Orchids for effort

Instead of reading [another] self-help book [written by someone other than myself], I decided to literally help myself with this blog.  There are times when posts are very literally self-help sessions, and if anyone other than I reads those posts, they may get nothing from them.  Effort is a good thing is one of those posts.  It being my most recent, I’m having to sit with the uncomfortable feeling of having written something that may not resonate with anyone else.  Can you tell that I am (sort of) resisting the urge to apologize (saying that is kind of an apology…oh well.)?

I know that, in order to enjoy my life to the fullest extent, I need to be uncomfortable sometimes.  There are many situations in which this is required:  handling the difficult things in life that just HAPPEN, defending oneself or someone else when unfair treatment is occurring, adjusting to changes, etc.  This is where I’ve gotten stuck; I’ve been involved with coping with life issues like the aforementioned instead of thriving.

Coping is positive and necessary, but it is not as satisfying as thriving.  Thriving takes extra effort.

The photo in Effort is a good thing is of a painting I completed last week.  It is a wedding gift for a family member, painted from a photo that the couple had taken on their honeymoon.  Since I have almost no artistic training, I was very intimidated by having comitted myself to painting “any type of photo”- especially when I saw the chosen photo.

I’m not exactly sure I can say that “I completed” the painting, because when it was finished, I wasn’t quite sure how it had happened.  I was physically there.  I recall mixing colors, painting strokes.  I also recall mumbling, fumbling, and bumbling mentally.  For a perfectionist, the process of creativity requires an [or a series of] out-of-brain experience.  It’s absolutely terrifying, but so, so SO satisfying when the result is not a complete mess.

What about the times when it is a mess?  It’s tough, but can be endured.  It’s a time to remind oneself that there can be no non-messes without attempts.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but it’s true.  I was literally putting the last stroke of paint on the sunset picture when I saw an unanticipated (and large!) UPS delivery coming up to our door.  *ding dong* this is probably a mistake, *door opening* no, that is my name on this package.  what the heck is this?  *cutting cardboard* it’s a gorgeous orchid plant!  *slitting plastic* it’s from Kerry (my friend)!

Receiving the plant felt like a reward from the universe for having the courage to paint in spite of my perfectionism.  It was magical.  One of my goals is to paint prolifically.  It’s hard to write that, but it’s true.  I have been a tentative and sporadic painter.  Effort is what will help me bloom much more frequently than I have. 

Effort is a good thing.  Perhaps this is the mantra.


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