I haven't blogged for the last week because I'm going through a phase I call "getting my life back." I do this every once in a while. In this case, the combination of my mom's death and a nearly two-month illness threw everything for a loop. For one thing, I lost a lot of my personal discipline. I started a lot of comfort eating after Mom's death, and I'm now trying to break those habits. And when I was coughing so much, I couldn't exercise, so I'm trying to get that discipline back too.
Second, the combination of two freelance jobs and a weekly art class hasn't left me with much time or energy for my personal practice of art and writing. I miss it. I desperately miss drawing in color (Richard still has me using charcoal), and I am starting to deeply miss writing fiction. So I am trying to carve space in my life to do those things again.
Last, I am going through some deep internal reevaluation, and it may end up leading me to unknown parts. For my whole life, I've battled a nearly constant presence of simmering, low-level discontent. Mostly it has to do with not being free to spend as much time on my personal creativity as I'd like. I've recently had some new insights that the discontent may have more to do with the way I define my life than with my actual circumstances. Perhaps I have more power over the situation than I've let myself realize because I'm still viewing my life through the interpretive lens I developed when I was about ten years old (or even younger). At any rate, I'm trying to sort that out. For whatever reason, this blog has not felt like the place to discuss that exploration in detail . . . at least not yet.
A week ago, as I sat in my allergist's office waiting for him to see me, I was glancing through a woman's magazine and came across an excerpt from a book called The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
Basically, it is the record of one woman's year-long project to make herself happier by achieving concrete measurable goals. She chose habits to acquire by concentrating on things that make her feel more positive, not things that were "right." For example, she feels more upbeat when her bathroom is clean, so she spent a month acquiring the habit to clean her bathroom. Her theory is that if she is happier, she's nicer to the people around her and more energetic and more productive and more creative . . . well, you get the idea.
I don't think I've ever mentioned this here, but I am a total sucker for self-improvement lists and charts where you check off that you've worked on acquiring a habit each day. They often turn into legalistic traps for me, so I have to be careful. What I like about this project is that it isn't about external standards. It's about habits that improve the way I feel about myself. In other words, the actions are pretty much the same, but the motive is different, less judgmental.
So I've started using this concept to reacquire the various disciplines I described earlier. I'm also trying to use it to make time for my personal creativity--not every day, but at least once a week. Then, after a few weeks of success at that, I'll try to do it more.
So that's what's going on in my little world.
P.S. Fiwa thought my link above was to the article, not the book. So for those who are interested, here is a link to the online article.