Sunday, November 28, 2010

Investment Lament

There have been times when I think I am 'floating' with a piece of art and after spending a decent amount of time on it, I realize that I don't like what I am looking at. Somewhere in there, I had built an expectation of what I wanted it to look like, and it's not happening. There is then a part of me that wants to make it right-- the part that is invested in the time and the expectation. I want a payoff on my investment! 
   There is another part of me that knows that the investment in time and expectation is just a game in my head. I have successfully built a story about my conditional preferences. And when the story doesn't add up to my expected result, I now have a reason to lament the outcome or try to control the hell out of it.
    This little dance is a game of separation. Instead of being with the process in an unconditional way-- not caring about the outcome, and allowing what is, I have separated myself from that process and made it into a control-based event. I find myself wanting to control the outcome, based on my invested time and expectation. So it becomes me and my big story that is intent on controlling this little piece of art.
   Unconditional allowance= me being the art
   Conditional control= me vs. the art

How many moments in the day are spent this way, taking action based on our investment and expectation, (which we made up to begin with)? Then we get all entitled about getting a payoff for the investment and expectation. Then we set out to control it so we can get the payoff all squared away so we can feel better. A little like tail-chasing:) Why not just be with all of our moments in an allowed way, allowing and accepting what is, and taking action where our intuition tells us to go, instead of clinging to our IDEA of what we are entitled to.
    We sometimes spend so much time protecting our investment, that we can forget the essence of why we spent so much time on something to begin with: our true inner connection with it. 


  1. Hoo-boy! I know where of you speak! Artwork-wise at least. One of the beauties of Zentangle is the small investment in time and materials. I feel much easier saying, "Nope. That didn't come off well." Working on transferring that attitude to larger pieces. I used to make boookmarks from the great bits of failed drawings. Now I'm into ATCs. :-)

  2. Interesting ideas.Mostly I just have fun with the zentangles.I free up with this type of drawing.The pen sort of goes where it wants,and I end up with some surprising results.I always start of with a small idea of where I am headed, but it soon takes off in another direction.
    With other kinds of drawing I do what you describe above...too much thinking.

  3. Like you say, that is the beauty of Zentangle! It's a great way to exercise the letting go of the investment. It's easy to do with such a small piece of art. What is learned from letting go of a Zentangle, can be applied to those 'larger' issues, whether it be a piece of art, or even a life changing situation.

  4. It is so nice to know that I'm not alone in this thought. When it starts to creep up on me I try to remind myself that it is the process of making my art that brings me joy. When it comes to putting my work out into the world, I also remind myself that everyone has different tastes and just because a piece didn't meet my expectations doesn't mean it won't be loved by someone else. I recently had a wonderful experience that reinforced this. I have been making zentangle-inspired necklaces that have a tangled bamboo tile as the centerpiece. There was one that I finished but really didn't like how it turned out. I was visiting my sister-in-law last week and told her I would love for her to have one if she she liked them. Out of the seven I brought along to show her, she picked out the one that I almost threw away -- it was her favorite. You just never know...

  5. Thanks for sharing that story, Diane. That really shows how judgmental ideas start in our own heads. Good for you that you kept the piece anyway, and that it was such a part of someone else's pleasure, and your own personal reminder. You are so right... we never really know, so why bother judging it? Love that story.

  6. This translates into an ongoing conversation that I've been having with a friend--art, life, love, etc. Her question to me at one point was "do you want to be right or do you want to be free?" In many instances, being right or operating up to standard meant free. It doesn't take long to feel how restrictive that thinking can be. My early zentangle experience is showing me another definition of free. Like what if there's not a standard that I choose to chase? What if what comes out of me and my pen is exactly right for me, for this moment, for my learning...? Not new concepts but the loveliness of the images helps them penetrate old habits with fun and ease and interesting-to-look-at outcomes!
    Thanks for this great resource and the conversations. I'm learning so much.

  7. I love those questions, Karen... Thanks for sharing that!


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