Lauren McLean Iuppa Ayer

Poet | Artist | Optimist

Stop

Yesterday’s Quest2015 prompt from visionary Charlie Gilkey, asks us to think, not about what we want to take on next, but about what we need to stop.

“Pursue knowledge, daily gain. Pursue Tao (wisdom), daily loss.” – Tao Te Ching*

We often think too much about adding new things, when the source of a lot of our growth is eliminating old things.

What do you need to STOP doing in 2015?

And what do you need to do to make that STOPPING more than an intention?

Attribution: Derek Lin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching

Interestingly, it was the stress of being too busy to answer this question yesterday when it first posted, that led me to wake up with the answers:

In 2013, with the intention of jump-starting my quilting career, I did three crazy things: I signed up to do a solo quilt show and started two holiday craft fairs, one in my community and one online. All three happened in November. Because I had no real idea what I was getting into, I figured I had all kinds of time, and wound up nearly killing myself in October and November trying to get everything done. At the end of that month, I swore that next year (this year) I would do things differently. I would start earlier so I wouldn’t be sewing at the 11th hour. I would clear my schedule starting in September so I could focus more fully on getting everything done without stress. But alas, not only did I procrastinate the making, I added a ton more to my plate (National Novel Writing Month, daily blogging at the Apocalypse Garden, increased hours at work, and not one, not two, but three quilt commissions). Suffice it to say, it hasn’t gone so well. 

So what do I need to ‪#‎stop‬?

  • I need to stop procrastinating, thinking I’ll have more time later (NTS: I won’t)
  • I need to stop putting my art last and do a better job of integrating it into my daily life, both to minimize stress and to enable myself to take better advantage of opportunities
  • I need to stop wasting my time on low-return projects–financial, emotional, creative, and/or spiritual
  • I need to stop saying yes to every commission–only a select few are worth the work and stress
  • I need to stop taking on every fun project that piques my interest, especially at this time of year
  • I need to stop refusing to invest in my art and business–business cards, a $20 webinar on the slow stitching movement, a website plug-in that will allow people to contact me via form not email, none of these cost that much and could make a big difference in my ability to transform this hobby into something more

And how will I make that stopping more than an intention? By committing to taking a close look at everything on my plate within the next 30 days and really discerning what matters most (including empty space for myself) and what needs to be cut (both projects and physical stuff). Quilt making stays. Poetry stays. That November novel, the daily blogging, the five websites, commission work, the two craft fairs and annual solo show… we shall see.

 

4 Comments

  1. I love the concept of cutting out things. It reminds me of the post you shared on facebook the other day about saying no to alternatives in order to stay focused and complete a single task.

    It’s making me reassess how I approach my goals/resolutions for 2015. I tend to create a huge list of goals with a few main goals, because I want to do ALL THE THINGS. But that’s not realistic. It would be better to focus on completing a single specific project before moving on to another. I’ll have to think about that a bit.

    • layer

      December 13, 2014 at 12:56 am

      Yes, all the things are very tempting. Culling may be difficult, but in the long run, I think it will be a very good thing in a whole lot of ways.

  2. I cannot tell if this is a bright shiny thing or what, but “Slow-stitching webinar” makes my heart leap. I teach about slow. I stitch. And I love the way you write. Can I play with you?
    xo Your Questmate,

    Suzi

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