This blog is about my latest 100 day challenge in which I challenged myself to do three things daily for one hundred days and the amazing changes that I have noticed in my life since I started.
Here are the three goals:
1) Write down something/anything to clarify my directions in painting
2) Keep a gratitude journal
3) Exercise at least twenty minutes daily
Here are my notes on each of the above:
Notes on the first goal - capturing the creative process
If you're a creative type like me, you might recognise the mind-racing-need-to-write-stuff down feelings that happen fairly often. If you are not quick, then the thought is gone and you are left wondering 'what was that good idea again?' (It might not have been good, but lost, it is bad either way).
I can't capture everything so I set myself a smaller goal of recording 'one thing' each day that helps me to capture my directions in paint and colour. Some of my notes are one liners, some are one worders, some are observations about my favourite paintings from history - but together they've painted quite a picture for me about what I'm 'into' in a more formal way than I've ever managed before.
It turns out that colour and defining the right palette in each painting is really important but equally so is pattern making, regular brush work and rhyhms in paint as well as allowing my paintings to be 'born in one sitting' where possible for best results. Some of my notes have things like 'bird and colour study' written down, or 'navy and mustard' (a great fashion combo too) - and I know that birds are a recurring theme as are 'two colours connecting like old friends'. It's kind of a lovely collection of words that I can turn to when I'm staring at a blank canvas wondering where to start. Or in case I need to w*nk on about my work in some kind of intellectual debate which I hope never happens seriously.
Notes on the second goal - keeping a gratitude journal
To be honest I struggled with this one to begin with. I wrote things down like, 'my family' and 'sunny days' but, as time went on, my list of things I was grateful for grew to be relatively lengthy and surprisingly nuanced. 'Avocado and black pepper', 'Barcode trees on the highway' and 'silk on skin after a rose-scented shower'. It's practically a novel waiting to be born!
At around day 60 I noticed that daily gratitude and mindfulness had become more habitual and I was noticing things that I was grateful for as I experienced them. I could leave the 'sit down and think about things to write down' part out altogether.
Now the practice of being grateful daily has morphed further into a collection of haiku - capturing moments, harnessing the wonderful (sometimes horrible too) and sublime in the every day. I'll share some shortly. (Scroll down if you're impatient).
Chasing down the right words to describe single lived moments has been a bit of a challenge but when I read back over them, they are like time travel portals and I am right there again. Plus I miss my previous life as an English teacher where I got to explore words with students as part of my job. I've been nostalgic about teaching lately!
Gratitudinous time travel! (not a real world but sounds good don't you think?)
Notes on my third goal - Daily Exercise
I set myself a relatively minimal goal to try to get back into a habit of exercise. I went for 'achievable' rather than 'challenging' because I am also working full time AND don't forget I have two kids. (I know!) Sometimes, on my treadmill, all three of my goals merged together with a note pad and pen stuffed into the drink bottle holder and random running-scribbles were conjured on the fly. (Whatever works though right? I get up early for this bit!)
I rewarded myself with a sticker chart and put a sticker on teh calendar for each day that I managed my goal. Surprisingly, I was REALLY motivated not to break my running streak (pun intended). I've since added Flow Yoga to the mix and, alternating between running and Yoga, I am feeling lighter, brighter, stronger and slimmer.
A big win recently was taking the kids swimming last weekend and contemplating the not-wearing of my tank top to opt for a bikini instead. (I didn't. Ha ha! Not there yet!) Life goals though right? I'm hardly a svelte Amazon in the water, but I am miles further towards my pre-baby body than I've been in a long time and I am MILES closer to loving my tummy again. (Two C-sections were a bit mean - read my previous post about that wee nugget of hard truth).
Anyway - if you've ever contemplated doing a 100 day goal, I recommend them. This one is my fifth one and each has always yielded fantastic (and often surprising) results.
Here are some of my favourite Haiku from the process. Let me know what you think!
Do you like haiku?
I don't think about haiku,
Fair enough then, babe.
Bedtime, holding on
Her legs feel like kiwifruit
She slips into a new dream.
26 girls all drowned
'More for me' said God.
(sorry that one was a bit bleak)
More comfy than bed
She tells me I'm her favourite
Hurry up and sleep.
Painted roses, sage
No wisdom found in pale green
I must keep painting.
That's all for now. I'd love for you to leave a comment if you liked any of this. X