This seems like a buzz word sort of idea lately. Everyone talks about the importance of being present. And it is true, it IS important. Each moment we can use to maximize our happiness and well-being. If we are present we can look at our situation and decide if it is how we want it to be, or if we need to adjust it. We need to learn to be aware of our discomfort, and then adjust accordingly. So many times I am doing something and I have a goal I want to get to, and so I ignore the signals that are occurring in the present moment so that I can try to reach my goal as quickly as possible. But, what good is reaching our goal if we are not enjoying the moments that lead up to its accomplishment? If our goal is supposed to make us happier, then shouldn’t we enjoy the road to achieving it? If we are in regular discomfort trying to reach it, then isn’t our goal actually taking away from our happiness? For example, I am currently working on a body of paintings so that I can submit it to some art galleries and find somewhere that I can have a gallery show.
I know that I need to continually make steps toward my goal so that I can realize it eventually. Night before last I did not get much sleep. I was tired and kinda gross feeling most of the day yesterday. By the evening I was trying to get much work done on my painting, it is what I really wanted to be doing, what I really wanted to accomplish for the day. I wanted to get closer to my goal. But, I was so tired, I was not really enjoying painting. My back was hurting, my feet were hurting, I wasn’t feeling excited about my goal. I pushed myself to work for a while, because that’s how you achieve a goal right? But I wasn’t enjoying it. I was just putting pressure on myself to do something I didn’t feel good doing at the moment. And the whole purpose of me striving to get a gallery show and get my art out into the world, and hopefully sell some of it while I’m at it, is so that I can live a life that I enjoy. But, if I am not enjoying the process, then is a life of creating and sharing my art something that I am actually enjoying? Sure, I might enjoy an eventual show of my work somewhere, but at what cost? I am deciding that it is important for me to always maximize my happiness in every moment. And last night, painting to achieve my goal, was not maximizing my enjoyment of life. It was taking away from it. So I chose to listen to my body, to go to sleep earlier and get some much-needed rest, knowing that when I step back in front of the canvas next time I would be feeling rested, inspired, and energized — that I would enjoy it. And if I were going to buy a piece of art from someone, would I want one that the artist truly enjoyed making, or one that they forced themselves to create when they didn’t fee like it? Obviously the first.
Can you think of a time when you forced yourself to do something you didn’t want to do, for some future goal you had, and in turn sacrificed your happiness in the present? Please share your experiences in the comments below!