I packed the book in my bag when I headed out to
Finally, now that it is the middle of November, realizing that time is running out for me to keep some grain of my resolution, I have picked up the book and begun reading it and working through it again. I am going to state here, publicly, that I am going to try to devote the next 11 weeks to completing it (it is organized into 12 weeks/chapters, like the other books). Hopefully, by publicly declaring this, I will be shamed into keeping my promise to myself. We’ll see if that works...
This week, I reviewed Chapter 1, since it felt like eons had passed since I did it this summer. The most interesting part of the experience was the Artist Date, the date that I must make with myself once a week in an effort to "romance"my inner artist. While I have been pretty diligent about doing my morning pages everyday for the past four years, I find artist dates very hard to keep. I always tell myself that I have so much alone time already, why would I seek more of it out? Well, today, I discovered part of the reason why.
My date with myself today was to explore the Rue de la Monnaie, a cobblestone street that is in Vieux Lille (Old Lille) and is lined with various shops that occupy all the historical buildings. I had walked up and down it with
Armed with my camera, I set out exploring, stopping at all the shops I have been wanting to visit since my first visit to the doctor and taking pictures along the way. As I took pictures and window shopped, I noticed that I was starting to take in the details and beauty of what was around me and began to get rooted into the present. All the alone time I spend on the road is a dangerous trap – it is easy to become focused on dreams and the realm of lofty ambitions that have no root in the work. Getting a bit more rooted in the present keeps me more focused on what I am doing right now and all that I have right now. After wandering around exploring Vieux Lille for a couple hours, it was so much easier to practice afterwards. I had nothing to prove to myself – I just had the tasks that I needed to accomplish in front of me, and I really enjoyed doing the wood-shedding that I needed to do today.
I came across this quote in the margins of the book the other day, and it stuck in my mind during my work this week:
“The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
I think I get that now. At least for now.