Week 11: A Time for Everything

I collected some bits of inspiration while we were cleaning up the yard this week. While raking out the beds, I picked out some interesting shapes of Fall leaves, then saved a few of the long dry curling reeds from trimming the ornamental grasses. I noticed some cute little pods when pruning the crape myrtles. While snipping away at the wild branches of butterfly bush, I saw the silvery new growth mingling with last year’s dried flowers, browned and crumbling, but still with a hint of purple.  As I hauled away the bags of the crinkling crunchy dead leaves and trimmings, new growth was bursting out all around: blooming Cherries, Camelia, Bradford Pear, and Daffodils. I puts bits of all these things, the old and the new, on the same plate, and took it down to the studio to draw and observe.  The beautiful fresh Camelia blossom nestles with the dry old oak leaf.  Each has its place in its own time.

This week I challenged myself to clear out some old ideas along with the old leaves. One of my most limiting old beliefs is “There is not enough time for all my creative projects.” It’s true that I am attempting a lot. Along with writing this blog and making my weekly collage, I am also designing patterns and illustrations on my Mac in a serious effort to launch a second career in surface design. Sometimes it all seems a little crazy, as I struggle to balance my creative ambitions with work, family time and the everyday necessities of life. There are days when it all seems impossible. But I am trying out a new belief: “There is always enough time and a time for everything.” I decide what I am going to work on, and stop worrying about all the other stuff while I am focusing on the current task. Then I take a break and work on something else, allowing myself to be fully present for the next activity. I managed to have a pretty great weekend using this approach. I enjoyed working outside in the yard.  I devoted a lot of time to my design project since I had some new ideas I was excited about. I spent a long time drawing and less time painting this week. I made pancakes for my family Sunday morning and lingered around the table instead of rushing down to the studio first thing in the morning. It is 9:30 pm Sunday night, but I finished my collage.  I’m not entirely happy with the colors, but I’ll put it aside for now and look at it again tomorrow. I’m starting to see there is a way to live a full life while not feeling frantic all the time. Let go of the drama and let it unfold.

There is Always Enough Time and a Time for Everything

Making Room for New Growth

Last year's cone flowers

Today my husband and I spent the day clearing out the garden beds, cutting back shrubs, and tidying up the yard. If we wait any longer the new shoots will start tangling up with the dry old stems from last year and the job will become much harder.  As I yanked and clipped away at the old growth, I had some time to think about making room for the new: new ideas, new possibilities. Sometimes clearing out the old beliefs is a necessary step before the new ones can take root.  If you asked me just six months ago what I thought was possible for me and my creative work, I would have a very different and more limited answer. I wonder what I might tell you six months from now?  The most limiting old belief I needed to rip out was, “There is not enough time for all my creative projects.”

Fennel- Old and New

I’m starting to understand that this belief is really an illusion. I have lots of time and need only to make choices about how to spend it. Yes, there are givens like my 30 hours of day job, preparing meals, walking the dog, sleeping, etc. Spending time with my family is important to me, so I choose to do that. But there are still an amazing number of small moments leftover that keep adding up, moments that I didn’t even realize I had, until I believed that I had them.  Sometimes you just need to ask for more time.  When I told my wonderful husband how important my studio work had become to me, he started helping out more around the house, shopping for groceries and making dinner.  When I committed to doing this project, my whole orientation with time shifted. Activities that I used to view as stealing away my art time (like yard work) now become opportunities for inspiration.  I am more appreciative of all the things I need to spend time on. When my time for art arrives, I am ready.

Patio Pots: Before

Patio Pots: After

Once the shrubs are cut back and the pots are emptied, everything looks so bare. The pruned butterfly bushes look so bony and awkward in this stage, just waiting to once again shoot out their arcs of silvery leaves and purple flowers.  The beds are a blank page, just waiting to be filled with color.  After accomplishing so much clean-up, suddenly there is so much more to do!  Filling the pots with annuals, adding more perennials, working in compost, mulching, planting the vegetable garden. (Do I even have time to garden this year, with all the art projects I have going on??) But this is how it always goes. No matter how much you do, there is always more to do.  In fact, the more productive I am, the more I want to do, the wider my possibilities become. As these ideas grow, they threaten to overwhelm me. I have learned that the best thing to do after defining my larger goals is to just focus on the next step in front of me. Change does not happen in the past or the future, but in the continually unfolding present moment.

There is always enough time and a time for everything. I am learning to ease into this new belief. I work hard and I stay committed, but when life pulls me away from my artwork, I am allowing myself to realize that maybe this other thing, whatever it may be, is an important experience. Can I give up control and have the spacious awareness to let life unfold?

There is Always Enough Time and a Time for Everything

Here are some more things I discovered unfolding in my yard today, each in their own time:

The Pear Tree in the front yard, ready to bloom

Camelia under my studio window

The Oregon Grape Holly blooms for the first time!