Thursday, March 8, 2007

Balance isn't just for gymnasts

Balance, balance, balance--sure sounds boring doesn't it? Especially to us creative types--it's way too close to-gasp!-self discipline, which always sounds to me like a bizarre form of s&m for recluses...but balance is at the core of what we all struggle with every day. And I do mean all of us, whether we're writers or artists or lawyers. It's an Overcommitment Puritan Ethic Disease, or OPED (a single wheeled vehicle that has a square wheel) for short. I've been thinking a lot on this as my new class is all about "How to Focus and Succeed" at the True North Creative Learning Center starting April 14, and how can we creative folks focus when we're riding around on a one square wheel OPED.
Here's one thing that has helped me balance myself, at least a little: meditation. Aaargh! No! I'll have to shave my head, I can hear you all saying, no whoo-whoo stuff! Ugh! Relax, all I'm talking about is that I pull my attention to the moment whenever I remember to--which isn't often, I'm a flittertigibbet just like every creative person I know. I promise you won't have to wear orange sheets or buy those floor pillows that end up as dog beds...what I've noticed is when I notice the moment it centers me and opens time. Opens time? What? Yes, I get balanced enough to realize what matters, what I should do first and, guess what? now I've got time.

Secret: Dealing with another horrid ion: Procrastination. When you're stuck in this dreaded ion here's a simple fix: pick one small thing and do it. By small, I mean small like pay a bill, or send a manuscript out that's ready and waiting to be sent, not an OPED small like clean the garage. If you pick one small thing and accomplish it, that means you've SUCCEEDED in focusing and doing and you're no longer procrastinating, now are you?
And a big thanks to my good friend and great writer Kathy McIntosh for the suggestion that led to this shared secret.

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