Today’s guest editor is Kent Youngstrom, artist and instructor at CREATE Mixed-Media Retreats. You may have read his recent contribution on seizing the day (click here if you missed it); his newest message is about taking a good hard look at traditions and habits that could be holding you back.
Until next time,
|Don’t step in line just because it’s the way it has always been done.|
Are Traditions Holding You Back? by Kent Youngstrom
Traditions are great. Every other Thanksgiving my crazy family gathers together and we have our own version of the olympic games. Everyone brings/or creates their own quick game for the competition. We spend two days competing, laughing, challenging judgments, and overall having an “I-don’t-want-this-to-end good time.” We compete in everything from paper airplane flying to tossing playing cards into watermelons. It’s a tradition we all look forward to.
However, traditions can also be inhibiting or downright unnecessary, and often become patterns of which we aren’t quite sure why they exist. For example … can anyone please tell me why major league baseball managers still wear uniforms?
Do we really need to see these men, well past their prime, wearing what looks like a clown suit as they stroll to the pitchers mound at their leisurely pace (about the only pace there is to baseball)? If rules are made to be broken, then so are traditions.
If traditions give you comfort and let you feel a sense of place—great. Just be careful not to let them dictate that you follow the path you’re used to “just because.” Could game night be improved? Can you have breakfast for dinner? Does the manager have to wear a uniform?
Don’t step in line just because it’s the way it has always been done. Don’t be afraid to change your old habits and start new ones. Walk away from the wrist bands, take off the spikes, and step into a new part of journey. You can’t be a player forever—sometimes the uniform does not make the man.
Anyway … we can save the baseball rant for another day. What are the traditions or patterns that are holding you back?
Are you the artist who says they can only work at night? Are you stuck using the same colors over and over? When you pick up a brush does a face always come out? Do you use words to cover up the fact that you don’t know what else to do?
Try working at different hours of the day until you find your peak time—and every so often mix it up. I love a routine and find it comforting to know what I’ll be doing next—but sometimes my rut can turn into … a rut.
Are you in a routine or tradition of purchasing the same materials to use for every project or commission? There is more to work on than watercolor paper or canvas. More to paint with than art store tubes. More to color with than oil pastels. Break your habit and visit your local home improvement store to mix things up. Find new materials to work with. Go outside of the crafting world to find new things. (Did I just say that?)
You + your habits + your routine all need to be hacked. Your journey needs another path, even if it’s going smoothly. Challenge yourself to do something different every once in a while. So often we say it’s about the journey. Maybe the journey isn’t always about making something. Perhaps it’s all about unmaking everything that isn’t really you so you can become what you were suppose to be in the first place.
If you’re looking for specific ways to hack your routine or your art supply stash, contact me or register for CREATE Dallas, September 17-21. At CREATE, I’ll be teaching workshops like "Let Yourself Go" and "Kiss Me: Or, Keep It Simple Stupid." Check out some of my favorite art store hacks on Pinterest. ~kenT (Follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram)