Procrastination or “Can’t We Talk About This Later?”

I procrastinate.

What I procrastinate doing though doesn’t always stay the same. However, the most frustrating procrastinations in my life has been about being consistent in working  towards  my artistic goals.  (ie getting out there and getting er done) .  A friend of mine has a saying that goes like this…Frustration is not understanding.  OK, this makes sense to me, and I am extremely frustrated with myself for the procrastination cycle I have put myself through over the years.  So today I felt inspired to explore this lack of understanding.

Steven Kotler, a writer for Psychology Today published on September 01, 2009, an article titled “Escape Artists” that explored the issue of procrastination.

Psychologists define procrastination as a gap between intention and action. Chronic procrastinators feel bad about their decisions to delay—which helps distinguish procrastination from laziness. Laziness involves a lack of desire; with procrastination, the desire to start that project is there, but it consistently loses out to our appetite for delay. And this is no ordinary delay. Procrastination is considered a needless, often irrational delay of some important task in favor of a less important, but seemingly more rewarding, task. And that accompanying negative feeling—the gnawing guilt, the building anxiety—is one way we know we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do.

My house is clean, my garden is harvested, my dogs got a bath, I started this blog, I have spent hours researching new employment, I take care of the livestock (chickens and goats) and I surf the web for inspiration et cetera.  I am not a lazy person. Far from it I work all the time.  But…

“It is always about choice,” observes Canadian psychologist Timothy Pychyl. And that makes procrastination quintessentially an existential problem. “We’re given a certain amount of time and we have to use it,” he says.

“It’s the acts of omission that lead to our biggest regrets in life. Where do we choose to invest ourselves?” Procrastination, he contends, bumps right up against our commitment “to whom it is we are trying to be in life.”

“Whom are you trying to be in this life?”  Hmmmmm mulling this over.

For nearly 40 years, psychologists have tried to identify the core foible. Some think perfectionism is the problem; others find anxiety at its heart.  And there are those who see it as a self-handicapping predicament resulting from a fear of failure.

University of Calgary psychologist Piers Steel has defined  four interlinked variables that correlate to procrastination…these are:

A person’s expectancy for succeeding at a given task, the value of the task, a person’s need for immediate gratification-their sensitivity to its delay and impulsiveness.

Expectancy of success is essentially a measure of confidence. The more confident you are, the less likely you are to put off a task.

Look at What You’ve Already Achieved

And write those achievements down.

Think About Your Strengths

Think about what your friends would consider to be your strengths and weaknesses. From these, think about the opportunities and threats you face.

Think About What’s Important to You, and Where you Want to Go

Set some achievable goals

Start Managing Your Mind

Learn to recognize and defeat the negative self-talk which can destroy your confidence.

Ten Affirmations for Attracting Confident Self Mirrors.
1. I attract people that support and inspire me on my journey.
2.   My life is full of healthy interactions.
3.   I have an abundant social network full of like minded friends and acquaintances.
4.   I am enriched by the people I meet everyday.
5.   I am loved by my family.
6.   I let go of unhealthy attachments to people and situations.
7.   I am not perfect, but I am perfectly me.
8.   I accept myself for who I am.
9.   I am likable, lovable, and wonderful to be around when I am genuinely me.
10. I love myself

And Then Commit Yourself to Success!

Value

Task value is a combination of two factors: how much fun this particular job is and what it means to you and your life. The more fun, the more meaning, the less procrastination.

MAKE

IT

FUN!!!

Gratification

Value of the now..over the later

The need for instant gratification looks at both how much time will pass before you are rewarded for doing the job and how badly you need a reward for its completion.

Procrastination reflects the difficulty of coping with some aspects of modern society with hunter-gatherer brains because our forebears lived in a world without delay.

  • Practicing meditation to achieve a clearer picture of your own mental habits and impulses can help increase gratification. Mindfulness meditation is particularly good for this, as the individual learns that they do not have to obey those thoughts that push for instant gratification.
  • Having clear goals that you really desire, will make it easier to delay gratification. It will mean that you have a good reason for making sacrifices now.
  • Mental visualizations of how good it will be to achieve a goal will encourage making the necessary sacrifices now.
  • Be wary of any claims of instant results. Most things that are worthwhile in life involve at least some initial sacrifice.
  • It is important to learn how to appreciate the process of achieving things rather than just wanting to get to the goal as fast as possible. There can actually be a great deal of pleasure to be found in the process of making dreams a reality.
  • It is a good idea to keep a journal. (Or a blog?) This will allow you to track your progress in the journey.
  • Once you begin to experience the benefits of deferring gratification it becomes easier to do – it eventually becomes a habit.
  • Delaying gratification does not mean that you need to postpone your enjoyment of life. The ideal situation is to live in the moment but plant positive seeds for the future.

