Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Thoughts on Responsible Committing

I haven't written in a while. Life has been full and there hasn't been much time for deep thoughts or even shallow ones! When I started writing blog posts I promised myself I would write every week or two, I kept the commitment pretty loose. I knew I couldn't handle a "I'll post every Tuesday at 12:00 sharp" commitment on top of all my other priorities. Without the fixed time for posting the inevitable happens: time flies. But while I am sorry that I haven't posted and amazed at how much time has passed, I'm not feeling guilty and this is good, this is progress!

I'm one of those people who gets very Type A about commitments. If I say I'll meet you at 11:00 for coffee I'll be there at 10:55 at the latest. If I say something will be done for Thursday it will be unless there is "an act of God or Parliament". I"m not saying this is a good thing: I'm just saying this is how I am wired. So I have learned to be pretty careful about what I commit to because I am going to hold myself accountable and there is just too much stress involved in not meeting the mark.

There is so much temptation out there that sometimes we get off track on our goals and commitments! Whatever I want to know I can find out with just a few keystrokes on a computer or tablet. One question can lead to hours lost in Google searches and "squirrel" moments. There is always more, more, more and it comes to us fast! We want to do everything and we want to do it right now! It has lead us to a place where there is no longer a sense of the need to develop skill slowly, with practice and over time. We want to do it all and we want to do it now! This is the age of the instant expert.

Since I joined the world of Facebook I see so many juicy opportunities to join groups and challenges and swaps. I see things I want to try and things I tried years ago and haven't thought of doing since. I see colours and combinations of images used in so many different ways that if I could I would be sewing and painting and drawing and tangling and reading nonstop, barely taking time to breath or eat. Or create. Or think....

That is the problem for me and maybe for you to. It is like being a kid in a candy shop with an unlimited budget and no parental guidance. You can get stuck on the sweet notes and spin out of control on a sugar high. You forget that life, like a diet, must be more balanced. It must contain inspiration, which the online world offers in an unending stream, but it must also contain substance and nutritious foods that give you the strength for hard work and deep thought. You also need time to think, time when you aren't eating, or thinking about eating, or shopping! And a healthy life includes exercise which in the art world means time on task, time with a brush or pen or pencil or needle in your hand.

So I need to commit responsibly in all areas of my life but especially on social media. After a little over a year on Facebook I have too many groups that I am following and this week I am going to pare that down a little. I've been really diligent about how much time I spend each day just looking and I make sure that time comes from places on the schedule that aren't intended for work or personal relationships. or exercise.

This year I've only committed to two art group challenges and I am proud to say that I chose well. I have kept up with those projects and seen real growth in my own work while finding inspiration and camaraderie within those communities. Square One, a tangling page that I have written about before, is almost a year old and continues to be a focused and invigorating group which I highly recommend. I've used it to challenge myself to do at least one Zentangle tile each week that pushes me, and often the focus tangle, outside my tangling comfort zone. The other group is one I started for myself when I couldn't find a group to satisfy my artistic needs. It is called Our Tangled Lives and is a closed community of tanglers who want to explore journalling with tangling, paper arts and text in a safe and supportive small group. I've learned so much from these women and I am thrilled that so many of them have made the commitment to the group and to themselves to work on the weekly prompts. I have posted a few albums of images from my monthly journals on my Facebook page,

Between my own personal art goals, my commitment to writing every day, my Facebook groups and all the rest of the things that go to making a life and being a wife and mother, my days are busy and that suits me just fine. Having firm goals and a fixed routine works for me, keeps me from frittering precious hours on unimportant things. What I've learned is that those goals and commitments have to be chosen carefully and responsibly and realistically if they are going to be worthwhile and successful. I'm much happier and more productive when I commit responsibly. I also have to remember that I have to give myself some leeway to blur the lines a little from time to time!

And speaking of responsible commitment, I'd like to end by saying that my parents have been a shining example of this. We are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this weekend.  They chose well when they chose each other. They have always had strong, mutual goals and have worked hard to build a good home, a supportive marriage and an enviable retirement plan. I've been lucky to have them as role models in my life and for my marriage.


  1. Cherryl, I agree with you, Facebook, while wonderful, it's a major time suck. I can't believe how many hours slip by.. and just like you, I had headed to the computer to ask Google a question, and got lost. Anne Grasso told us at TangleU, that nowadays, on average, people accumulate as much knowledge in one day as our parents did in their lifetimes. It's information overload. I see it affecting me so much. I really really am glad you started Our Tangled Lives, you are taking me on a journey, you, and all of our wonderful friends. I hope your party goes well! :)

  2. I love the way you write, Cherryl. It seems to just spill out so naturally and I find myself constantly agreeing with you. It's like you crystallize my own thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and thereby helping me clarify my own intentions.

  3. I am happy to have read this piece on commitment. It is so easy to fall down the well of too many projects, not enough time and personal frustration. You made me remember the reason I love art, my projects and especially the commitment it takes to stay on solid ground. In the past seven months my life has been hurry scurry and some things undone because there are too many things to do and I have become disorganized. So I thank you for your inspirational writing and reminding myself that I cannot or do not have to commit to everything. Your journal pages are wonderful.

  4. Enjoy your thoughts and your blog. Thank you.

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