don’t know if I have the patience to see it through.

But you all have taught me something. If you  can do it — I can do it. If you are thinking about it and working on it, I can be thinking and working on it too.

Let’s say together it in Morgan Freeman’s voice!

I think you can do anything you want!

Four Points in Black and White

success_failureContrary to what philosophers and psychologists think, life is really black or white.

Success or failure.

You can’t “almost” win a football game. You can’t “almost” get published. You either win the game or you don’t. You either get published or you don’t.

Yes, there are ever-increasing varieties of gray and cadet blue floating around between the two, allowing us to find a comfortable medium, but the reality is, as my friend Yoda says, “Do or Do Not. There Is No Try.”

This kind of cold reality does little to boost waivering egos. From kindergarten soccer players to ACT test takers, the world’s pressure to be a winner vs. a loser makes the grey evening darker and more obtuse.

How, then, in this truly black and white world, do we find — and retain — a healthy dose of ego? Of self worth? We merely need to how to play the game better, that’s all.

1.  Expectations

Earth to Human. There can only be one President of the United States. One first-place winner in American Ninja Warrior. Know that from the get-go, and strive accordingly. While “anyone can grow up to be president,” know that the other 242,470,820 adults in the U.S. may have something to do with that goal, too. Hone your expectations to your energy, ability, and luck.

2.  Goals

Everyone wants to hit the game-winning run, lose 40 pounds, have 10,000 followers on Twittter. But everyone knows that most times you can’t do it your first time around. You have to lose 5 pounds before you can lose 40. You have to learn how to Tweet before you can invade the Twitter market. You get my drift.

STOP SETTING UNREALISTIC GOALS FOR IMMEDIATE REWARDS!

Goals are a marvelous thing. An important thing. One thing kids today don’t get is that you have to do the work to get the reward. You only set yourself up for failure when you run faster than you can think. Set smaller goals. Get input, advice. Setbacks. But don’t give up when you don’t run the 4K after walking for three weeks. Be kind to yourself.

3.  Redefine

The old adage “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome” by Booker T. Washington still holds true today. I’m not saying you need to constantly stop and smell the roses — you’ll never get anywhere if you spend all day in the garden.

Can you be a winner if you lost a contract or a game or an argument? Of course.  Your effort to stay and complete what you started automatically puts you into the “winner” category. Can you be successful if your repeated attempts to lose weight don’t work? Yes you can, if you use what you learned in the failure to try again another way. One thing the ego refuses to give up is it’s drama of having to always be right. It’s all in how you look at the situation. You don’t always have to be right.

4.  Know when to cut your losses

That always sounds like a cop out, but I’ve seen people pound ideas and stories and escapades into the ground, destroying good intentions, because they just can’t stop trying. Years ago someone’s grandfather’s friend’s second cousin told someone that you do it or die. And some people are willing to do just that.

There are times when you just can’t move the dial into the “success” category. It’s not that you haven’t adapted, changed, tried. Your attempt in the first place puts you in the successful category. The result doesn’t. You continued your effort and it JUST DIDN’T WORK. Instead of trying “one more time”, sometimes it’s better to shelve the attempt and move onto something new. Keep the old goals as well-meaning but perhaps not well-thought-out.

It’s when you get burned out, stressed out, crabby, diseased, and physically sick that you’ve gone way past the win/lose line. You’ve lost all perspective. And that, to me is a failure, period.

Go for it — enjoy it — put your heart and soul into it. But give it a break, too.

Practice make Perfect.

 

 

I Am (some kind of) A Flower

Banksia-Coccinea_webThe first taste of Spring — REAL Spring — brings an antsyness to me that supersedes any residue A.D.D. I have. Having been cooped up in the house since December, I am ready to take on the world…at least my little part of it.

I have had my share of crap through my life, but have usually come out of it with a fairly clean shoe.  I’ve put up with crummy jobs, crummy friends, and crummy situations. When Spring comes I always want to kick the world in the teeth and strut boldly and successfully into something new. Something exciting. Something different.

But I always run into the same obstacles. Money. Age. Bad Timing. Energy. All the obstacles I swore I’d overcome next time.

I don’t want to confuse the good part of my life with the bad. It’s taken me years to finally be accepting of who I am, flakiness and all. I’m not beautiful, I’m not thin. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. But I am happy with my health, my family, and my loves. I’m a fairly decent writer, artist, and cook. I’m a great granny, friend, and colleague. That part is a lifetime commitment, one I think I’ve handled fairly well.  But that’s not the only side of my growth.

I think we all get frustrated at points in our lives. We get tired of taking the bad with the good. Tired of bending like a reed and blowing in the wind. Tired of turning the other cheek.  We tell ourselves we can do better. We deserve better. We’ve worked hard all our lives and we deserve more than this (whatever this is). So we work a little harder, save a little more. Go back to school. Lose weight. Whatever it is that makes us feel we have a say in our future.

And sometimes we make it.

More often, we stall out somewhere along the way. The road is too rocky, too twisty. We really believe we want a new job or a new style. Yet we never quite get there. We send out a few resumes, enter our artwork in contests, buy healthy food. We start walking or jogging or whatever it is we need to jump start our new direction. But the frig goes on the fritz, we twist our ankle. We need to proofread our novel one more time. Legitimate reasons we can’t move on right away. Legitimate. Yet a reason. There’s always a reason.

I suppose that’s why I feel so strong every Spring. It’s a chance to replant those seeds that have been gathering dust all year. I need to believe I’m not really getting older, although all signs point in that direction.  I’ve already started my BoHo chic thing (swingy skirts work better in warm weather). I’m due for a vacation renewal May 13th.  My husband finally found a job.  So things in general are quite good. But I have the desire to do more. Now that the daffodils are popping through the dirt, I should be popping through my own dirt. I need to keep my goals in sight. Even if I don’t get there.

I see shadows on the horizon…they seem to come more in waves these days than ripples. But I’m determined to make it through the rough patches so I can coast when things get smooth. Not only that, but I want to be strong for the others riding this wave with me. Because it’s important to believe that you have a purpose in this world. A reason for hanging around. Every day we achieve something, every day we learn something, is a good day. Never forget that. Even if I can’t find a new job or a new body, at least I can accept what I do have with grace and a smile.

Not to mention that I’ll kick anybody’s bootie if they say different.