THIS MONTH’S ADDITION TO THE SPIRITUAL TOOLBOX IS A PROFOUND INSIGHT:
Oil on canvas, 32.5 x 20.5 inches
©2016 Elizabeth Bryan-Jacobs
If you are farther ahead than where you were, you can’t possibly be “behind.”
It’s really simple; “ahead” and “behind” are opposites; although we never think that literally with life swirling all around us.
The past few weeks have been crazy/busy, even living on a farm. No, it wasn’t because of milking cows or herding sheep; it was the continual balance of work, travel, relationships and taking care of self. With all of these “things” to do, I was feeling like I just wasn’t making progress in the studio. I was rushing to get in that hike, meditate, call my mother, and yes, indulge in washing my hair. How did I ever raise three boys? I was feeling like every day off meant I had to “catch up,” and boom, there was this awareness, staring me right in the eyes: catch up to what??
Think about it. We set goals, we move towards them, things come up, life intervenes and we feel like we aren’t making progress. Truthfully, if we are moving forward at all, that in itself is progress (we’ll talk about the benefits of being stuck at some later date). If you slow down long enough to truly compare where you are right now with where you were a year, a month, or even a week ago, not only will you realize you aren’t “behind,” you will likely be amazed at the progress you’ve made. For me, the painting featured here is the result of this awareness. One year ago, I was barely in the studio; now, art making is an integral part of my life – and I have a clear direction.
Here’s a key: keep your goals realistic instead of setting yourself up for failure. When life gets in the way, take the pressure off, and allow that to happen, good, bad or ugly. How’s this for novel: enjoy life getting in the way, whether it’s your kids, a gorgeous day, a romantic evening or losing track of time doing something you love. Later, assess how that really impacted your goals. Instead of being frustrated that you are getting “behind,” adjust the timing of your goals. Not only will you stop feeling “behind,” you will feel great about where you are at. You will have significantly contributed to your overall well-being, which will help you achieve your goals with more mindfulness and joy…now that’s progress!