slow down...

ants.jpg It's like a freight train barreling down the tracks full speed. Working and doing this much all the time. I feel sometimes like I'm addicted to this fast pace... hurling my energy forward constantly. Living on momentum and adrenaline, and hardly ever stopping to just breathe and be. (And yes, I do art for a living which makes that last thought seem sort of ridiculous, I'll admit.)

Someone commented a while back that I seem to be doing more in one day than she could do in two weeks. And I laughed to myself and felt really ashamed of not protecting my free time. And ashamed for not going after the balance that I supposedly try so hard to get (if I know how to get balanced, why don't I make choices to get there?) And that comment made me think: Really now, this can only last so long till I collapse... totally exhausted and out of steam.

That was months ago. And Friday night it finally caught up with me. I was tired. In tears. And wiped out. I emailed a friend through tears and was surprised because she came back yelling... "You can't afford keep going at this kind of killer pace because it will eventually kill your creative spirit," she said. "Your work will continue growing and shifting and changing and reaching and being relevant and appealing and marketable AS LONG AS YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR INNER ARTIST. And frankly? Right now? you're totally sabotaging yourself by continuing to overwork yourself to the point where you are no longer enjoying it and feel like some never ending robotic shmuck who's just supposed to crank it out like a f***ing photocopier. Well, you're not a photocopier. You are a living breathing beautiful blooming completely overworked and overtired human being who deserves to spend time on herself, thinking about herself, loving and caring for herself."

And the flood gates opened... I knew she was right. And I needed to do something immediate and drastic...

We were scheduled to go to the big air show in Beaufort, watching it on base with my brother and Alison (I'm glad we didn't because of the blue angel's crash... too much bad news to take right now). But at the last minute, I told Colin that I really needed a weekend at home where we did nothing. No projects. No work. No errands. Just sitting around doing nothing.

And that's just what we did. Nada. (I did get a few groceries, does that count?)

And it was the hardest thing I've done in a long, long time. Lounging in the sun sounded so nice, but the whole time I felt like I was doing it wrong. I was anxious and edgy... Shouldn't I be working on a home project? Shouldn't I be painting or doing something creative? Shouldn't I work on Illustration Friday or clean my house or finally unpack the rest of my studio? Or at least check an email or two?

And yet I forced myself to just sit with the discomfort... every now and then asking Colin if he felt it too (he did).

It was work to do nothing. How ironic. I think maybe it's the sort of thing that gets easier with practice (like illustration). And I realized that there will always be a pile of stuff to do. That never ending flow. And I can dive in and try to tackle it all right this second. Or I could tackle some of it now and leave the rest for later. It will still be there and the world will not come apart if it's not done *right now*.

I really need to take better care of my inner artist... and this weekend was a big first step I think.

What do you do to care for yours?