While working in my Gratitude Journal, I am also working through my upcoming Joy Journal assignment, so you only get to see glimpses. My goal with the Joy Journal Project was to be quite ahead of the game in planning and photographing the assignments. I haven’t fallen behind, but I certainly haven’t come near meeting my goal. I am hopeful this month though. My energy level rises each day, and so does my ability to move beyond daily tasks to ART.
Day 1 of my Gratitude Journal
Journaled: It has been so long since I’ve wanted to be here, sitting at my art desk, doing something, anything. I am feeling raw and new like I’ve never been here before. I am grateful to be here, starting anew. Like a child, I want to re-enter uninhibited. I realize to do this, I must admit to myself everything that I don’t know how to do, that I am really just beginning. Well, here I am. Present. Ready.
I did not actually work in my gratitude journal today. Instead my son and I went on a nature walk in which he found this little guy:
And I worked on the Joy Journal Project.
Day 2 in my Joy Journal
But I do want to address the topic of the day at An Attitude of Gratitude which touches on being mindful and present in the moment. In my sequestered time, I had to be disciplined so as not to fall into bad habits of laziness such as playing solitaire all day (which I sometimes did anyway). In my quiet moments of which there were many, I began to observe the birds at the feeder, watching their movements, their behaviors and interactions. In these moments, I felt more present and connected with life than any time spent on facebook “connecting” with my friends. I felt privileged to glimpse such a display of beauty and grace. I even have a slight desire to wash my windows just to see them more clearly (this, my friends, is a miracle). The trick for me now as I regain my energy is to keep this awe of the tiny daily things happening around me. I want to be aware of the spiders as they build their webs. I want to recognize the squirrels as they dance across the fence. I want to notice the joy and flicker in my son’s eyes as he tells another cheesy joke. Really, I want to maintain my ability to see.
So if I really want these things, I have to look at what pulls me away from them. It takes me but a second to recognize that every time I sit at my computer, my attention is no longer “present.” It has been sucked into cyberspace. And my phone also gives me the same issue. The trick for me is to use my computer and phone as tools and not as a replacement for connection to life, and not to get sucked in. This may be quite cliché, but if I knew it was my last day on earth, would I spend it clicking around on the internet, running down rabbit holes, checking status updates and new posts?
I’m currently reading the incredible book, Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard. He brings such sharp focus to what we need to succeed in our good intentions (which would include my desire to not get sucked into cyberspace). The acronym VIM is just that: vision, intent and means. Without all 3 of these components, we human beings are not likely to succeed in fulfilling our goals. So if my goal is to stay present to appreciate life, what is my VIM?
Vision: Abundant joy and purpose in the daily is what I feel when I am present and what I envision if I were to stay present.
Intent: I have decided that I would much prefer living a life being present. I want to live this way. I am choosing this direction.
Means: I don’t want to always operate on will-power, battling myself to do what I’ve decided is the right thing. Instead with my decision to live life being present in the space I inhabit, I am going to begin by discovering and identifying what is preventing me from doing this, and continually working towards my goal.
This may be my first year of Art Every Day Month that I am not working to get a daily post of my art done. For the days I miss, assume I’m watching the birds or having an amazing conversation with my family. First things first.