Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Balancing Act

It wasn't until I became a mother that I realized I am someone who ADORES her alone time. Night on the town or staying home to read/create/hunker down? No contest. Totally the introvert me.

I've known for a long time that I was pretty comfortable with my own company, not needing a busy social life or doing things with a group. In high school I committed the ultimate sacrilege and often went to the mall by myself. Many of my girlfriends did this as a group activity, they couldn't understand why I'd want to do this alone. Crazy renegade!

Because there is sometimes this misperception, that needing time alone means you are shunning the people around you. Or that you don't care about them. Not the case at all.

I learned once that extroverts recharge their batteries by being with others. While introverts recharge their batteries by being alone. I'm so all over that. Introvert all the way.

But no, it was not until I was married and had a child that I realized I actually NEEDED that time to do things alone. Like, for my very survival. Seriously.

So, these days, living with my small family in a very small cabin and working outside the home, time alone is rare indeed. Adjusting has been, well, let's say, tricky. My son and husband might use a different word.

And to add even more to this already crowded equation, I've recently been tapping into my creative artistic self and I have found that I create best in a very quiet place. Needing to hear my inner voice without any distractions. To find the stillness within (which fuels the outward expression of my creativity), I prefer silence. Okay, sometimes with music. But definitely no talking.

How the heck does one do that? That has been my burning question.

Deep, the online class I'm taking, I finally got a glimpse of what the answer might be.

And it kinda blew me away.

One of our exercises was to last 30 minutes, completely uninterrupted. Oh, right.
I figured I'd have to do it after 10:00pm, when everyone was asleep and I was exhausted and actually kinda too tired to paint.

Instead, I approached this exercise with my Devotion for this course ~ LOVE. And that meant loving myself and not waiting until 10:00 at night. It also meant that I was going to do this with my son home with me on a school holiday. And so I also approached it with LOVE for him and his needs, knowing he's only 6, expecting him to not need me for 30 minutes straight would be asking a bit much (and nigh impossible!). But with LOVE I also sat down and explained to him what I was doing, what I needed, and what I would like from him. Emergency interruptions only. Since I was approaching this with LOVE though, and not my usual place of "lack of time" and "frustration in trying to find space for myself," I could allow for brief interruptions if need be.

I also knew that I wanted to be in the moment. To not worry about "finishing" the painting. To just be one with the brush. To take my time and not hurry just because there was a timer.

So, intention set!

How'd it go?

Oh my gosh. It went great!
Of course my son interrupted, one emergency was not being able to find his new Lego fire truck. To a 6 year old, that is a 5-alarm fire emergency. So each time he needed something, I reminded him what I was doing, and probably much to his surprise as much as my own, he was able to problem solve all by himself! He found the fire truck, and other things, without my help.

What I discovered is that by coming from a place of LOVE and not frustration, wow, duh, I got LOVE back! He'd come over and whisper... "I like your painting mama."

And my inner voice, the creative flow? They didn't go away! I was able to stop, and then go back and continue. I was able to go into and out of it and woo-hoo it kept flowing! It felt so right!

The best thing was how FAST the time went, and not out of "lack" of time, but because I was so in the flow and into the listening and painting itself.
Totally present!
Totally present in painting, totally present in helping my son, totally present in feeling the LOVE!


Now, to bring this LOVE, this approach through LOVE into every. moment. of. my. life.

I can do it!
The moral of this story?
Well, I still love having my alone time, that I will say, but, there are alternatives, and all it took was a new approach. A new way of problem solving. A new way of looking at the world.
With LOVE as my lens, the world is looking rosy indeed.
One of my exercises from Deep.


  1. You inspire me to no end...really you make me think about life in a new way. I had already incorporated my 3 year old into my artwork in fact she now asks to create on her own. I have a now 6 month old which is a little harder but my hope is to bring them both in to embrace creation. And there is NOTHING better than when my daughter says, "Great colors Mom" or "Great job I love..." it allows kids to grow I think while giving us the space to create ....a need as important as breathing to me. LOVE this, Tracy thank you!

  2. Tracy, This is sooooo beautiful! I hope you are celebrating how you are approaching things with love, for your patience, for your creative problem solving! Inspiring indeed! :)
    Your paintings are beautiful too!

  3. I am so honored to be in this practice with you! You speak to my heart and inspire me to keep going, keep painting and keep Love foremost in my intentions. So much to learn here ... thank you!
    xo Lis

  4. I can't believe I'm just seeing this...I LOVE it! Yes, yes, and yes. Mommy-hood, art and all.

  5. Hi Tracy, I'm in week 4 of BIG right now and Connie steered me over to your post after I wrote a blog post about my frustration with art making and motherhood. I will let what you wrote do some marinating. Thank you. Please feel free to point me to any other posts you've written on this topic!