Honoring Your Natural Rhythms

I am working with a client who had a very upsetting weekend–nothing bad, she was just MAD. She asked, “How do I maintain focus when I’m so upset?” It’s hard to make art or work on marketing your art when you don’t feel like it.

Well . . .

I am certainly no expert in such psychological or motivational issues, but here’s what I’ve found: Give into your natural response. Don’t try to do anything you can’t handle at that moment. It will, inevitably, be self-defeating. You’ll create bad work–whatever it is–and still have to deal with the situation.

When I find I’m not focusing well, I do something else. Otherwise, I’m spinning my wheels.

Miki_deskCase in point: Miki, my Siamese cat, turned 19 years old two weeks ago. She’s not doing great (arthritis, kidney disease, etc.), but she isn’t too bad, either. I finally made the decision to take her to the vet today and have (what they call) a “geriatric” (!) exam. I have been worried about her for two weeks. I’ve been crying, reminiscing, and preparing myself for her eventual death. Yesterday and today were just too much. I found myself not wanting to work and I certainly couldn’t do much that required a lot of thought. My mind kept wandering back to my upcoming appointment with the vet: what if . . .  what if. . . .

Instead of wasting all of my time, I decided to turn on some music on my computer (happy music! Louis Armstrong stuff!) and do some of my more tedious tasks that didn’t take too much brain power. I got that stuff done and out of the way. I honored my need to take care of personal issues while still getting some work done.

Don’t fight it.

Oh, yes, and by the way . . . the vet thinks Miki is looking pretty darned good. Amazingly, she weighs less than half of what she was at her heaviest.

Image: Miki on my desk.

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6 comments to Honoring Your Natural Rhythms

  • Quote: Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. Author: Robertson Davies 1913-, Canadian Novelist, Journalist

  • I often fall prey to “spinning” and always do better when I let go of what I’m working on and do something else–even when I’m working under a deadline. I get better results when I take a break and come back to the project with a fresh mind. I’m glad Miki is doing alright. I know how hard it is to focus when a beloved pet is sick.

  • You are so right about honoring your natural rhythms. When I try to work in an area that just doesn’t feel right, I only create ugly art. My problem is scheduling my time because it’s hard to know where those rhythms will take me.

  • I’ve spent my week home from work and sick. And doing pretty much nothing. Now I don’t feel guilty about it anymore – thanks.

  • Natural rhythms I think of as varying degrees of stress. Our lives are filled with varying degrees of stress. Not all stress is bad. I have found that looking at a problem and thinking to myself: Will it make a difference a hundred years from now lowers my stress.Then there are those points in time when the stress gets very high. If I don’t deal with it, it just grows and grows and can overwelm my. So over the years I have learned that if I face it head on it turns out that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Not to say it becomes easy because it doesn’t. So if the stress is getting high I jump on it and sometimes all I need to do is step back. I can do something injoyable like paint something fun. Or sometimes I rest my mind and other times you just have to put your head down and dig into the problem.

  • I juggle art with my other professional career of being a counselor in private practice, yoga instructor and teach psychology at the local college. Right now it feels overwhelming but I have a plan. After May I am totally focusing on art and giving up my other teaching responsiblilities. It felt a little scary depending upon art as my solo income. But art is the joy of my life. I have abundant ideas that need to be born. We have a marketing support group which is wonderful and I have a business plan. Thanks for the great advice. Forget fear is the key for me.