“You can’t predict the future, but you can plan for it” – Saji Ijiyemi
A short post on discovering the joys of planning – oh boy I can’t , honestly, believe that I have the ability to get excited about PLANNING!
I’ve had a couple of dilemmas recently connected with 2016 and which direction to take/decision to make. I had the opportunity last week of a quiet afternoon to fathom a way round them: often we know the solutions to our problems – but we can have a tendency to cast them aside as unworthy: they then get buried in the depths of our memories – somewhere. Within an hour or so I’d sussed out what to do and then with some strange kind of never experienced before excitement I leapt on to completing a financial forecast for 2016… oh my I can’t believe I said that.
I made some major discoveries about the year ahead of me that have made me realise how I now need to sit down on a very regular basis to plan:
- I haven’t got much if any available time left in 2016 for any other work/projects. A major problem I’ve had previously is biting off more than I can chew: and then suffering from exhaustion.
- 2016 is going to be a grand year! The power of anticipation is a wonderful thing.
- 2016 holds the real potential for me to triple my income from that of 2014 – 18 months ago I struggled to pay my rent and when a tyre blew out on my car I was devastated: literally. Who wants to live like that?
- I’m excited about 2016 and my future – extremely.
“And I will never again underestimate the power of anticipation. There is no better boost in the present than an invitation into the future.” – Caroline Kepnes
For me the most significant revelation I made was that 2016 holds the potential for me to become financially secure – I actually hadn’t realised this, of course nothing is guaranteed – but it’s being aware of the potential that the future holds and how this can spur you on. Its a huge change for me: the last 4 years have been extremely hard, there have been times when I thought I couldn’t cope with treading water for much longer, I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty super people in my life. There’s nothing worthy about being down and out broke – I’ve found it awful, misery inducing and frequently very frightening. Sometimes I come across stuff online & now and then I hear people talking about money as if it’s something dirty – and shouldn’t be sought. I know that money can’t buy you complete happiness – but it can change your life – significantly. And I’m looking forward to it. Money is a very curious thing – much more complex and deep rooted than I once thought – I’m still working hard at putting Karen Sutton – Johal ‘s wise advice into practise and using her invaluable tools – I know I wouldn’t have got this far without her superb money mentoring.
‘Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.’ –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Why the obsession with worldly possessions? When it’s your time to go, they have to stay behind, so pack light.” – Alex Morritt
It’s been a while – quite a lot has changed in the 3 months since I last wrote a blog post.
I’m now entirely self – employed and left my care work post on 4th Sept 2015. Life hasn’t felt this right for a very long time: in fact I’m not sure if my life has ever felt as right as it does now. I miss the people that I cared for. Care work did me a whole lot of good: it’s a grand job that gets a lot of bad press, a very poorly paid job that should be a whole lot better paid. I don’t miss the bad bits about it – who would?!
I think leaving the post was akin to de – cluttering: life had become too full, too messy and just too much for me to cope with. Working so many hours: mostly non stop: took it’s toll. I’ve been on a bit of a de-cluttering frenzy over the last few months and It all started with an article I came across on line Why tidying up could change your life . I’d also been quite ill and I was struggling with everyday things: I knew it would make life instantly better and easier to manage.
It recommends that you de-clutter in daily steps – I went the whole hog in a day: to be honest I’ve never been a ‘stuff’ person anyway. But there’s always room for improvement – I piled my bed high with clothes that no longer fitted me or such like: bagged them up and took them to the charity shop. I then went through every nook and cranny doing the same. There have been a couple of things I look back and think – I wish I hadn’t binned it… but hey it’s only stuff. I then hit my smartphone and my computer: you should see my email inbox: It’s to die for!
Now I’m going through my house a second time round and getting rid of even more ‘stuff’ gawd only knows why I hung on to 2 bottles full of beads that I hadn’t worn for decades and the false nails in there too: that I wore on my wedding day: all gone now. It’s feels incredibly good. This week I turned to my paperwork: why do we hang on to paper? I filled a black bin bag full of the stuff and organised all my tax return info and records.
“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.” Victoria Moran.
I could go on – but I won’t.
The ‘Why tidying up could change your life’ article mentions thinking about why you want to lead a more minimal/clutter free life: it was easy for me to think why:
- a simpler life
- more time to spend on the big stuff
- a wish to stop spending money on ‘stuff’
- to reduce stress
- to help with fatigue
- to have that ‘clean sheets on the bed’ feeling on a daily basis – de-cluttering definitely gives you that.
As Erica Buist says “De-cluttering makes you feel like bath-time did when you were a kid: at best you procrastinate and at worst you put up a fight, but as soon as you do it you think, “That was fun: now I feel clean and can sleep. Why did I put it off?”
