Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

The Conference Lobby

 A while ago, friends of mine went to a music conference for the first time. The goal of conferences is generally to meet people, and let them know what you do. You know, networking. A person is given a name tag and set loose on awkward cocktail party of people all looking to make the right connections.   

My friends approached it a little differently. They found there wasn’t a lot going on in the main lobby was empty most of the time. People milled around, rested on the couches, or merely passed through.   They grabbed their instruments and started playing. For lots of musicians the opportunity to join in a a jam is better than milling through an awkward meet and great. Those musicians would join in. Concert promoters would pass and sometimes stop to listen. By the end of a weekend of doing that, lots of people knew who they were and what they did. 

A few years later they’ve gone from leaders of the song circle in the lobby to leaders of the community and the conference itself. Merely starting a song circle in the lobby didn’t make they leaders, but it’s an example of how they consistently looked for spaces where something could happen, something that would be fun and help others and simply started doing. When others got interested, or wanted to take part, they invited them to join. What the empty space you see?

Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

Fixed Gears

About ten years ago, I bought a used bike. The bike I owned was stolen out of my apartment’s foyer when my landlord left the door open. I didn’t want to invest in another new bike, so I bought one used bike.   

Because the old one had been stolen out of our foyer, I locked the new one in the closest convenient place. Outside. On a “No Parking” sign. Summer turned to fall. Fall turned to winter. At some point the bike was left out on the pole in the snow. 

In time, it’s gears locked up and they could be switched in only one direction. After a while of course, the bike ran out of options in that direction.  

I took it in to the bike shop to be looked at. The bike mechanic’s prognosis was he couldn’t fix the gears but he could turn into a fixed gear bike if I liked. I wasn’t super happy about it, but I was still feeling crunched for cash. I could have no bike or a bike with one working gear. I went for the fixed gear. That’s when I discovered that there’s a kind of ease with having one fixed option.   

I thought of all this today as I listened to Tim Ferriss talk to Debbie Millman about her experience working with habitual patterns in her life. That after thirty years of therapy, she said she would have thought perhaps she’d be done with some of the issues that come up for her. She also, how she wouldn’t really be who she is without those issues.   

She’s basically what she was saying was in certain aspects of her life her options are basically fixed. That’s when I found myself thinking about my old bike again and how there was a kind of freedom in knowing what I had and never having to shift gears.  

This is a simplistic metaphor, and our lives are complicated—still there’s something there that I think could be worth exploring further.     

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Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth, Self-Care

Meh, revisited

It’s interesting to see in my illustrations, perhaps some subconscious messages poking their little head into the sunlight. The kitty saying “Meh,” a perfectly reasonable and appropriate thing for a cat to say in popular culture’s telling of cats. But I could have said anything. Or nothing at all. Good ‘ol Beanie could have just napped on his couch:

Or a couple of days ago when this seal balanced the veritable world atop his nose–something like Altas performing at Sea World. I’ll say here for the record, “I like the work;” but I wonder is my sub-conscious getting grumpy? Perhaps my muse is sending up smoke signals?

A few days ago I scrawled down these words; “Every time I try to lower the stakes for myself, I want to raise them somewhere else.” When I consider doing fewer drawings each week a voice in my head says; “Great, then you can post everyday!” Or, “Great! That means you could do more detailed work!”

One of the voices in my head is a workaholic Tigger. The balanced, rational part of my mind knows I can’t do everything. The balanced, rational part of my mind defends my right to decide what is enough. Workaholic Tigger will always bounce back with an offer of more work.

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Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth, Resistance, Self Love, Self-Care, Shame

Befriending Myself

The following is an email from the past, composed on June 27, 2020. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org.

Dear Future Timmy,

I’m working to look out for you better. Even now, as I write this, I’m noticing a habit I have of denigrating past Timmy.

I can imagine this letter arriving in my inbox in six weeks. Sometimes I receive an email like this and think Timmy a fool, a naif for dreaming, for being aspirational. A message like this arrives and I’m mortified. Embarrassed that past Timmy could believe some present-Tim in the future would follow through. Or would want to read these words that an angry, embarrassed future Tim may want to call drivel.

Recently, I reread Liz Gilbert talking about her stewardship of her self. How she cares for, attends to, and respects herself. She even befriends herself. Applauds herself. Hi-fives and offers joyful standing ovations for her own actions. A part of Timmy perks up his ears on high alert to danger when hearing these stories. There’s a part of Timmy that says I don’t dare do that. That part looks at other parts of Timmy and imagines they need stern words and harsh treatment if there’s any hope for Timmy to be responsible, to fit in, to be worthwhile.

I wants to experiment with Liz’s way of doing things for a while, for future Timmy’s sake. Which means I thanking past Timmy. Thank you for your hope and aspirations for me. Thank you for the reading you’ve done. Thank you for all the songs you’ve written and the people you’ve reached out to bravely. Most recently thank you, past Timmy for all the hard work you put into The Creative’s Workshop. And into training to be a coach for others, and a friend to me.

Sending my best,

-Timmy

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Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth, Self-Care, Shame

Transitions

The last couple days I’ve been learning a bit about transitions. Once I’m in a rhythm and working, the work is easy. Moving from one project to another is often difficult. There are lots of reasons for this.

Today, and for the last few days, one of those reasons is simply that “The Fearless Challenge,” last week required a lot of energy and focus. In short, I’ve been tired.  

Also, shifting projects and shifting focus requires energy. Any move I make that isn’t straight ahead slows me down. It’s like turning a corner to juke an opponent on the basketball court, or football field. 

When I complete a project I it’s natural to pause as well. It’s same way an athlete will usually pause after scoring a goal or making a basket, things slow down for a moment as well.  

So here I am, mid-turn on Wednesday morning, typing out a blog which would “normally” be published already and there’s a part of me feels; “I should be doing better.”  

I’m aiming to go the other way.  I’m aiming to embrace where I am and keep moving forward.  

I started working on this half-finished illustration yesterday.  A beaver in a hammock above the dam it has completed. Looking back on what I just wrote, there’s a nice meta-synergy between the illustration and the words. I also realize I’ve been sort of aiming to rest and turn a corner at the same time. Which doesn’t quiet work, does it?  

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