A Year of Listening: Week 41

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In the long run,we shake out lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. — Eleanor Roosevelt

My favorite tool for creating shape is a familiar pair of scissors.  I would welcome a pair of scissors that could trim out clutter, tiresome relationships, and ill-conceived ventures.  Maybe I need to do some shaking out first.  I can let loose of useless perspectives and meaningless habits. I can be selective about companionship.  Then I am going shopping for new scissors.

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Accelerate Results

Who wants to create more in the time allotted?

How can that happen?

Running With Scissors
My friend Cathy Stark photographed me in this pose that illustrates, “Runs With Scissors.” When the cutting begins, I am in the creative zone. And while I am more of a risk taker than my high school teachers could have ever imagined, I usually stand still with scissors. However, I do have them strategically placed throughout the house.

My siblings and I, creative, entrepreneurial beings, have discussed this. Paul is making things in multiples. I have been repurposing design components to new projects. Beth, owner of Spencer Grace—a creative communications agency, offers this terrific technique on her blog: make a fast mess. Please read her complete perspective at spencergrace.com.

Evaluate

I am not running and I am not hiding.

Those words just popped into my head yesterday morning (June 27).  They were distinct, memorable, and puzzling.

I began this year with my three well-chosen words: prepare, practice, and evaluate. (More details are in my blog entry, Three Words 2013.)  However, they have been out of my focus range the last three months.  But the year’s half way point has brought them back, with evaluate front and center!  Last week I was having a hay day of self criticism for all the things I have failed to do since New Year’s Day. Ironically this monologue coincided with the delivery of a major commission, which was received with delight.  Self criticism is not thorough evaluation.

Not running, not hiding.  There is an evaluation; it reminds me of the blank space in a composition.  When we are aware of what we are not doing, we may begin to see what we are doing. What is no longer happening in your daily routine?

Three Words 2013: prepare, practice, evaluate

“What three words will help you in 2013?”  That was the last sentence of the last post of 2012.  I planned to write this post a month ago.  I had my three words.  But I also had doubt, the kind of doubt that sabotages movement.

“I believe in the power of words.  Each year I choose three words to shape and focus my time, space, and energy.  They usually arrive in my brain sometime between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  I am grateful when they appear early, because I can roll them around and get comfortable with them.” I wrote this in the last blog, too.  I got the 2013 words in late November and they have been rolling and rolling, but there is no comfort.

The words are prepare, practice, and evaluate.  For me, they are derivatives of last year’s “invent,”  the word that wanted more time.  Some days these words elate me.  On dark days, they seem to illuminate my inadequacies.  Elation and illumination.  I like it when my art causes that response in my viewers.  Perhaps these words will make me a more wholesome artist.

Does your work inform and illumine your days?  How does that happen?  Do words help?

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