we should let go of 'shoulds'

I am very passionate about the things I want to do with the time that I have. Yet at the same time I find myself caught up with the old habits of collecting junk and procrastinating. I think even my preoccupation with trying to organize my house and trying to get myself to complete tasks before they are overdue… is a way of distracting myself from the ‘real’ things that need to get done.

I’ll fiddle all day with something mundane, and then suddenly, at the time when everyone else would be sitting down to read or watch TV… I’m scurrying around, in a fit of doing. I don’t know why I think there has to be a time table anyway. Who cares if you clean your bedroom at 10 am or 10 pm? What’s the diff? See how I get myself tangled in the shoulds? I should clean my bedroom when it’s light out, apparently. When it’s dark out, I’m supposed be done with that stuff. But that’s just nuts. I mean, you don’t want to be vacuuming at 10 pm in case it disturbs the neighbours, but who cares if you are sorting clothes or going through a box of junk at midnight instead of during the day when it ‘should’ be done?

I don’t know where I integrated these arbitrary and perplexing ‘rules’ from, but I think it’s time I threw them out with the rest of the junk. If I want to spend the afternoon writing a piece of music (which is what I did today), what’s wrong with that? I did the dishes while dinner was cooking, and cleaned up the bedroom and organized myself for the week after dinner. Now I’m writing my blog, and then I’ll go to bed. It got done, then. Didn’t it?

Funny little rules. I became aware a little while ago that I still seem to have a set way I think things should be, or how they should be done. Years ago I was very judgmental and controlling, and I thought I’d moved away from all that. But every so often, when I look at my response to something, I start to wonder why it matters if it’s this or if it’s that. Or why it matters at all, really.

As creative people, it is hard to be detached from the performance or product of our work, that’s for sure. I try to listen to different genres of music and see movies or TV shows that I wouldn’t normally watch. I try to open my mind and explore the possibility that another point of view is just as valid as mine (and vice versa). Creativity requires letting go of expectation and product, and going with the flow to see where it takes you. Perhaps it also means sometimes eating breakfast for dinner, doing morning routines at night, having powernaps, and exploring new mediums.

I went to a meeting of my painter's group recently where my sister showed us how to use pastels. I drew trees in green and brown on textured paper and reminded myself how much I enjoy the act of creating visual art – no matter what it looks like in the end. I found myself inspired by the simple act of trying something new.

"To find out who you really are, go somewhere you've never been, with people you've never met and do things you've never done. You'll discover things about yourself you never knew existed." - Brian Austin Whitney, Just Plain Folks


karmacoy said...

I so totally do that too... get all caught up in something mundane for hours and hours and then scramble to get "things done".

I agree with you about letting go of the "shoulds" of when things get done.

I had a little chuckle this morning though, when I was hanging out the laundry on the line. MOrning laundry hanging and listening to the birds is one of my favourite peaceful times of day. I laughed at the thought of myself standing out there at midnight listening to the whip-poor-will, clothespins in my teeth, wet socks in my hands ;-)

Vikki said...

"standing out there at midnight listening to the whip-poor-will, clothespins in my teeth, wet socks in my hands"

I love this image.