Lauren McLean Iuppa Ayer

Poet | Artist | Optimist

Tag: #365

Time is a River

#DareToExcel Challenge – 7:

Commit to viewing time differently from this day forward. Here are two invitations:

#1 – Draw a new relationship to time: The first one is an exercise that engages your faculties beyond the analytical-rational mind to help you rise above the “good enough” plateau and to dare to excel:

Draw a symbol or describe symbolically your existing relationship to time. What does Time look like? Move like? Feel like in terms of weight or texture? How do you two relate? Then do the same for your desired relationship to time that would let you excel? What does that Time look like? Move like? Feel like?

Share a pic of what you create with us and online.

#2 – Get outside of yourself: What one thing could you do to shift your relationship to time? How could you get outside of your office, outside of your habitual work flow, and do something so seemingly unproductive as to take a walk in the park, bicycle down the road, or watch the sunset for 10 minutes? Okay – don’t just write about it. Do it! Dare you!

  1. Time is a river, and I have never been much of a swimmer. Still, I always seem to draft into the fast, deep water where I flail and flounder and gasp for breath as I try, often unsuccessfully, to stay afloat as I swim against the current toward my desired destination. It moves too fast, runs too deep, pulls me under, weighted as I am with too many and too much… And yet, near the shore it is slower, shallower, shaded by broad-leafed trees. On the bank, near the gently swirling pool, there is a fallen log where I could rest, and a patch of dry sand where I could put down what I carry, sort through the unwieldy mass of projects, goals, desires I have collected and cull what I no longer need. And there, down the river a bit, is a collection of driftwood, and beyond, a few steps into the trees are vines I could use to lash them together, to create a raft, a rudder, two oars. Perhaps this bag I’ve been using to hold all the once-treasures, once-obsessions, once-necessary evils, can be used instead for shade now that the things I carry can fit easily in the two cargo pockets of my long, plaid shorts.
  2. The #365 photo project I started in January requires that every day I get up off my chair and walk out into the world. To notice the play of light and shadow on my casita’s clay walls. To let my eyes stray to the shapes of clouds, the drop of petals from a sun-baked flower. To search in ever-widening circles for beauty in all its forms. Some days I search for an hour or more. Some days I simply look out my door. But I do it. Every day. I pause for a moment and smell the flowers or petrichor.

 

Late Snow

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here–so long, in fact that I had to go back and re-read my last post to try and figure out where I was when I was last here. Excited. Optimistic. Full of energy.

It seems a lifetime ago. In some ways it is. Sometimes life happens. Sometimes we get derailed. Sometimes we need to stop everything until we find our footing again. Sometimes that takes longer than we think it should, but it takes as long as it takes, and it does no good to try and muscle through.

What does do good:

  • Paring down to the barest essentials
  • Focusing on just what’s in front of us
  • Writing it out

For the last near-month, I have cut all but the barest essentials–work, food, simplifying my small space. I have continued to keep up with my #365 photo project and on April 1, I started writing a poem a day for National Poetry Month, prodded by amazing poet MJ Iuppa. And I have kept those up, too. What I haven’t kept up are my blogs, but here I am, at least for the moment, and hoping that this post will create some momentum to get back in the groove.

Some days we we are surrounded by the glorious colors and scents of apple blossoms and lilacs. Some days we get sub-freezing temperatures and snow. We just have to have faith when the sun comes out again, that the trees are resilient enough to still bear fruit come summer.

Apple Blossoms, April 18, 2015

Apple Blossoms, April 18, 2015

 

Growth

Welcome to week five of continuing to #livethequest. Yesterday’s prompt is a checkpoint for the progress we made during the first month of 2015.

What indicators of growth can you celebrate? #growth
Look back on your first month. What small indicators can you identify that you have changed something positively in Month 1 or that you are moving in the direction you need? For instance, are you acting differently? Are you thinking differently? Are you speaking about yourself as a business artist and your best work differently?

If Jeffrey had asked this question one day earlier I’m not sure I would have known how to answer it, but something shifted for me between the first and second days of February, shedding light on progress made but unseen. Which is only fitting, because February 2, a celebration called Imbolc by the Celts (also known as St. Brigid’s Day and Candlemas) marks the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and with it, the return of the light to the world.

And that’s how it felt. Like a veil was lifted and what had been clouded was now clear. Or at least clearer. Clear enough to see where progress has been made.

  • A clearer space and mind–After a month of struggling with clutter I am finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, in my space, in my daily life, and in projects I have been struggling with–like my #oneproject which finally has a theme, a Quest vision quilt.
  • Routines that support more than just getting my dishes washed and laundry done–I have begun to integrate small habits that support my larger priorities into my daily routines, things like turning off my computer at 9:30pm so I can get to sleep earlier, and reading poetry every morning to help inspire my own words.
  • Commitments to daily making–On January 18th I started my second 365 project (my first was in 2010/11) and on January 26th I joined a small circle of friends posting one sentence  a day from something we’ve written that same day.
  • New unfurling seeds of bravery–Perhaps it is all my recent exposure to posts and stories and books urging us not to wait until a project is perfect before we deliver, but yesterday morning I thought to myself, “why wait until I have a solid plan for starting my online art and literary journal? Why not just put out a call for submissions and a short guidelines page and see what happens?” I still need to do a little more research, but once I get answers to a couple of important questions, I’m going to get it done. Let’s say, by February 23rd.

Making commitments to something scary on the fly in front of the world? It’s either really stupid or really brave. But either way, for the girl who took six years to start a blog she’d been dreaming of even longer, that’s growth.

Shift

Something has been shifting out here in the snowy southwest, and it all started with a picture. This picture, actually…

Dreaming

 

… a young girl asleep in the back seat of the family car with her best friend Smokey Bear, dreaming the beauty of a world to come. The first photo in a series that will grow to at least 365 images deep. Perhaps more.

But actually it started with this post from fellow Quester Marisa Goudy: How a 365 Photo Project Makes You a Better Writer.

I’d done a 365 project before, starting Koru365 in December 2010, when my dissatisfaction with working in corporate tech was reaching its crescendo. At that time I had already begun to plan my escape, but needed something to both inspire and anchor me during the transition. And it did. So I  already knew that a 365 project could change a life. And since I had been longing for a little positive change again lately, when I read her second article, The 365 Project as a Creative Process, on my friend Saundra Goldman’s wonderful site, Creative Mix, I knew it was time to give a new 365 project a go–posting a daily photo from my life and work to my Facebook page.

Only 13 days in I am already feeling a shift. So far my photos have revealed dreams, distractions, the artistic lines of words on paper, major blocks to creativity, the beauty of what’s outside my windows, and more. The process has returned my attention to the world I inhabit and what truly matters, as I consider what I want this chronicle to reveal about my life this time next year.

And it has done something else. As promised, it has gotten me writing consistently again–a feat supported by a second very simple 365 project I’m doing with two friends, in which we share one sentence we’ve written that day with each other. Knowing that they are waiting, that they are also writing, makes me want to share something beautiful with them. And so every morning for the last five days, I have written either a poem (sometimes more than one) and/or a page or two in a novel that I started but didn’t finish this past November.

One sentence, one photo doesn’t seem like much, and maybe that’s why it works. Because it is so simple, almost stupidly simple, to complete, we complete it. And sometimes we do more. Sometimes a lot more. But even if we don’t, over time, these small bricks, stacked one on top of the other, combine to build something extraordinary–a castle, a bridge, a cathedral. A body of work. A life.

What will your bricks build this year?