It feels sometimes like we/I spend too much time setting goals and figuring out what we want to achieve. I think it is an obsession with our society and I think I think about it too much. I often wish I could live a simpler life without all the modern day distractions. A few days ago I read an article in the paper version of The Globe and Mail about there being a movement towards living a minimalist life unemcumbered by “conventional trappings of success,” aka the American dream–I think you can also call it the Canadian dream. As the article by Michael Posner reveals, this yearning for a simpler life has already manifested itself in the past from the Greek Epicureans to the counterculture communes of the 60s. Every once in a while movements repeat themselves.
What would a simpler life look like for me? I imagine it would take place around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. There would be sun, water, volcanoes, meaningful work and meaningful interaction with the local population, art, and a simple abode (all this with my partner of course).
This yearning to be in Guatemala emerges when I let it. Like right now, I am taking an online workshop with Lisa Sonora Beam. The workshop is called Creative + Practice. It’s not about making art, it’s about creating tools to map your path, but in a very visual way. I know what I just said above about goal setting, but life is full of contradictions. So far it feels like this course will help me get to where I want to be with less struggle. Where I want to be, I’m realizing, could just be a healthier state of mind. Anyways…I am learning to build habits that allow me to give proper thought and time to thinking about ‘where I want to go.’ For example, we do 2-minute timed writings where we respond to a prompt given to us by Lisa. Each week there’s a new prompt and you respond to the same prompt every day of that week. What happened serendipitously is that I decided to also do 5-minute collages as suggested by Randel Plowman in his book The Collage Workbook. Now, the 2-minute writings had to be paired with a current habit in my life so as to make it easier to make the new habit happen. I do my quick writings after I get up in the morning–after I’ve had my coffee in bed. I then thought why not try the 5-minute collages for a week and pair them with the quick writing? And it worked, I did 5-minute collages every day this past week. Once it was built into another habit (the quick writing) it became only natural to do the quick collages next.
Get up + 2-minute writing + 5-minute collage
I see possibilities for small but significant successes.
The 5-minute collages have been an interesting experience of accidental discovery. I enjoyed trusting my intuition and seeing topics emerge. I got a few ideas on how to refine the exercise. Anyways, this is what emerged: