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Uncharted Territory

Uncharted Territory

Tammy May 18, 2006 0 comments

Sculpture_chaosthe_tower Hand-built clay sculpture, Chaos:  The Tower, by Tammy Vitale of Tam’s Originals.

This piece, Chaos, is made from several pieces that didn’t work as planned.  It has its own energy, and I’ve never shown it because I’ve never managed to get all the pieces attached to any one thing so that it’s moveable without things flying all over the place.  For me it is about the clay having its own mind and energy and flow.  I had one thing in mind.  The pieces I originally made had another.  Perhaps I have never finished it because, as Chaos, it feels finished in not being contained and attached.  It sits where I see it always when I’m in my studio.  Not with the posse of other pieces I have crammed onto two shelves for storage.  Even now it commands its own space.

I have read that writers have the same "problem" sometimes with their characters.  The writer starts off the story one way and the character takes on her own life, grabs the pen and the story goes galloping off in another direction.

Ever feel like life is like that sometimes?

You have this cozy little life all lined up in your head.  Objectives, goals, milestones.  Then life happens.  Messy – but oh so much more fun.  Possiblities come into view that you could never have imagined for yourself. 

There’s a StoryPeople story that says:  "If you hold on to the handle, she said, it’s easier to maintain the illusion of control.  But it’s more fun if you just let the wind carry you."

This morning Suzanne Falter-Barnes newsletter arrived with much the same advice:

"May 18, 2006
Issue #139

The Joy Letter 139: Moving to the Land of Thinking Big


Main Essay: Moving to the Land of Thinking Big

Christine Moriarty, a Vermont-based financial coach with whom I’ve led workshops, has a little picture she likes to draw. In the middle is a smallish circle — about the size of a golf ball. This, she says, is you and your cozy, relatively safe life. This circle is your comfort zone, a place where there isn’t much growth, you operate in basic survival mode and everything is "okay."

Around this circle, Christine draws a much, much bigger one the size of a basketball. This is a place of risk, exhilaration, flow, immense possibility, and excitement. It’s also a place of occasional terror, frustration, angst, and wildness. This is the land of thinking big.

Put another way, your comfort zone is where you think about your dream. But the land of thinking big is where you actually live it.

There is only a small, imaginary boundary that separates thinking small from thinking big, but somehow our minds have built that border into a huge, fortified wall. In the midst of our day-to-day circumstances, when the bills have to get paid and the kids have to get quality time, we think making changes and pursuing risks is a bad idea. Who has the time? The money? Who’s got the energy, for Pete’s sake! The wall seems insurmountable.

And yet … herein lies the difference.

Successful dreamers understand that that big fortified wall exists only in their minds. Just as many have made the decision that the wall cannot be breached, they have made the decision that there is no wall at all. They also know the real secret that powers them forward: pursuing your passion is so much fun, after a while you can’t NOT do it.

Still, the key immobilizer that keeps us small and safe is that little voice that says, "Yeah, but how do you plan to get going in the first place? You haven’t got a clue where to start."

The way you get going is to get going, as clumsy as your first attempts may be.

No, you don’t have to know what you’re doing. And no, there isn’t some imaginary instruction manual that other, better dream-seekers have that you don’t. All you have is hope, guidance, and the willingness to be a little crazy and uncomfortable for a while…."

She goes on to give pointers on how to live in the real world.   I encourage you to go have a look and subscribe to everything she does.  She is consistently one of the best on-line authors I have found.

Here’s my suggestion.  Take that life plan (or business plan or marketing plan) out of the realm of "thinking about it" and put it on paper.  For you left-brainers (the ones who think logically and step by step), just feed in "marketing plan+study" into google and you’re sure to get outlines and all the information you could possible need to set up a pretty, step-by-step, very logical, sure-to-get-an-A type plan.  Or check out my archives here on the Business of Art, where I have a lot of left-brained type information (or as left-brained as I can manage).

For you right brainers (those of us who think in a few steps, then a giant leap or two, then a gut hunch), try this.  For three minutes put your pen on paper and don’t stop writing.  Start with:  "What I really want to do is…."   When that’s done:  "What I really want to say is…"  When that’s done: "What I REALLY mean is…." and repeat for 3 minutes.  Then 5 and then 10 minutes.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how "logical" all this turns out.  But oh the doors it can open!

Thought for the day:  Don’t just read it, do it.  Whatever it is that has been sitting quietly in the back of your mind because you don’t have time or money or energy, let it out of its cage for 5 minutes. See if you ever put it back.

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