I’m a tortoise. I’ve always been a tortoise. I expect I will always be a tortoise. Yet, I struggle with this basic fact even as I accept its accuracy. Normally, I don’t obsess about being a tortoise. However, a recent interaction over Christmas, has me revisiting the topic.
Paradigm Shift or Not?
Christmas dinner was served, midday, at my son’s home. The plan was to go for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. So, when my daughter-in-law announced it was time to head out, I went to the front door and began the process of layering up for the walk. No surprise, the rest of the adults lingered chatting about this or that. When my co-grandmother began to don her outdoor gear, I casually mentioned I needed to start early, because otherwise I would be the last one getting dressed. Then, I explained, I am always the last one out of the yoga studio, because I am so slow. Her retort, “it must be nice to have so much time.” Head snap! Say what?
This comment has haunted me for two days. Perhaps I can exorcise it from my brain, by sharing it with you. The reality is we all have the same amount of time – 24 hours in day. I have learned to listen to my inner tortoise and embrace it rather than to try and remold it to fit someone else’s concept of normal.
WIPs vs. UFOs
(Works in Progress vs. Unfinished Objects)
What does this have to do with my artwork? Everything, and maybe nothing. When I look over my last decade’s worth of work, there is only one piece I started, but didn’t finish. In fact, the majority of time, my work is focused from beginning to end. I don’t have multiple pieces in process. Also, how I work is very, one foot in front of the other, or one piece combining with the next piece to form a unit. Units combining to form a block. Finally, blocks combining to form the quilt top.
What have I learned? Whether one is a tortoise or not isn’t the issue. What is essential is to know yourself and let that knowledge guide you in life. For me, that is accepting being a tortoise. What have you learned about yourself that infuses your art and way of being?
I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.
This resonated with me as I too am a tortoise. I have over the years compensated by focusing on a few things and not trying to do too much.
Focus is the key for us tortoises. I wager we tend to get less harried, too. Years ago I was asked to run a time management session at a conference. One thing I learned while researching the topic, is there is no such thing as multi-tasking. You can only rapidly toggle between tasks. The simple exercise to prove to yourself that alternating between tasks isn’t worth it is this. You will need a stop watch or some way to note the seconds that go by. Now Count the number of letters in your name. Set the timer. Now print your first and last name followed by printing the number of letters as though you were counting them, i.e. 1, 2, 3… until you reach the total. Stop the timer. Take a breath. Start the timer again but this time alternate printing your name with the number count. For my name it would look like G1w2y3n4…n15. Which method took you longer? Makes one glad to be a tortoise, forced to focus in a hare’s world.
Love the quilt that is the back drop for the thoughts of pacing. I noticed my slower pace when at quilt retreats and others were zooming along. Like you, I’m happy with how I work.
Have you ever wondered about what happens after the quilt retreat? Or looked at what those faster attendees are actually completing and the caliber of their work? Really, in the end does it matter how many quilts you bang out in a lifetime? One thing I love about quilting is it isn’t an extreme sport. I do it precisely because it allows me to focus in a slow stitch/Zen manner. It is a form of meditation for me.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m enjoying working with the bright colors in Rainbow Aura. Dark days call for bright colors.
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