Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I like questions. I like to be challenged. So here goes ...
Firstly, I don't really do "solid conclusions". I enjoy ideas, concepts, conversations, discussions. But wrapping them up and coming to conclusions frustrates me. I'm aggravated by people who ask me "So, what are you going to DO?" The trouble is, those people are essential to me and I need them in my life and experience ... as long as they don't expect to be loved and appreciated for it. So the comment about conclusions annoyed me at first, and then provoked me ... and now I'm really glad of it! Fickle, eh?
Secondly, it wasn't a scientific experiment. I deliberately didn't set specific goals or clear parameters. It was more of an intuitive thing. I wanted to change the shape and structure of my life in terms of my location, my work, my relationships. I was feeling stuck and wanted to shake things up to see how they landed. Overall, I think that happened and I'm happy with the outcome, though it hasn't been all that I secretly hoped for.
My aim was "to develop and explore a new plan and framework together with some guiding principles that would influence and determine decisions and actions regarding my future." (I just made that up).
So, having waffled around for a while, here are some specific outcomes from my 100 days.
I moved out of my flat in Cardiff. I was feeling increasingly isolated there and the costs were becoming unmanageable. This was a big thing for me as the flat had been a 'bolt-hole' for me for the last 3 years. Also, I hadn't moved house on my own before. You may recall I blogged about all that.
I wanted a more mobile lifestyle - moving, living and working between South, Mid and North Wales. I wanted to explore whether such a lifestyle was possible, and how it would feel in practice. I didn't intend to put anything permanent in place during that 100 days. From the outset, this mobility proved to be feasable (feasible? - I haven't found the spellcheck on Google Docs yet!) and enjoyable, though often tinged with insecurity and loneliness. However, due to other factors, I haven't been able to sustain this. I intend to get back on track, though, as this was the most successful outcome. The friends I've made and the support I've received has been amazing. It will require money and momentum to do long-term but it's the direction I am taking. I'm bound to get lost along the way - because that's what I do - but I can see where I want to go.
I guess my main disappointment, to be honest, is that some of the relationships haven't yet developed as well as I'd have liked, and some of the collaborations that seemed possible may take a while longer to work out.
Also, working "on-the-go", as it were, has been difficult though I've managed to produce a surprising amount of work! Maybe challenges and constraints are good for me! (I so hope that's not true ...)
During the 100 days I obviously thought a lot about things. I looked at where I am - physically, emotionally and spiritually - and where I want to get to. I identified fences, or barriers, that I have to overcome and I've begun to work out how to do that. I also realised that I'm now seeing further that I have done for a long time. I used to be able to see clearly but I lost that. It's good to think it may be coming back, albeit in a different context.
I'm writing all this while I'm feeling fairly positive about things - as you can probably tell! There are on-going problems and pressures and I'm leaving out some of the crap. Also, I know it may seem a little vague and inconclusive, but that's partly because I try to avoid identifying specific events, places and people.
Friday, April 24, 2009
a similar idea or pattern to a series of events.
A long time ago - when I had a proper job - I worked in a big open-plan office with lots of people.
losing the thread
to not be able to understand something because you are not giving it all your attention
It's been a funny old week.
hanging by a thread
to be in danger of having something unlucky or bad happen
picking up the thread
to try to start something again, especially after problems prevented you from continuing
So I'm back on track ... fences, clouds, landscapes.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Drawing Myself Out
Sometimes I'm sitting there, wondering what to do, when I realise I've got my coat on and I'm heading out of the door. It seems I'm going out.
Another time, I will be wondering what to have for supper only to find myself standing in front of an open fridge eating chorizo straight from the packet.
Recently my mind has been going over my 100 Day's experience, trying to make sense of it. But the other day I realised that my body has known for weeks.
For some time I've been going out most days and sketching. I hardly even think about it - I just seem to do it compulsively. Page after page of drawings. And it was only at the weekend that I realised that I've been drawing the same thing over and over again. I looked back through my A6 sketchbook that is always in the car with me. I was curious to see what I'd been up to.
Distant hills and fields, dotted with trees and bushes and criss-crossed with hedges and fences.
I'm beginning to see further.
For a time the only distance I could see - or handle - was from one drink to the next. Then it extended to one day at a time. I'm starting now to imagine what the next couple of years could be like. Although I hadn't realised that until I saw what I had been drawing.
I think that's the biggest result of my 100 Day experiment.
I haven't yet started making mountains out of mashed potato, but it can't be far away.
Friday, April 10, 2009
But I wasn't going to be put off so easily. I would argue vigourously against all the so-called objections. My most potent argument was to say "Pah!". This had the effect of generally winding people up and making them think that maybe I was serious. I was.
During that time I read dozens of books about the American Presidency including many on how the White House administration actually operated. I needed to know if I was going to step into the role of Chief Executive. It was then that I came across the concept of the first 100 days of the Presidency being the most crucial in terms of setting out new policy initiatives and establishing a new framework for government.
The first 100 days of any new endeavor is said to be the most critical and vulnerable time of all - whether it's a new business, leadership challenge, start-up initiative, team or special project, a new Presidency ... or just me.
By the way, this phase ended suddenly. I was once again in a 'heated debate' with a small group of people about my seemingly preposterous ambition. One woman - a good friend - sat listening quietly but with a head of steam obviously starting to build. When she could hold in her exasperation no longer, she blurted out "For goodness sake, people, IT'S A METAPHOR!
From then on, I didn't feel the need to make such a song and dance about it.
What it was a metaphor for is another story for another day.
Well, my 100 days are up.
And not just for me:
I didn't actually time my 100 Days to coincide with Barack Obama, though it was a trigger in my thought process.
How's it gone?
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Head in the clouds
But I've been thinking for some time that 'it' might have some shape and form ... but how to depict that?
I'm thinking clouds.
I like the way they come and go, move across the sky, change shape, and affect our environment, our lives and our moods.
I like the different shapes they make.
Some people look at them and see pictures in them. I don't do that. If you show me an inkblot I see an inkblot. Same with clouds.
(But I draw the line at this: http://cloudappreciationsociety.org/)
You can tell what the weather is going to be like according to cloud formations.
Or next door's cat.
Every Saturday morning (when I'm staying at my Dad's), Elwyn from next door comes in and tells us where the cat is. If it's gone upstairs it means it's going to rain.
But I digress.
Clouds are white because they reflect the light of the sun. Light is made up of the colours of the rainbow (the primary ones being red, blue and green) and when you add them all together you get white. Clouds reflect all the colours the exact same amount so they look white. Except when they look grey, obviously. Or pink. But you get the idea.
An important element of my visual language is colour. I use colour to represent different things. Often I use the primary colours to represent light. And then that white light is perfectly broken down into its constituent colours in a rainbow (not sure where I'm going with this except that I did do a picture once that I titled "Richard Of York" because it depicted the colours of the rainbow).
When you see clouds, you know something is coming.
And finally ...