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Go To Your Room

August 9, 2010

Working on Sunflowers in My Room

There is an inherent force held  within these words.  To a child it can be particularly threatening, to an adult it most often is but a fleeting memory that still holds some trepidation.

When I was a child I actually enjoyed being sent to my room.  I sometimes wonder if I maybe did a few ‘naughty bits’  just to encourage that outcome.    My family was moderately large, living in a rather small house and not one of us escaped sharing a room.  However, when you were sent to your room, you were sent alone.  It was therefore a quiet, peaceful place, filled with every treasure a child could collect and admire.  It was the one chance for a child to slow down, ponder, imagine, create.   Who wouldn’t want to go to their room?

I just finished a book titled the War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Wow, what a find that was for myself and my family.  The premise of the book is that there is a war, within each and every person,  that is responsible for holding us back from following our dreams and developing fully as a human being.  Actually, Steven points out several conflicts responsible for our demise but the one I am particularly interested in is that of merely ‘showing up’…or not.

Shortly before reading the War of Art I read the Outliers – The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell where he pointed out the infamous 10,000 hour rule which in its most basic form would have us believe that anyone, yes anyone, can become darn good at something…anything…if they are willing to  put in their 10,000 hours of effort  towards their goal.  After reading this book I was convinced, that as an artist, I needed to get busy building on those 10,000 hours.

When I first started painting Fridays were my days.  Those were the only days  I thought I had to do my work or ‘go to my room’.  I slowly began to realize that this was not enough.  If I were to get any better I would have to make more of a commitment to the process.  The funny thing was the more I went to my room, the more drawn I became to it.  It became the space where ideas flowed, where I could expose myself without criticism and reveal myself to myself (I also paint there, ha).  Now, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t work in that marvelous space.  I started out painting in my kitchen and now have a beautiful studio space to work in.  I have learned however, that the space does not make the artist, the effort does.

This is true for every passion in life whether it is a mediation practise, a yoga practise, cooking, playing an instrument, writing…  we need to spend undisturbed, quality time with ourselves, in our element, to find out more about ourselves and what we can become.

It sounds as though I am giving everyone homework.  While I am.

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