Even though I love the idea of painting or writing each day, I would quickly lose the joy those activities bring me if I felt obligated to do them. So, if I do happen to paint a bit or write a bit or snap some photos each day, I won't feel pressured to make more of them than they already are. There would be no need for perfection, or timeliness, or even a decent piece of work. I wouldn't care what people might think of them, because it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of my work. I create for myself and share it when I find time. The important practice is the practice. The doing, for those brief moments, restores me to myself. My authentic self; not the person others need or want or demand I be, but the person I truly am. This includes the self deprecating voice in my head I have housed far too long. One of the most important lessons 2013 offered me and will be the focus, the practice, for the coming year is Whitman's advice, "Re-examine all you have been told…Dismiss what insults your soul."
Thank you to a friend for sharing that quote with me and I'll return the gift to you, with a poem that suits this first day of a new year, by Mary Oliver (of course!).
Today I'm flying low and I'm
not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though I'm really traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.