Maybe There Really Is No Spoon
Todd Saal, Nashville, TN
April 24, 2017
Ever feel lost? Have a lack of focus and clarity? Yep, that’s been me lately. Pretty much why I’ve been away for a few weeks from posting here. I could go on about how busy things have been. Well they have been, but we’re all busy, all the time. It really would be just an excuse. In short I feel like I’ve just been going through the motions.
Recently I took a watercolor workshop in Memphis, TN. As I was reflecting on my drive back home, one of the things I kept thinking about was how I wasn’t seeing myself living my life as an artist. At least up to this point. I thought why? I’m working hard every day being creative, drawing and painting. When I was asked what I did for a living I really didn’t have a definitive answer. I would explain what I used to do and that I’m trying to figure out what’s next. What’s next? What am I an idiot? This is what’s next. It was probably time for a reality check. Something was missing for sure.
For me there’s always been that “oh shit” moment. You know, those times you say to yourself – ahhh I get it! One of those moments was when I used to think one of my greatest assets was the ability to do one thing and think about other things at the same time. While in reality it was the trait that was holding me back from achieving things as quickly as I was seeing them. This often gets confused with multitasking or daydreaming. It’s not. Day dreaming is just that. Multitasking, well that just really doesn’t exist. One person can really only do one thing at a time. We’re just switching our focus between multiple things. I was teaching myself computer programming while I was transitioning careers to technology and consulting years ago when this moment occurred. That moment changed everything for me. I became obsessed with how to focus and how to learn how to learn. I spent years teaching this to others and built many teams that achieved a great deal of things with minimal resources.
“That moment changed everything for me. I became obsessed with how to focus and how to learn how to learn.”
During that time, learning what works for me was the key. It has helped me keep my thoughts uncluttered and given me the ability to be fairly efficient. It took me ages to stumble upon this. What works for me is balance, some sort of mixture of technology and creative work. So the obvious thing that was missing was the technical part. The critical thinking activity, the tinkering. I tend to process things subconsciously while I tinker. I wasn’t doing any of it anymore. And there was the moment. So the journey of determining what I wanted to do began. I could go back to coding and build some applications. I thought why the hell would I do that? To what end? I used to do carpentry – for a living and pleasure. Maybe I’ll do that. I got rid of most of those tools when I moved to Nashville as I didn’t want to do that anymore either. As I tortured my wife trying to explain this to her it became clear that I needed to find something technical that allowed me to bridge the creative disciplines. I’m working through this process and have found something that I think will work. What’s a little scary is my wife has admitted she can see it being another really good thing. We both had a good laugh since I really need another thing to obsess over. I am already feeling far more clear and focused. I’m excited to feel like I’m finally getting started. A year later.
This item in this picture (the stone, not the figure) was given to me by my wife. It has sat on my desk for over 30 years. Whenever I lose focus and have a real lack of clarity, that message seems to put things back in place. Maybe its never intended for me to have things truly figured out. The aimlessness feeling of being lost, the search for that sense of purpose. My true moments of clarity always seem to be – during the journey. Well there’s my soapbox meanderings for today. I’m feeling good. BTW I’ll be adding comments directly to the blog posts next so you don’t have to go to my contact page to leave me notes about each post. I hope you enjoy your week. Till next week.
Todd Saal is an American artist and musician currently residing in Nashville TN.
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