And a few words from Karl Pilkington – always a fountain of wisdom and truth – “It’s interesting to see that people had so much clutter even thousands of years ago. The only way to get rid of it all was to bury it, and then some archaeologist went and dug it all up.”
If you haven’t come across Karl before – google him – he makes me laugh – muchly!
‘Discarded’ currently on show at The Old Station Gallery, Rowsley.
I don’t write blog posts as often as I used to or as often as I’d like to. My posts have always been about a multitude of things: I guess there have been occasions when I’ve struggled with that and it’s stopped me writing posts. But a blog is one of those things that once you’ve started it and kept it going for a while (mines over 4 years old now) it’s hard to stop, or change to be honest…
These last few weeks I’ve grabbed some time to spend painting in the studio, I have been far too busy this last 9 months to spend any real amount of time painting: it is the truth and that is that: no which way that I look at it: I wouldn’t have had time and I didn’t have time.
But now things are moving and shifting, I’ve settled down into a system of getting my work & schedule completed at the gallery: new experiences and tasks take time to get used to.
I’ve also put a cap on the number of hours that I work as a Care Worker in the Community: it’s made a huge difference. I’m hoping to give my notice shortly: I’m waiting to see if my proposal ,for an opportunity that I’ve been offered, has been accepted… I know that I shall hear in the next couple of weeks. This thought in itself creates a huge sense of excitement. Care work has become hard, my hours and shift pattern has been changed with just 2 weeks notice. If you haven’t worked in care or a similar profession then you won’t know that you have a shift pattern: I can work out exactly what shift I will be working on any given day in the next 12 months: I planned everything around this pattern: exhibitions at the gallery, workshops, life drawing classes, visits to friends and family, holidays: the whole lot. Then with a short and impolite letter sent in the post: the whole 12 months of my planning wiped out. I cried, as I often do when something crap happens. I’ve dusted myself down and I’m leaving: at some point: hopefully very soon.
Got sidetracked there: Back to the painting, I ended up at the studio painting every day for at least 2 weeks (ish). A shift in thinking and painting happened along with one of those emails out of the blue which makes you realise there’s stuff out there to be done. And with that I jotted down a plan, on a piece of scrap paper, for 2016: next week that scrap will turn into a full blown plan that I’ll be sticking too: feeling incredibly optimistic and excited about my future.
Then there’s the flow whilst painting: that place or space that feels so damn good when you achieve it, I’ve written about it before in my blog: if you don’t know about it ‘google’ it. I remember some chap coming to my house and doing some market research a few years ago, 45 minutes worth of it, anyhow he asked me if I had ever experienced ‘flow’ and seemed shocked when I said ‘yes, frequently’… I’ve no idea why he was so shocked.
Back to painting: My painting had become monotonous for me: it lacked any sense of moving and shifting, or the capacity to do so: I’m sensing it again now, that thing that I seem to crave: development, with the 7 new pieces of work on paper that I’ve completed.
The new pieces of work are in a show, at the Gallery where I’m the Curator, which is opening tomorrow 11th July 3-5.30pm: join us in Rowsley for a glass of wine at The Old Station Gallery. I am so excited about the show: I haven’t had work in an exhibition for so long: my own doing.
I’m also excited to be showing alongside three incredibly talented Artists: Rachel Carter, Heather Duncan and Laine Tomkinson.
And then, finally, there’s something else that’s been on my mind: currently often thought about: and generated by a couple of bad experiences with people, it’s to do with spreading the love: something somebody said to me a while ago and something that I really get now, I got it before but I get it even more now. I’ve made a big change in the way that I choose to spend my money and who I spend my money with. I’m thinking carefully about people: good people, honest people, kind and generous people. They’re the people I shall be spending my money with, buying my gifts for friends/family from, my clothes, my everything that I need and want from. That’s spreading the love. Give it a go: it feels bloody marvellous!
“Dreams get you into the future and add excitement to the present.” Robert Conklin
I’m only writing this now, this afternoon as I’m feeling human again: like I’ve got a little bit of my life back that I’ve not clapped eyes on for a while.
I’ve just read my last post Shopping Trolleys & the math of time is simple it made made me chuckle a little.. due to realising that a couple of months down the line I’m still dealing with the same old issues: I hadn’t been saying no enough.
This all happened sometime in early May:
I had gotten to the point where I had said yes to far far too many things and the reality was I just didn’t have the time to do it all. So with a gentle nudge from Karen, my mentor, I realised I couldn’t go on as I was and that things needed to change quickly: completely exhausted and most probably heading for some kind of burnout: I know what that looks and feels like, because I’ve been there before.
With some sound advice I proceeded to cancel a few things, I felt awful doing so: knowing that I was letting people down.