Distraction

Finally, impulsiveness measures how easily distracted you are. The more readily you succumb to distraction, the greater the chance you’ll procrastinate.

Procrastination

E-mail, voice mail, video-on-demand, Web surfing, and the like—”you couldn’t design a worse working environment if you tried,” insists Steel.

Steel would have us help ourselves by reconfiguring our immediate world to fit our brains, at least when we need to work. It’s not just a matter of shutting off your e-mail. Go that extra step and remove the icon entirely from your desktop. And while you’re at it, turn off the ringer on the phone.

So, there is a bit to chew on.  Now I think I had better start on a list or two…after I get some studio time in that is!

Advertisements

Rainbow With No End

As You can see, I live in a beautiful place!

Crestone Colorado

 Since I moved here I have seen more rainbows than any other location I have ever been.  I recently started an abstract series featuring water, fire and rainbows (among other things).  As I was contemplating my first one of this series, I discovered connections in the archetype of a rainbow to myself, to others and onward. 

Rainbows are a symbol of hope, protection and new beginnings.

The birth of each rainbow begins with millions of tiny rain droplets.  The rain droplets serve as a type of reflector of light.  White light enters one individual rain droplet and exits as one specific color of the spectrum.  Without millions of rain droplets, a rainbow would not occur.   I see this as a metaphor of us as the Human race.  Each one of us is a reflector of light, and we are not intended to be isolated from each other.  When light enters our being, it combines with our unique characteristics, making our unique color statement to the world. 

If you only had a few rain droplets you would only see a few colors.  This is typically why rainbows appear after a storm.

Each rain droplet has a function in the formation of the rainbow. Sunlight enters the rain droplet at a specific angle and the rain droplet separates the white light into many different colors.  This angle is a fixed measurement between your eye and the sun. What color is refracted depends upon the critical angle,  which is the angle the sunlight strikes the back of the rain droplet.

 In Alchemy, the most powerful combination of elements is the combination of fire and water.  A rainbow is one representation of this combination.  Another archetypal meaning of the rainbow…great power.

Red light bends the least, exiting the rain droplet at a 42 degree angle, while Violet light bends the most, exiting the rain droplet at a 40 degree angle.  All of the other colors of the rainbow exit the rain droplets at some angle between 40 and 42 degrees, thus making up the colors of the rainbow…Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. This order never changes.  

Our color wheel is a depiction of this order.

Each rain droplet reflects all colors at a given point and time, but only one color comes back to your eye, requiring million of rain droplets to create a rainbow.  As the rain droplets fall through the sky, the colors of the spectrum being reflected and refracted are constantly changing.

Rainbows form a complete circle, however only half is visible.     

Picture from the web site of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Arizona State University

The horizon only allows us to see half of the rainbow circle, so we see just an arc. 

For me, there is an uncanny connection to this fact and the Native American Medicine Wheel.

The Medicine Wheel is many things on many various levels and has many different meanings and uses. It is a circle which represents natural and personal powers in complete balance, and which shows that everything is interconnected and part of one cosmic whole. It is the circle of awareness of the individual self, and a circle of knowledge that gives power over one’s life. It is a shamanic map, or philosophical system, that can be used as a guide to help us find our way and ground us when we embark on inner journeys. We can use it to understand ourselves as well as life itself. It can be used for finding direction in life and for aligning physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realities. And, we can use it to attune to Earth influences and to the natural energies that affect their lives.

Other cultures have special meanings associated with the rainbow as well.  Remember the Irish the rainbow and their pot-of-gold?  The unique thing about this story is the special trait that a rainbow has…it can never be reached.  As you move towards it, it moves away at equal speed.  The Irish have a special sense of humor…they knew this about rainbows.

 As we look to the rainbow, on an archetypal level we are reminded to look within.  In the lovely song above is a line that says..”follow the fellow that follows a dream”.  Our rainbow, our pot-of-gold lies within us.  Attuning with Earths influences starts with paying attention.  Next time you see a rainbow then, remember YOU are a glowing droplet in this universe and the power of fire and water lives within you. 

KARENKO YOTE My New WordPress Name!

Image

STORM COMING

Sounds kind of Asian doesn’t it?  Well this new development was completely accidental.  I was surfing the templates  looking for one that worked best for my intent, when I tried this one.  At first I was confused..I thought Hey, why did they put the designer name on there so prominently? I thought this because I saw an asian name (in my head).

Now this got me thinking…

We as human beings associate certain responses with visual stimuli.

(Now I do apologize for bringing out the professional jargon, but I do have two Masters degrees and sometimes I just cannot help myself.  Please don’t hold this against me.)

