Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cultivating Change

(click on image for larger view)

I sold another painting through this blog last week (the middle one here), which delighted me, and got me thinking about a much darker time of my life, when I marked a few simple symbols on a pocket-sized calendar and learned some wonderful lessons.

Every evening, I entered a "+" or "-" for the day to indicate whether I'd been feeling generally up or down. I'd been doing this for several months when, after a string of three particularly trying days, I began flipping back through the calendar pages. I was sick of feeling bad and expected to see confirmation of my despair.

Though this this was the first time I'd had three bad days in a row in weeks, I was surprised to note that in the beginning, negative days were the norm and even two positive in a row was exceptional. I could not deny that something was shifting, that though I felt low right now, it was nothing compared to how I had felt weeks before. Instantly, I began to feel better. I have felt better ever since.

The lesson? That it is a powerful thing to step back from the minutia of right here and now, to take in the wider landscape. It is a discipline, with enormous creative potential for cultivating optimism, pride, confidence, and future-vision. In other words: Perspective is a tool. Use it.

In time, I added a second mark to my calendar: On days when I'd felt exceptionally industrious, tackling swaths of items on my long To Do list, making long-avoided phone calls, I added the letter "S" (for Sowing Seeds) to that day's calendar entry. And on days when it seemed that a flurry of things had fallen into my lap: receiving a letter from an old friend, a new job offer, a refund check from the IRS - I marked my calendar with a letter "R" - for Reaping Rewards.

I began to notice an amazing thing: Though the rewards did not necessarily correspond to the seeds I had planted, every "S" was followed almost exactly two weeks later by an "R." I've come to trust this process, to live by the implicit lesson. Plant all your seeds. You reap what you sow.

1 comment:

Janet said...

I love what you wrote under "Cultivating Change". Your work is very worthy; I'm glad you are finding buyers and they, you. I am a painter. I've sold a lot of large works in my career, but only a handful of small pieces. I think it takes a large viewer market like the internet to put such tender little works such as yours in the path of those who are seeking to do more than just decorate a space (a destiny of many large paintings). These people are the "collectors" I am interested in. The tag "collector" is loosely applied to investors and decorators. I think your work is finding an audience which seeks "heart" in the work. That is really wonderful.