After cancelling the first (over) commitment I felt immediately better, I then cancelled another and felt better again and then finally I decided to leave scheduling the next Salon exhibition at the studio for at least 2-3 months.
Karen had also suggested that I find a meditation/visualisation video/soundtrack on youtube and start doing this daily when I felt things were just getting too much. It took a little searching to find the right thing: but when I did I proceeded to listened to it 4 times in a row: it immediately soothed my racing mind, my anxiety and eased the tension in my legs. I then listened to it regularly until I felt I could manage my too too busy life. And I’ve now got it saved so that I don’t get into that mess again. Maybe my selection of meditation won’t suit others, but on the off chance here it is:
I now plug in my headphones and relax.
I’ve just finished a stint of working 14 days, and we’re talking full on stuff: 6am in the morn until mid to late evening most days, that is crazy living and just down right stupid thinking: that’s what you call biting off more than you can chew. That’s without the commitments that I cancelled and no way to choose to live.
Today is my first day of a 7 days off stint from my council post: I’m a care worker in the community: sometimes a difficult job that involves seeing and dealing with the worst bits life throws at us humans. Yesterday I took off my uniform and flung it in the wash basket.. It felt bloody good to be honest. Today we’ve hung the next exhibition at the gallery and as we left I just suddenly felt like me again. My life had become a heaving mass of deadlines and work: and I mean heaving.
I think there are several things that made me take on far too much and I’m beginning to work them out. I have this thing with famine and feast: it seems that I have had months where there’s little or no work where money is scarce and I struggle to get by: then all of a sudden I seem to get a load of offers/bookings and because I’ve been so starving for money and for work I say yes to them all… not anymore
And then there’s this thing that’s suddenly appeared in my life with what seemed like no warning: the age thing. All of a sudden I felt a bit passed it, I’ve begun feeling tired and ache like I’ve not done before: my zing isn’t always there: it goes walk about on a frequent basis.
Amongst all of these goings on I’ve had fleeting moments where I’ve considered going back to a full time well paid job: luckily only fleeting, because I know it would kill me and I’d not see me zing ever again.
It’s been a while since writing a post & I’ve often thought ‘I must write a post’ and then decided not to (based on not knowing what to write about) or I’ve gotten swept away with other stuff…
Some of that stuff was the not knowing whether I can make ends meet stuff, the living in fear of the car breaking down and having no cash to fix it stuff, the I really do hope this is the last month of scraping pennies together stuff. Luckily it’s ended, with a lot of hard work and some solid, sound and motivational advice from Karen my money mentor.
Then today I came across an article online, by/from Kevin Ashton’s book ‘How to Fly a Horse’ that seemed to capture a lot of what I’ve been working on in the past few months. Time (the lack of it) and saying no.
I’ve had to work really hard at saying no to people who ask me to ‘do it cheaper’ or can we discuss your rate, price etc etc.. One of the things that has really helped me to say no is something that Karen said to me (I can’t remember her exact words but it goes something like this..) These people who ask you to cut your prices are walking around the supermarket and filling their trolleys with food, are you? Why should you not be able to afford to do this at the expense of those people…
So whenever someone asks me to drop my quote/price I just think of shopping trolleys. After all money has a huge connection to and with time. The more I lower my prices.. the more hours I have to work and the less time I have to spend on my ambitions, passions, friends and family.
Here’s a snippet from the article (it really is worth a read). ‘How to Fly a Horse’
‘Saying ‘no’ has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.’
So how have I been spending my time? in the studio? Nope. Painting? Nope.
Getting organised, staying focused, setting up systems and ways of working.. I’ve been so busy that for a time it has made everything seem like a jumbled mess, and a huge muddle of tasks to do, email in boxes full to bursting and a whirling spinning head. Armed with my fabulous default diary and putting a limit on the amount of overtime that I do I am now making headway!
Time ahead to spend in the studio? Yes! Time for painting? Yes!
‘Slanted View’ Acrylic and collage on paper, 2014.
Since starting this blog, April 2011, I’ve written a short pre new year blog yearly.. a little late, and a bit of a hasty one this year but here we go!
Another 12 months on and I’m looking back and thinking how the heck did all of that happen in just 12 months. It’s been a tough year in a lot of ways and I’m hoping this year will be a little more settled, a little more productive and a lot happier.
Having said that there’s been some really grand moments and again I’ve met some wonderful people!
I’ve put together a slideshow of some of the great moments of 2014.
A big fat thankyou to everyone that has helped to make 2014 a good year: all my friends, family, new acquaintances, new friends in Cromford & Derbyshire, old friends that have been in touch & for all the kindness that many of you have given & shared with me, thanks to all the artists that took part in the Salon exhibitions during 2014!
All the very best to all of you & may 2015 bring with it health, love & happiness!
Some reasons to be cheerful: in no particular order: