living in the process.
Have you ever run into this problem? Being so fixated on the final product, you mindlessly rush through the process in order to get there?
Whether it's carrying an antsy attitude in the studio because I just want to get to the stage, or doing a slap-stick paint job on a piece of furniture because I'm eager to see it finished, I've often been tricked into thinking happiness is only found at the finish line.
But what about the process? Is it possible to enjoy it? Absolutely! But in order to do so, we need to consciously reclaim its value.
In the ballet world, the stage is glorified. The end goal is the performance, where the final product will be put on display. Everything you do in the studio, every daily barre, class, rehearsal, is all lending itself to prepare you for that "moment" on stage.
However, when my mind is anticipating that "moment", I have a hard time remaining present, you know, actually "being in the moment". If in the morning, I start telling myself that my value for the day is in that 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours max on stage, I've already created a sense of unworthiness to the 12 hours that await me before the show! What does that do to my mindset? I think "I just need to get through it". "I just need to get through this half hour of conditioning before the one and a quarter hour of ballet class, followed by the 2-5 hours of rehearsal before the 1-2 hour prep time before the show". "I just need to get through it"... this thought process leaves me tunnel visioned and grumpy, unable to appreciate the present moment I'm in. When I'm so fixated on the stage, my self, and my performance, it causes me to lose sight of a fundamental truth.
The truth is, as dancers, we will spend the majority of our days in the studio, not on the stage. If we live for the spotlight, we undervalue the work light. And inevitably, we are blinded to the kind of beauty that can only be formed in the process.
The process, daily exercises, class and rehearsals, enables the formation of endurance & perseverance.
The process provides the environment for discovery, repetition, reflection, & refinement.
Goals are important, visions are necessary, but life is a process. Practicing patience in its ebbs, persistence in its flows, & ascribing value to each step along life's way, is where I'm discovering lasting enjoyment can truly be found.
The applause fades, and soon enough, one's career fades too. Will living solely focused on you and your performance on the stage be enough? Endurance, perseverance, kindness, patience, resilience, faith... these are the qualities that the process will produce, that is, if we invite it to. It may seem easier to resist correction, struggle, and hardship, just to escape to the stage where you feel invincible and untouchable. But if we accept the in the process is where we learn and grow, the knowledge that we gain will surpass a career and be helpful for last a lifetime.
So enjoy the process! Reclaim its value. For in the process, we learn and grow.
Recently, I found myself working on this dresser. I had rushed in trying to complete it in a day and was left unhappy with the result. Reluctantly, I went back to re-working what I had done. I began to repaint it. Striving to be be patient in my strokes and thoughtful of my selections. And in the end, as the dresser stood before me completed, I felt good, proud of how it turned out.
Peek into The Journey
This is where I started! A banged up yellow dresser that I envisioned clothed in white.
Here is when I thought I was finished.. I used hardware that I already owned because it was easy. But the hardware really didn't fit the piece. Close up, the hardware was beautifully intricate. However, the dresser's width engulfed the hardware, making it lost in vastness, losing its ability to shine.
In the process, I also found myself experimenting with a variety of lining options. I attempted using gift wrap paper and magazine clippings, only to discover that the thin-ness of both papers made the lining look wrinkly and cheap when using mod-podge as an adhesive. I wanted to make it 'fun', but I devalued the look of the piece by doing so. Next time I learned that if I wanted to use gift wrap paper, I'd need to use a scotch spray adhesive or maybe some double sided sticky tape instead..
After I re-worked the piece and slowed down my process, I stepped back to reflect on what I had done. With a few extra coats of Annie Sloan's White Chalk Paint, new hardware, and creating my own hand stamped lining on a thick, kraft paper, the end result was a clearer representation of rénové. Quality work that left me pleased.