Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Small Things, With Great Love

Cherry Tree on a Spring Day Pin
Wool and Acrylic Felt, Thread, Pin Backing, about 2" tall

Tell me, how do you achieve great things?

Conquering obstacles? Raising wonderful people? Writing a book? Getting an education? Making a career? Reaching your dream? Changing the world? Becoming yourself?






And little steps at that. Baby steps.

It really does seem sometimes that your efforts don't mount to a hill of beans. But do you know, if you keep adding beans, that bean hill really can become a mountain of your own making.

Me, I'm trying to find a way to make a life of art and creativity, helping people to become creative and empowered, to become who they are meant to be. I'm trying to earn a living making things and helping people make things.

But right now, I'm waiting tables after the kids have dinner and go to bed.

It's a thing to do. It would be very easy for me to get discouraged. Wonder why I have to work at a job that doesn't get me to my dreams so that I can get by. It would be easy to think that the savings I'm earning at this job are growing too slowly and I am wasting my time. Or that the little things I can do every day, working towards my dream won't get me there. Bean by bean. All I see are the individual beans, and they don't seem like much.


And this is a big but, and perhaps the answer to how it all can get done...

But... all those little things I am doing, seemingly almost nothing, are actually beginning to add up to, well, something.

I don't know what, exactly, but something. Maybe not as much as I wanted, but something.

This is a sketch I did on register tape, with crayons meant for kids menus. I did it at work, before the customers came in for dinner. I covered it with scotch tape so it wouldn't rub off. Really, I just wanted to capture my sense of the cherry tree across the plaza.

Does it look familiar?

My little nothing sketch in my little nothing time ended up being the inspiration for the pin at the top of the post.

The pin is one of a new collection I am working on. Dozens of pins that I will be putting in my little etsy shop when I can manage to pull all the beans of time into a double handful.

So here, at my job that feels like it's not getting me anywhere I want to go, I am getting somewhere.

And not only that, I think a job like this, where I don't have to be goal oriented all the time, where I have to give up control (I can't MAKE customers walk through the door) I think I am finding some moments of epiphany.

For instance, it is better to let go of your expectations and just be there for the moment. Enjoy it. When I stand there and grouse because I'm tired and there are no customers and thus no money, I feel bad, I get depressed, my back hurts, I snap at people. I fight with loved ones, etc. However, when I take out my little mini pocket notebook (another soon to be product in my etsy shop, inspired by waiting tables) draw sketches, take notes of my dreams, look out the window at the sun shining through the clouds, sing, walk around, stretch, talk to my coworkers, etc, well, the day is better, I don't ache from standing, I get to know people, I discover things about the world, I am inspired, I have ideas to take action on when I get out of work, I have energy to move, I have hope, I think of more options, and I'm nicer to my customers when they finally do come in and thus my tips are better, so I am actually making more money doing the same job.

It is remarkable how living zen and being positive can have such an immediate and intense effect on your own life.

I've been struggling with the zen mindset, really unable to get into it. And here, my little restaurant job helps me be one with the universe.

Talk about unexpected.

And none of it happens because I am trying to take over the world. I set my goals, have them in my sights, and then just live my daily life, baby step by baby step. For what it is, not for what I think it should be.

I'm afraid I'm throwing too many different thoughts into this post. Or maybe they all go together and are connected. I'm pretty sure there's more to it. Or maybe not. Baby steps and living in the moment.

It might be one of those everything and nothing statements. And that might be how the world is made.

Well, it's at least made happier that way.


Cori Lynn Berg said...

Have you ever read the book "Bird by Bird"? You'd really like its message!

Jackie said...

I know this feeling. It helps to hear that message from you:) It felt like I needed to hear you nothing and everything message .Thank you !

Jackie said...

I went and checked out "Bird by Bird". I downloaded it and am going to read. Let me know if you decide to read it too.

Rowena said...

I have read Bird by Bird. Great book. Very inspiring. Also love Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions, about her son's first year of life.

Michelle | When I Grow Up Coach said...

Baby steps are entirely overrated, as are "day jobs" (or "night jobs"!) that bring you closer to your dream. Isn't it all less terrible when you have The Goal in your sights, even knowing it might take a while to get there?

Reading all of your amazingly wonderful lessons you've learned from waiting tables is really inspiring, Rowena. A fantastic perspective that should be spread throughout the land.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your journey & seeing the amazing products that come with it!

Eugenia said...

"The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." This is a Chinese proverb but I know that in life if you don't start, you'll never finish.

I admire you for recognizing that God has you where you are for a reason. I'm going to challenge myself to 100 days of art. I'll keep you posted as to my progress.

Keep up the great work! I love your artwork!

Dana Barbieri said...

I just read this via Scoutie Girl and wanted to say thank you! It has really encouraged me!!

Blogger said...

Did you know you can shorten your links with AdFly and earn $$$$$ from every visitor to your shortened links.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...