Archive for Kaizen

The Artist’s Way: Week 4

Posted in Creativity, The Artist's Way with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2011 by Gideon K

Days I did my morning pages: 5/7 or 7/7 depending on viewpoint.

On Tuesday I missed my first morning pages simply because I did not have time for them before work that morning or I would’ve been hideously late. I felt grumpy, shitty and irritable all morning because of this and resorted to doing them in my lunch break, which helped a little, but not a lot.

Then today, I only got round to doing them at about 5 o-clock in the afternoon when I got in. I was out all night, and then on my way back to pick up the car where I left it, I called my friend Isaac who lives near there and met up for a 2.30 breakfast and coffee….


Artist Date: No. I just didn’t give myself the time this week. It was pretty packed. However, I did get paid this week and took myself shopping for some new clothes for the first time this year. In a way I suppose that counts, it’s just not particularly imaginative or generous.


This week on the whole has been very interesting for me. The first day I woke up feeling quite sad and grim, with the horrible thought that my life would just be one long drudging trip, everything staying the same and never changing. Once I’d woken up a bit and started writing my pages, I realised it was just a fear to motivate me to work harder in the other direction – the one I’m already moving in. My morning pages tend to always end on a positive note, and I think I do that on purpose, especially after I use them to purge myself of any doubts or things that are bothering me. It’s an indulgence that suits me and works for me.


I really enjoyed the bit about writing a letter as the 80 year old version of myself to me now aged 25. Here’s part of my description of myself at 80:


“I will be tall, thin, healthy, smiling. I will walk with a stick that I don’t need. I will have a full head of bright white hair and my eyes will be fierce and alive. I will laugh a lot, children will like me. I will smell nice, wear expensive cologne and always wear tailored suits. I will enjoy dancing regularly. I will sing gently, softly, smoothly. I will stand up for pregnant women on public transport. I will make a mean ravioli.”


It went on like that for a while – I was laughing my ass off by the time I finished, but I meant every word of it. If any of you are still around when I’m that old… just you wait and see.


I did the second of those life-circle exercises and found that my life, or at least how I see it, has improved in 4 of the 6 areas, with the ‘work’ and ‘exercise’ ones staying roughly the same. I was glad about that. For the past two weeks I have been applying the ‘Kaizen’ approach which is instead of trying to make drastic changes to areas of my life, to merely change them gradually, making small, incrementally improvements as often as possible.I believe this is meant to eliminate problems, but could also be seen as making improvements, or at least that’s how I’m choosing to interpret it.

This could be as simple as practising some guitar scales for 5 mins every other day, or doing 10 extra press ups in the morning or whatever. This is muche more sustainable than trying to make huge changes in a short space of time, and once you have some small successes, you build a head of steam.


Synchronicity has been carrying on too. Quite a lot actually but here’s two examples:


I was thinking about learning more about jazz theory and technique. When I met up with Isaac, he mentioned something along those very same lines, so we’ve agreed to meet up next week for a brief session fumbling with some standards or some theory. Then maybe meet up again the next week.


I didn’t know what to wear to this fancy dress party. My friend Alice told me she had a great idea for what me and my brother could wear, and then she made them for us. Too cool.


It’s funny, but describing the effects of the course, every insight or discovery – it all comes out sounding like a lot of very clichéd statements, or ‘happy-clappy’ cod-spiritual pseudo-enlightenment, but I’m fine with that. Cynicism is too much of an indulgence for people who prize their fear more highly than anything else and I’m having too much fun using my mind and my life as an experimental playground. Those clichés are all there because they have a good measure of truth to them.


The one I’ve been thinking about themost however, and the one that has been most applicable to my current state is ‘Easy does it’.


Oooh, I almost forgot – I had to endure a reading ban this week. I wasn’t allowed to pick up any books or magazines (other than the Artist’s Way of course hehehe) in order to shake off all kinds of habits and open my eyes as to how much reading books can be a crutch as much as a good thing. I slipped up a few times simply forgetting I wasn’t supposed to read. But I had a number of conversations with people that I wouldn’t have had if I’d been allowed to read.


Til next time folks….