Sunday, November 11, 2012
I've just poured my third cup of coffee and settled back against the microwave heated pillow. It's one of those herbal scented, buckwheat-stuffed things I got as a gift several years ago from a good friend. Little did I know how valuable a gift it would turn out to be. It's lost most of its scent and looks a little worn, but leaning on it relieves the pain and also forces me to sit straight, therefore avoiding the hunching that put me in this shape to begin with.
Silly artists! I'm here because I stopped swimming and started sculpting sitting crossed legged on the sofa in front of the television. Months of this back-straining position combined with an over enthusiastic game of Frisbee and voila! an injured muscle that leaves me slightly skewed, so that I seem to lead with one shoulder as I enter the room like a drama queen from some forties flick.
I'm fixing this as I type, sitting with excellent posture in a chair that allows for such. I'm thinking of the little repetitive things we do that trip us up. Sometimes the stumbling is moderate - like my being incapacitated for days. Sometimes it's the big trip - like getting lung cancer after all those little cigarette breaks. But more often it's accumulated time and quality lost in by repeating damaging or, at the very least, inefficient behaviors.
Life is full of those.
Here's another one: I have a herd of cats. That's as inefficient as it gets, but I love this herd and they bring a whole level of warmth and entertainment to this house. I recently relocated their feeding area to the back of the house, near the garage studio. All this time I've fed them in the kitchen - why? Because their food arrived in the grocery bags with ours and it seemed convenient to feed them in the kitchen. But it's not. Given that we have white tile floors, every speck of food shows and it's time consuming to keep it spic and span enough for a kitchen where we humans eat.
But in the back, near the concrete-floored studio, out of sight of where we take our meals, once a week is good enough. A big tub of dry food with a scoop, a stack of cans, a trash bin for the empties and the studio sink for water and clean up.
Yes, this is a small thing and boring. Stay with me.
All of us creatives complain that we can't get to the 'real' work because 'we don't have enough time.' If time is so valuable, why do we waste it on these little things? My challenge to you is to go through this week paying attention to the little repetitive time-wasters in your routine. Pick one and fix it. The broken drawer on your desk, the scissors or keys or reading glasses you're always looking for. The object you have to walk around that could be moved with a little room rearranging.
Fix something that nibbles at your time. It might lead to fixing something else. You might eventually find yourself with a little extra time to do something that makes you happy, or to sort out something else that trips you up.
Have a good Sunday, fellow traveler.