Do Ideas Come First or Second?

Do Ideas Come First or Second?

Sometimes there are so many ideas, they’re like a bowl of popcorn while watching tv at night, who cares if a few fall between the cushions, plenty to go around!

Other times, ideas are like your underwear drawer when you’ve forgotten to do the laundry. Uh oh!

When there are lots of ideas to go around, and you are acting on some of these ideas, then you can take ideas for granted. A dime a dozen. What a wonderful state of affairs. But just like a bowl of popcorn is easily consumed, ideas can suddenly be in short supply. You can find yourself digging through the couch cushions and looking hard at that stale kernel, wondering if something can be made from it.

I feel like I am in that state and I am wondering what happened? Where did all the ideas go?

I know exactly what happened! I stopped drawing.

I haven’t made an abstract since before Thanksgiving. Sure, I diddled around a bit in my little book and that kept things from a taking a radical turn, but I haven’t committed to a drawing in more than a week and now I have no ideas.

So, here’s my thesis, ideas are the result of actions. We tend to think it’s the opposite, that ideas come first, and actions follow, like, I have an idea to make cake. Now I am eating cake. How cool!

But that’s not really an idea, it’s an impulse. Doesn’t matter, ideas and impulses are almost the same and good ideas need a lot of impulse embedded in them. That’s why we have all sorts of grand ideas that never manifest. It doesn’t matter how cool your space colony concept is, you’ll never in a million years have enough impulse. Elon Musk might have enough impulse but who cares, back to cake.

While you’re mixing the batter, you may have an idea about adding crushed pistachios (that sounds good!) or adding green food coloring to the pistachio frosting, or maybe shaping the whole thing like a frog. Ideas need a portal to come through, that portal is the thing already happening. If you want ideas, start doing the thing.

The main reason I draw so often is because I want to keep my channel open. I want to have lots of ideas. I am greedy and I like to find lost ideas tucked into the couch. That happened with my last post. I had written the title and first two sentences only, saved it and moved on. I had no memory of doing that, a stray thought that came into my head, probably while doing the dishes, but I quickly captured it because that’s another thing about ideas, they have a very short life span unless you plant them. They waft in on the wind and they will waft out just as quickly unless you write them down, or draw them out, or in some way place them in the world of action.

I have to go draw now.

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

Like a song stuck in my head, this phrase has been showing up and forcing me to consider it, such as when I’m washing the dishes. I’ll be sort of low key irritated and rushed, the idea being I could do what I really want to do if only I was done with the dishes. The problem is that when I get to what I really want to do, I still feel low key irritated and rushed. All I know is being low key irritated and rushed, that’s what I have been practicing over and over.

My yoga teacher used to say this phrase in class, back when I went to yoga, before the pandemic. I found it very helpful. It increased my concentration, my focus, it helped me stop trying to escape or go faster.

I’ve written it down in my summer fun book (referenced in the prior post) and am contemplating it as often as possible. This morning while working on my abstract of the day, also in the summer fun book, I noticed that I was low key irritated and rushed. Or maybe a little more like, what’s the point of this, you should be doing something productive. Like what?! Like doing the dishes? I have created a system where I can’t win. I quickly moved past it. I have more flexibility than I am letting on. But it takes some effort and consciousness to move my attitude. Every day, all day long, I have to adjust and readjust.

The way I would like to be doing everything is peacefully, with no struggle. Just doing it, like it’s the most pleasant thing in the world.