One Last thing...
This has been a very eventful year for me. And it looks to be, the next few years may be very fruitful because of it. I've delved deep into myself and I feel like I've come up a new man
. With all the tools one needs to be successful. But there is one last bulwark left to break. The rampart that has hindered my foothold from the beginning.Planning.
With all the opportunities and blessings I've received in the last few months, I'm terrified that it will all fall apart still, when it comes time to finally put it all together on my own. It's a fear much less intimidating with real skills and examples to gauge them by. But a fear none the less. Planning was always my strong suit, or so I thought. I could plan my life till the end of days. But nothing ever worked. And when it didn't work, I'd make a plan to make
it work. And it fed on itself like a snake devouring it's own tail. It got so bad, that I became perpetually depressed over my failure to make things happen.
It was almost a year ago that I stopped planning
. I'd realized that it wasn't working. I can't emphasize HOW much I was hurting back then. Frustrated with the world and hating myself. I wanted to give it all up and walk away. So I stopped. Things have been much better ever since. I have done little to no planning in all this time. I've lived almost entirely in the moment since then. And my life has been very good.
I have to say things ARE different now. In those days, God was not my steering wheel... just my spare tire. That's no longer the case. It's no wonder none of my plans worked. I was working against the system. And just as well, I have many more tools at my disposal now to make things happen. Artistically, and otherwise. So the idea of planning is starting to sound reasonable once more.
This brings me to Jeff. How does an artist organize himself, plan ahead, and stay on task through the long haul? Through deadlines, headaches and all of life's curves... how does he keep it going? It fascinates me that Jeff and Ron and some of the other artists at the school are able to do SO much. It would be a futile effort for me to try and explain just HOW much Jeff is able to do. Art, business, exercise, marriage, teaching... doesn't even begin to cover it all. But how does he do it all? And with such CONSISTENCY?
Jeff tells me he was an athlete before he was an artist. He told me that he was never much for the competitive/sports part of athleticism. Though I'm sure he had his fair share of that. But for him, the training was the thing. Rigorous regimines of exercise and a constant pursuit of perfection. It was only natural to apply that to his art as well. He tackles his artistic training with an unrelenting tenacity. Studying every aspect of the art. Anatomy, muscles, old masters, painting styles, etc... You name it, and he's researched it and made it his own. Someone told me that when he left his Atelier in his early twenties, he tracked down all the students that had gone there so he could learn from them as well. Relentless.
It still doesn't explain how he does it... just why he's able
to do it. But that's where the planning comes in. He has goals. Life goals, decade goals, yearly, monthly and daily goals. He has a definite purpose for every day. This day is to work on arms (artistically and physically, I imagine), This is a day to finish this commission, this drawing, teach this class. I don't know yet how specific he actually gets, but I get the feeling it's a lot more than I have ever done. And he's constantly working towards achieving ALL of his goals. And he has. Lists and lists I can see in my mind have been checked off. And not small stuff... once in a lifetime (for most people) stuff. And he's only in his mid thirties. Ron too... has a HUGE list that anyone would be blown away by. It's... Humbling.
Part of Jeff's curriculum is an open invitation to anyone in the class to help them plan their goals. To help them structure their life. I'm looking forward to a little of that guidance. I'll let you know how it goes.
So this is it. After this I will have answered all of my questions. And I'm ready to begin. Maybe someday there will be a need to reflect again. But the next 10 years, at least, are all about living.--Will