What this means is…as we are growing up, (or coming up as the Southern might say) we store EVERYTHING that happens to us in our brains, laying down neural pathways in the process.  The more we have the same experience or response to any event (stimulus) the more automatic becomes our reaction  (response).  Look at it like walking down the same path day after day.  After a while the path becomes more and more distinct and noticeable   And if it is traversed often enough, it becomes deep.  Here comes the old saying..becoming “stuck in a rut”

We all do this and I am no exception.  Ruts can be comfortable though uncomfortable.  Comfortable because they are familiar, uncomfortable because they are..well…ruts!

I decided to do something about a year ago to jar me out of a rut or two.  I joined a group of Plein Aire (that means painting on location outside in a fancy French way) painters led by Coni Grant (love her work!) in Alamosa, Colorado.  I really hadn’t done much of this before and it was (still is) quite the rut jumper!

The painting above was one of my first gos at this.  I was standing in the mud in front of my full size easel trying to figure out where to put everything. (They make nice compact easels for this purpose but I didn’t have one).  I muddled through and was doing OK when the wind started coming up.  BLAP a very strong gust slammed into my set up, the top of the canvas shot off the easel and made fairly good contact with the front of my body!  I replaced the canvas and did what any creative artist would do…I tried to figure out how to incorporate the body marks into the design.  Hmmmmm  look at that smear, would it be a good wind?  Oh look a thumb mark, maybe I can turn that into a rock!

Then I heard a rumble.  It was faint but it was definitely a rumble.  And along with the rumble a cloud, which was growing bigger and closer, faster than I ever thought was possible.

I looked at my painting..I looked at that cloud…painting..cloud..painting…

Now, although I love painting It is sometimes hard for me to get started on one.  And once I do start, it is hard for me to stop, cause I know if I do, I may or may not recreate that “flow” I have going.   Painting…cloud…the cloud was definitely getting bigger, louder and closer and I noticed that the other members of the group were packing up.

Painting,..cloud… thunder…LIGHTNING!

OK out of there!

A new respect was born for all those Plein Aire painters that day!  Kudos for all your rut jumping!

Nous vous respectons

Stories and Art, Well They Just Go Together

Last week I was at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough Tennessee.  It was my first time at this festival though they were celebrating their 40th anniversary.  Jonesborough is located in a beautiful area of low mountains and tall trees.  There was green everywhere…made me a little homesick for Oklahoma.

Being the oldest city in Tennessee there is a lot of history there.

Downtown Jonesborough

 

A most significant thing happened while I was there.  It wasn’t anything visible, but was a shift within myself, inspired and encouraged by the storytellers I was listening to. I realized several things.

1.  (Oh by the way I love to make lists..but this is a subject for another day)

1. Diversity in storytelling is not only tolerated, but encouraged and appreciated.

2. Reality touches the heart, the funny as well as the serious.

3. Good storytelling produces pictures in the brain and has the effect of timelessness..you can be listening for    hours and almost not notice.

Meet Bill…he was one of my favorite tellers

Carmen Deedy…Love her!

She gives a great quote in this video.

“Good storytelling is crafting a story that someone wants to listen to…great storytelling is the art of letting go”

 

OK…so how does all of this figure into my art journey?  Lets say it again with just a little word change…Great art, is the art of letting go.

Think about that for a moment…

 

 

Changes Are A Comin (spelling intentional)

It was my birthday last week.  I turned fifty five years old. Now as most people who are older can attest to, when you are young you never, or very rarely, think about what your life will be like when you are older. (And right now I am definitely putting myself in that “older” category) You more than likely feel as if there is “plenty of time to get to that”, or “I really would like to do this but….”.  Oh by the way, this is me.

My name is Karen Koyote

I grew up in a “Southern” Oklahoma family.
Now this doesn’t mean I was in Southern Oklahoma mind you. Tennessee was on one side of the Trail of Tears, Oklahoma was on the other.  Not only that, but many Tennesseans (remember Daniel Boone?) migrated to Texas.  Some then drifted up into Oklahoma looking for even better opportunities as the land opened up (translate stole) from the tribal lands.  With them came Southern attitudes, customs and food.  I came from a “Southern” Oklahoma family.
OK now, back to the gettin old part.  So here I am, turning fifty five, and I’m looking at myself and thinking You know Karen, time is getting kinda short, don’t you think it’s about time to pursue the things that you have always wanted to do?  Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinkiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. Why yes I do! It is time to let go of all the excuses, stallings, distractions, and fears and move on to participate in the activities that give me the most joy. So what is this activity that gives me joy? What is it that makes me lose track of time and go into the “zone”?  Should I tell them now? Maybe I’ll make em wait till the next post.  Naw I’ll tell them.
The activity that gives me that kind of joy is…..
ART
More specifically
VISUAL ART
More specifically
PAINTING
This blog is an invitation to join me on my journey of discovery, as I traverse the terrain of self exploration. (ie, my whole life is getting ready to change, sort of like when you decide to organize your junk drawer).
Welcome aboard!!