Friday, March 6, 2015

Do the Work Anyway

There's nothing harder than muscling through work that you just don't feel like doing. When you get home, and the domestic responsibilities scream out your name, like laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc, there's no left-over energy to devote to your creative commitments.

At least that's how it was for me this week. After returning home from my vacation in Las Vegas, where I proudly produced work despite of my busy schedule there, I found it really hard to get back into my routine. I was still pulling clothes from the suitcase that I had yet to unpack, and last night was finally a time when I could get sorted and do my housechores. Painting was the farthest from my mind.

And then I turned on the Seanwes Podcast, and listened to episode 154, called 'Perseverance and Sticking with Commitments'. As I was folding laundry, what he said reminded me of how important it is to just do the work, regardless of what excuses I'd laid out in front of me (literally, and figuratively). 

So I put my clothes away, and pulled out my paints. It was 9:30 at this point, usually when I start get ting ready for bed, but that didn't matter anymore. I had to follow through with what I set out to do. I was a day late at this point (I wanted to post every Monday and Thursday), so I was ready to throw in the towel. Do people even look at what I do? Will they even know the difference? Does it even matter?

The answer, of course, is YES. It does matter! It matters to be consistent and to show up with quality work, as much as possible. If I feel like doing two paintings a week is overkill, that I really don't have enough time or energy, that's fair. I can scale back. But I truly believe that I can do it. It's just a matter of making it a priority. 

So I started painting, and here it is:

Painting #5: Rainbow Sprinkles (4x4 inches, watercolor)

Original Instagram Photo:

I probably picked an image that was way too hard for me, especially when it was so late in the day, and I was frustrated already, but maybe it wasn't by accident. Maybe it represented something greater. Maybe it meant muscling through even the toughest challenges, when I could have easily selected something easier.

It's about putting ourselves out there, despite the complexity of what we're doing. It's not going to be easy. There will be times when it lets up, but it's going to take a lot of time and practice to get to a point when it is easy. I look back on the days when I was training my late horse Tucker, and it was  so easy to get frustrated. Neither of us really knew what we were doing. He was young and learning things for the first time, and I was learning how to cope with that. I wanted to give up so many times with him. I had no more to give, but I kept showing up anyway. I knew I had no other choice. So, we muscled our way through the tough parts, and slowly we began to understand each other. When we finally 'clicked', there was nothing we couldn't do. I no longer needed anyone else's help with him. What we had was so powerful, that we accomplished things I never dreamed of. 

Looking back on those moments will help me overcome the struggles I face today. And I don't even have a 1000 pound animal to work against. This is all me. My energy, my impostor, my insecurities, and my stubbornness. I can't improve if I don't continuously show up, despite the circumstances I'm facing. 

Sweat it out. Cry it out. Punch it out. It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it. Do the work, anyway.

Oh, and remember, you're painting. Or riding a horse. It's not that bad...