Jayne is a writer. On her free time she likes to be with her family hiking outdoors and traveling. New England is her home and place of birth. When asked what she wants to teach the world she replied, "Don't stop searching. Too many times, in my old life, I put my search aside for more 'important matters.' I didn't realize the thing I was searching for held what was most important; my soul purpose." Jayne works daily improving her craft and at times can get down on herself, but her favorite morning mantra is "It's a new day." and that's what she strives to start with.
Are you tired of giving more than you getting? Are you straight up miserable in your life? It might be time to cheat on your lovers with yourself.
There comes a time in your life where you have to step back and look at the bigger picture. What is the bigger picture and how do you step back? How do you become an observer? These are questions to ask when you’re feeling like life isn’t going the way you’d like.
When I step back to observe, I like to think about the decisions I make and how they will affect my future. I’m not usually an in the moment fuck up my future type of person. But don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a little spice here and there. Now that I’m focused on my goals and I’m able to step back and observe, the things that may have fucked up my life in the past have become the things to propel me toward my goals. So how do you look at the bigger picture? First you have to know your goals. What do you want for yourself? What do you want to leave behind? Does any of that matter to you?
When thinking about these things it doesn’t matter how much you fucked up yesterday. All that matters is that in the present you are consistently trying to work toward your future. Working towards a future means a lot of failing until you get there. So, for me, as a writer, it looks like, today I will write 1000 words and I will not sleep until those words are written because I want to write novels for a living. Start making commitments to yourself. Start small and forgive yourself when you miss the mark. Then get back on track.
Another way to look at the big picture is to think about how your choices will affect your environment. Your environment impacts the paths you take to get to your long-term goals. Your environment is impacted by those whose opinion you’d most likely listen to. So, surround yourself with those you respect and support and who would do the same for you, not because you did it for them, but because that’s just who they are. So, you need to build and nurture relationships with those who are interested in you. I’m not talking networking. This is building valuable relationships with people that you’ll miss while they’re away from you. These are the people you invest in on your free time.
And what about those who drive you away from your calling?
It also means staying away from those who drive you away from your calling. Who are they? They are the ones who: ask too much of you even after you say no, don’t support or respect your calling, don’t respect your time, bring you to the point where you’re unable to function properly. Those are the ones you have to love from a distance.
The best way to focus on your goals is to get your goals to weigh heavier than anything else around you.
I had trouble with my temper in the past. Thankfully, with a lot of hard work I’ve learned to control my temper and walk away when I feel myself losing control. But when I’m angry there is no bigger picture. The only thing I can see is the thing that stands in my way. In those moments, I can’t see around it. Even mantras didn’t work for a while because when I reached that point in my anger, the mantras had no weight. They had no meaning. I say this because your bigger picture must weigh heavier than anything else. Your reasons, your values, your disciplines, they have got to be fleshed out so that when something tries to deter you from your goals, you can walk away and feel confident in that decision. And when you start getting confident in yourself, your life is little less miserable. For that moment at least. Then you have to go at it again. You might fail but that’s ok. You’ll get eventually. And your confidence will grow. And you life will become fuller because you’ll start making better choices for yourself and for your future.
Paul Gauguin was a painter who was praised as the leader of the symbolist artists in 1891. This style of painting was inspired by the symbolist writers of the time. In a letter to symbolist poet, critic, and editor of litarary journals Charles Morice, Gauguin says,
…[ There are] two kinds of beauty: one that results from instinct and another which would come from studying. The combination of the two, with its necessary modifications, produces certainly a great and very complicated richness, which the art critic must devote himself to discover….
Art has just gone through a long period of aberration caused by physics, chemistry, mechanics and the study of nature. Artists having lost all their savagery, having lost no more instincts, one could even say imagination, went astray on every path, looking for productive elements which they did not have enough strength to create. Consequently, they act only as a disorderly crowd, they feel frightened like lost ones when they are alone. That is why solitude must not be advised for everyone, since one must have strength to be able to bear it and act alone.
There’s a lot more in this letter than Gauguin’s thoughts on solitude. An artist must learn to art alone. It is in solitude where thoughts come and go freely without the harsh priority of daily chores. When an artist learns to be alone, they gain control of their environment. Like baby turtles they must learn to get from the nest to the ocean without getting lost or snatched up on the way. This requires some instinct and once alone, it requires study. There is an art in arting alone. There is a space where artists must meet themselves and say ok we’re in this together and I’m not leaving you here to drown. It does take a faith in yourself and a great faith in your art.
According to Theories of Modern Art by Herschel B. Chipp, Gauguin thought of himself as “a savage beyond the taint of civilization.” He escaped European civilization and fled to Polynesia where he spent his life painting. All while being pressured by his family to return to business. He painted alone so alone in fact that he did not even have the support of his own wife and family Until. The. Day. He. Died.
He’s right when he says solitude requires strength. I do, however, believe that solitude should be for everyone.