I Was Gonna Write a Blog, Then I got Side-tracked…
All last month I meant to sit down and write a blog about not letting the month slip away… then the month went and slipped away from me…
During that time I’ve cranked on the van and sweated away on Granny’s land. I’ve also put up (and taken down) a few different canvases on my easel – an attempt at painting productivity.
After a few halfhearted swipes in which I didn’t make no progress, I found myself swapping one out for another, frustrated and searching for the right feeling…
Before finally realizing that sometimes it’s just best to admit that a canvas isn’t the particular ‘canvas’ I’m stoked to be working on at the moment.
(That’s what ‘atm‘ in a text stands for btw – my gutter-mind thought it stood for something very different for a very long time.)
Sometimes you just have to get the brush moving, and other times you just have to realize it’s not a ‘brush’ you’re meant to be moving.
My mind likes distracting itself (anyone else’s?), and sometimes it will even dangle a worthy bit of whimsy in front of me to achieve its ultimate aim – i.e. my fractured presence.
After realizing the folly of my desire to paint and placing my presence back where it needed to be – namely, buttoning up the van (and several other projects Granny and I have initiated this summer) – I bent back to the task literally at hand…
The van. A project in which I’d become stuck, and was trying to avoid – even if it meant doing some other kind of work (I also managed to turn half of Granny’s forest into wood chips by the time I’d realized this).
Kudos to myself for realizing that, and for putting any paint on the fucking canvas at all, I suppose.
But when my granny reminded me today that, “It’s the beginning of September,” all I could do was rather unintelligently mumble, “huh”…
She nods once in my direction with intention while I chew on that and a bite of her masterful meatloaf.
“That happened fast,” I’m forced to take pause and, grudgingly, take some stock of the last few months of summer.
She bounces her eyebrows – I imagine – as if to ask when I’ll be finishing the gate on her fence.
Building (and rebuilding) the van has taught me a few things…among them, if you try something new for the first time and fail often enough, you gotta be careful you don’t get scared of trying something new for the first time ever again…
Being willing to pick yourself up and dust yourself off is not only a hallmark of a good outlaw, and a great yogi, but also those wanting to wander down the DIY van life.
Between the galley workbench in the van and Granny mocking me from across the table, I realized I had to do something…
I cleaned up my workspace, swapped out some charging batteries, and slapped a coat of paint on a panel…
Sometimes cleaning up your desk isn’t just a procrastination technique, but a valuable step back onto track and towards productivity.
Mine had gotten as tangled and confused as my list of unfinished projects itself…
Working Granny’s little farm has taught me that there are some days you just spend doing tool maintenance…but, if you don’t, the quality of your work will eventually suffer for it.
I swapped out the chain on the chainsaw, filled it with chain oil, and organized a pile of materials.
Around the end of the year, we all tend to take inventory of what we got or did not get done…this year, I’m trying a little trick and taking that inventory ahead of time in an attempt to wring some productivity out of myself in the present time.
(Sort of like the old zen trick of ‘pretending you’re already dead’ to work up the necessary courage to make a bold choice.)
I take a second to take stock…
Even if I haven’t finished building out the van, I have finished Granny’s fence (minus the gate), and I have made a pretty cool fence and campsite.
(This doesn’t seem to impress her in face of the missing gate, btw.)
I remind her that though she’s never seen Zombieland, it’s important to enjoy and to – celebrate – the little things…even if it’s just to keep yourself sharp in the mind.
Might be worth stopping to take some time to celebrate a couple of your own summer victories…big or small. Be kind to yourself in a quick journal or mental inventory, embellishing what you would deem to be a victory even if it means taking a few seconds to celebrate that you saved a few bucks by switching to Geico…
Granny always starts the summation of her productivity in a given day by saying that she ‘made her bed’ so maybe let that be your threshold?
When she does list her day’s accomplishments as I clear the plates from dinner, it reminds me that we can find a measure of joy in celebrating the success of others even if we’re having a hard time celebrating our own. In Sanskrit Mudita means finding vicarious joy in the success, victory, accomplishment etc. of another – opposite of the German Schadenfreude though that can be a source of mirth as well.
Either can be enough to buoy the spirits when you need it most (one’s just a little more fucked-up).
This summer two friends of mine travelled the length of the Colorado Trail, simultaneously inspiring me and making me envious, and maybe there’s a bit of both mixed in with that emotion mixed in with some good ol’ fashioned positive peer pressure?
And who’s to say that can’t be an effective recipe for making motivation? Sort of like telling a kid who won’t eat his carrots that there’s starving kids in Africa while you pummel his brother with yours.
Whatever comes up as you take stock of the last few months, you might take a moment to roll those victories – yours, or another’s – up into a productive ball of inspiration and motivation, and squeeze them up into…a few more months of productivity out of shorter and shorter days…
(Did your mind autofill a different end to that last sentence?)
Spoiler alert – in only a few short months we’re all going to be kicking ourselves for all the shit we didn’t get done this calendar year, so why not kick it up a notch and consciously pack it in, Outlaws?!
And if you aren’t going to kick it up a notch, perhaps you could at the very least, be dressed and ready for fall in the brand-new Outlaw gear available for pre-order!
The days are getting shorter fast up here in the north, and the leaves have already started falling…that means the southern sunset is next so ‘make some hay while the sun shines’! This concludes your friendly heads-up…
Good luck, Outlaws!
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Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is the best-selling yoga teacher and renowned creator of Outlaw Yoga. Author. Artist. Adventurer. Take his class NOW at outlawyogaclub.com and www.youtube.com/outlawyoga. Find his writing and art at www.justinkaliszewski.com and his presence all over the internet – for an outlaw, he’s shockingly easy to get ahold of.