Stop Telling Him Anything And Just Get To It

Stop Telling Him Anything And Just Get To It

Having ideas for me is easy. Ideas are just thoughts and who know where they come from, but they are impossible to stop. Turning an idea into an actual thing, executing it, manifesting it, that’s very hard. Nothing just comes, everything has to be implemented.

I have a voice in my head that plays devil’s advocate on any idea we are interested in pursuing. This analytical character loves to quickly game out our idea and get right to pointing out potential problems. While we struggle to maintain enthusiasm and even memory for the initial idea, they rapidly innumerate the pitfalls and problems we are likely to experience. Knowing us as well as we know ourselves, they are particularly adept at seeing where our weaknesses are going to come into play and reminding us how ideas didn’t work out in the past due to poor follow through and systemic indecision. There is only one way around this fellow, stop telling him anything and just get to it.

Take any part of the idea and implement something. If you want a blog, create a site on WordPress. If you want to draw, get some paper. Or even better, just draw something. On anything and hang it up where you will see it multiple times a day. Or maybe it’s a much bigger idea like turn Sidewalk Faces into a book, sell prints online, have a show. What do you do then?

The first idea, the initiating big idea, is not really a thing at all, it’s just a trail marker at the beginning of the hike. It signifies that you are at the beginning and should go forward. The good ideas come after you have taken the first action. They are more useful than the ideas the critic was responding to because those ideas were theoretical. The ideas that follow an action are much easier to implement because they are connected to something tangible. If you signed up with WordPress for a blog and then wrote a post it wouldn’t be too difficult to have an idea about a second post. And way less difficult to write it because all you would have to do is log in and go. The trick is to do the idea that has a motor behind it, the one you most truly want to do, not the one you think you should do. Not the one the critic says will add up to something.

I started this blog six years ago, before I had made my first Sidewalk Face. I didn’t know what it was for. I just wanted to write more. I wanted to see what I would write if I gave myself a place to do it. I am almost at one hundred posts! I now know what I like to write about and if I am able to conceptualize a book, I have some written content to play with. As for selling my work, I am so close. Stay tuned! Just don’t tell my inner critic what we are up to!

If Beggars Can’t Be Choosers…

If Beggars Can’t Be Choosers…

Someone was offering me a gift. It wasn’t quite to my liking and the phrase beggars can’t be choosers popped in my head. In this case, the gift was substantial, something I wouldn’t do for myself and was fortunate to be the beneficiary of. I wanted to want what was on offer, not crave something unavailable. Quoting this phrase to myself was supposed to help achieve that. But no sooner had I said the phrase then I started to dissect it. If beggars can’t be choosers, then choosers must what? Pay a fee? Instead of thinking about gratitude, I started to think about this new phrase.

The phrase implies that getting what you want means you need to have money. The better choices are usually more expensive. I get that with hotels and restaurants and carpets and homes. If choice is the most important thing, then money is the most important thing. The more money, the more choice.

But what if having the ability to choose without restriction excludes you from a different worthwhile experience? Is choice always the best option? Is it ever preferable to be the beggar?

Not everything in life is for sale and not every outcome is predicated on choosing. More often than not, fate is the chooser and makes beggars of us all. You don’t choose who you’re going to randomly meet and fall in love with. You don’t choose your child. You don’t choose to have an accident. You don’t choose the Fiestaware that came with your spouse. You don’t choose the things you find yourself obsessed with like a love of crystals or plants or Fiestaware or art. Many things just happen and often those things affect your life far more than what you do choose. No one’s gravestones talk about their great choice in carpets. So why do we think choosing is the ultimate in self-expression?

Also, while it’s wonderful to have what we want, it’s only wonderful if we know what we want. Our desires are a moving and morphing target. Sometimes you buy something you think you want and find out you don’t. That sucks. How do you learn what you love? You try new things. How do you try new things? An opportunity comes your way. Until you try it, you may not want to. Until you love it, you may be put off by it. There is always an unknown period of just experiencing something and learning from direct contact. We don’t get that with choice. You don’t know what the vegan tacos taste like when you choose the pork.

It’s important to develop both skills, both mindsets. If you are going to pay, you might as well get something good if you can. And for sure, it’s good to use your resources to support your affinities and open yourself to opportunity. But if you are going to be the recipient, it’s best to have the ability appreciate what you have been given, to orient towards the positive rather than ruminate on the negative. To see that maybe you have been given something very valuable and rare. Something you would never have otherwise. Don’t reject something before you really know what it is.

Sidewalk Face 814

The Opposite of Ideal

The Opposite of Ideal

Embrace it.

I strive and strive for an ideal state of being. But what would I accept if it was all taken from me and I could only have a tiny fraction back for the briefest of moments? I imagine I would see everything that bothers me as the greatest of gifts. Can I learn to do that now, when it could be of use?

This is the imaginary scenario I set up for myself after a day of bitter complaining due to a total stress tsunami. Husband was served earful after earful of despair. Was he fortified by these revelations? Facial expressions indicate a firm no. He served a few back and I slid into panic. We can’t both tank.

What caused it? Just all of it, the overwhelming daily grind to the national nightmare to the international impenetrability to the galactic nonchalance. Something is going wrong in every arena. There is no respite. I cannot have what I want. I wake up with 48 hour’s worth of to do’s. No matter how efficient and productive I whip myself into being, it’s not enough. No matter how much I relax, it all comes back. I can’t find equilibrium. Give me a new goal, please!, I beg of myself while stirring the onions.

Myself looks at my son who is standing in the kitchen needing a role model, not a narcissist. He is asking me questions about something. I could go ballistic because his need is ONE MORE THING, or I could just be here now and do it different.

Okay myself says, here’s the new story: it’s never ever ever getting better so let go of that. But!….don’t freak out, to help you adjust to this new radically and permanently imperfect situation, humor us with quick mind game. We think it will change your perspective.

Imagine if in five minutes, all of it, every last problem, was gone. Gone because really gone. Dead, disappeared, dried up, abandoned, betrayed. All gone. You’d be on your knees begging for crumbs of return. Give me anything! Okay! Stop blubbering and you can have crumbs.

It’s all back! Sweet relief! But there are dirty dishes everywhere. You can make soup, but you’ll be making it next to last night’s crusted over skillet.

I am going to test drive this experiment. I see my favorite orange glazed Le Creuset cast iron skillet. It’s crusty with last night’s stir fry. I can barely see the orange under the decade’s layers of burnt on grime. Who cares, we are re-united! So much better to have you next to me dirty then cracked in two and thrown in the garbage. Lucky me! Instead of feeling cheated out of cooking space, I will focus on that nearness of your being. Having a dirty dish is better than having no dish. Okay, I can work with that. I’m feeling that. This game will get me through one more night.

I was nice and funny and kind and slow to anger. For one more night. Every day is a battle. Every trick in the book helps. I really am glad to be here. Thank you life. Thank you imagination. Gratitude bests grievance. Knockout punch.