Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Time to rethink doing nothing

While I was in Costa Rica I had a chance to clear my brain and write more about my philosophy of pottery and life. It is difficult for me to think clearly in my home environment. So, I was looking over my blog and the doing nothing chapter of my book caught my eye again. Here is an exert that made me think.

Zen, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf and Satchel Paige keep me in good company. A writer named Jill Badonsky thinks in a similar way and had these significant quotes on her site:

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.” — Zen Proverb quotes

“It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” — Gertrude Stein

“Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth comes to the top.” — Virginia Woolf

“By slowing down, taking a break, releasing the process, and diverting our attention, we fill our souls, body and mind with the nutrients for the next step in the creative cycle. Ideas, inspiration, and motivation fulfill the creative cycle’s promise of the return to spring. Aha-phrodite shows up again, you resume your Marge efforts and continue from a place of plentiful readiness. We don’t need to fill every space of silence with stimuli. Silence and stillness can be quite medicinal” —Lull, Jill Badonsky’s Modern Day Muse of Pause, Diversion and Gratitude.

“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” — Satchel Paige

So if it feels so good to do nothing how come we don’t feel good and productive when we do nothing? It is a cultural thing and sometimes we need to get over it.

There have been a lot of changes and interruptions in life in the last few weeks. I am still dealing with trying to not work so hard and remaining so ambitious. I still think I need to make everything for everybody. And, I still think I need to lighten up at the same time. Maybe it is possible to do both but it is so difficult. And, sometimes I just spin like a colorful top on a newly waxed floor going everywhere and going nowhere.

I interviewed for an art teaching job and was very excited about teaching at an alternative wonderful school half way in the country. I loved the environment and would most likely have taken the job if they had offered it to me. I think it was close and I was not offered the job. They gave it to a wonderful friend and student of mine and she will do a great job. She had more elementary experience than I did. Too bad we could not do the job together. But without taking the job or being offered the job, I still have freedom and I remain a potter/sculpture and that is not bad. If I had that job or another teaching job I would have one more reason for not trying to succeed in my own work. Life has been a willing sacrifice, raising my wonderful kids and raising a needy community. Now, my responsibilities should be less and I should be able to think, grow and produce more. Quality. That is what I want.

To get quality, we have to focus and I think I need a bit of quiet before the artistic storm. My life is usually not very quiet and I need it to calm. There are so many directions to head. And one crazy disadvantage of years of experience is you can do so many things in so many directions.

Dreams can come to the top in the calm.
Sometimes I need to sits and thinks too.
And yes, that grass will grow and spring comes whether I control it or not. Time passes.

You don't have to be a functional potter or only a sculptor, the question I have asked and answered a million times.

Or as we used to say at Feats of Clay in Austin "hazard yet forward" put that arm out and get going.

or maybe just shh.

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