Friday, April 17, 2009

The Art of Patience (or lack there-of)

OK, I'm an odd duck, clearly.

My work assignment is going through a lot of transition. I've spent the
past year and a half working very hard on a program that's going through
major fundamental shifts. I've gone from being the center of knowing
what's happening and key to making things happening to waiting. I've
spent a lot of time traveling, being highly stressed trying to get
foundation pieces in place, and building bridges between team members.
All of that has taken a lot of energy and focus.

Suddenly everything has stopped.

It's like I've been working and plowing and tending this plot of land
with all my energy. Now it's stop doing that. Go stand over there,
there will be new land to tend soon, but we don't know what we're
planting so we don't know what you need to do. Or if we'll even need
you to do anything, soon, later, ever.

I've been in "wait mode" for probably a whole day and a half... that's a
sign of something, or lack of something.

I have one assignment that will probably take about 2 days to complete
and that's only if I engineer it to death. And I'm not sure it's even
needed anymore, but it's probably a good career move to complete it. I
have completed the mandatory training I needed to do for the year. I
have a bunch of "fill-in" type work: how to transition this, what needs
to happen to wrap that up and put it on a shelf for later, that kind of
thing. I have some research I would like to do, learning about concepts
and content for some of the major functionality I've heard bandied about
but don't have a firm grasp on (or maybe I do, but I don't realize
that). So I could fill up my days and keep busy, at least for a while.

But I'm really bad at the "keep busy" thing. And keep in mind this is
working on Day #2... hmmmm. "Sign of something" repeats.

So today I've researched graduate schools. Do I want to do to something
for my work resume that would help me there? Leadership. Project
Management. Why? For the 5 years left I have before I hopefully
retire? To work towards a promotion I don't want? If I wanted this
graduate degree to be "all about me", I'd have a different focus. Art
history. Systems thinking. Do I want to spend the next couple of years
filling up my hours and use my energy on this? Maybe. I don't know.

Or are there other classes I could take? Exercise maybe. Yoga. Belly
dancing. Tai Chi. Maybe art classes. Painting. Glass art. Something
to re-spark my creativity juices. Master gardener . Why? Do I need
something to make me "recognized expert"? Maybe. Recognized expert for
whom? Or are there some short-time-commitment (like a couple of hours)
type classes for making cards (although I don't know what I'd do with
these. It's not like I send a bunch of cards very often.). But I
always have a great time when I create them. I'm back to the old
mind-set that says "I can't write because what will I do with all the
journals I fill up" instead of just enjoying the creative process and
stop worrying about the results.

It's not like I lack things to do that are creative that I could do on
my own. I just bought an embroidery sewing machine and I haven't even
powered it up. I'm afraid this will be too hard or I won't be any good
at it. Hmmmm . Patient with learning? And with myself? Doesn't sound
like it much, does it? I guarantee having it stay in the box does not
improve my skill. But then again, it doesn't prove me to be totally
incompetent either. Right now, the box is winning. I have stained
glass cabinet windows to build. Scrapbook pages to make. Writing to
do. Watercolors to paint. Oils to paint. Pictures to take. I have
other creativity adventures, like planting my container gardening and
working in the yard, which I actually enjoy.

And here I sit, trying to figure out how to use up my energy in
"constructive" ways. Geez. I've been here and I'm here again. What
happens if work is an 8-hour a day job that doesn't leave me feeling
wiped out? What happens if I'm actually bored? Can I survive that?
Can my ego deal with not being in the center? Can I wait more than a
day and a half before trying to change that?

I'm back to watering the plants again. To stop thinking so much and
just doing. It's OK to not work on the projects on my "should list" and
do what calls. I know that. The logic piece of my brain knows that.
But the link between knowing and actually taking the leap of faith is
lacking. I stand here firm in the conviction that I know action of
doing for me is what's needed and the terror of actually moving in that

What if I'm no good at "x" (whatever "x" is)? So what? So here I
stand. Frozen in fear and guilt. What if I've wasted years waiting for
"the perfect time" to create? And what if I now have that perfect time
and I waste it? You wouldn't think this would be that hard. But here I
stand, afraid to move unless movement means working toward some goal
that is totally focused and all consuming and leaves me exhausted but
sounds important. And leaves the rest of my artistic soul with the now
repeating "hold button" blinking away again. In the spirit of the Nike
slogan: "just do it". If it were only that easy. Maybe it is. And
I'll feel like an idiot for waiting and wasting.

But, none the less, here I stand, waiting.