Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Joy Diet - Risk

Looking back over the past 30 years I see a long trail of risks I've taken. One of the advantages of getting older is having a history of successes as well as all the failures accumulated. So in reading this chapter of Martha Beck's The Joy Diet in preparation to join Jamie Ridler's book club discussion, I've found myself thinking about some of those milestones. And the line pops into my head "What have you done for me lately?"

Are there risks now that I need to work through to get to my heart's desires? For example, one of the things I really want is to deepen my art, to continue to build skills and techniques, but more to find what it is that I'm in a unique position to express. A small step toward that would be to get out on a regular basis to go look at art. There's a lot available where I live. I'm only an hour and a half out of NYC. I've been saying for several years that I need to get on a train and go down by myself, even four times a year. I don't see myself being afraid to do that. I'm pretty comfortable travelling by myself. But unless I plan something with a friend or family I don't do it.

Maybe a risk would be to enter a competition. I know that challenges result in my work taking off in new directions that I usually find very interesting. But I hesitate to enter beyond an occasional local show that I'm comfortable with.

I did do a small thing for myself yesterday in yoga class. I've been recovering from a back injury and decided that yoga would be helpful. I've been really careful in class, babying myself a bit. For the first several classes I'd avoided trying the shoulder stands because I found getting into a position like that difficult - whereas it used to be so easy. But yesterday I decided I was ready to try and it felt fine. A little thing - but it made me so happy.

I've put in a picture of a plane for this menu item. Last night I had a dream that I'd had to fly someone in a plane. I'm not a pilot, but I managed this successfully. After I delivered them to wherever they needed to be, I remember looking at the plane and thinking "But now I have to fly it back by myself." and I was thinking that maybe I'd just hang around for awhile. Till spring.

The thought entered - but if you wait till spring there might be water in the gas and the engine could falter. You might forget how you landed the plane. Maybe you'd better just go now.

I think this dream fits risk - it might be better to go now.


  1. Thank you for sharing your week with risk. I think it is great that you are able to look back and see a history of risks and failures and then use that in your current life. Wishing you success in flying.

  2. "what have you done for me lately?" - I love that song and I love that you applied this to yourself!!

    I hear you on taking yourself into the city...true it's nice to do things like this with a friend, but why stop yourself from enjoying some time alone to see exactly what you want to do, do exactly what you want to do without having to compromise? I'm planning a trip in a few weeks...with my family. But if they decide they really don't want to go? I've decided I'm going anyway!!! My risk!! :)

  3. Hi Becky,

    Thank you for the comment on my blog. I was referring to the poem Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. This one:

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    I read up on the book Wild Geese that you mentioned and it looks quite wonderful. Do you find it very dark?

  4. Many adventures await you. Go and fly with your art! :)
    Loved the rocks in your Etsy store.
    By the way: do you still have the desk you mentioned at my place? It´s a good reminder to go past our fears and get what we want. :)

  5. Wow, what a powerful dream! It's so easy to wait around while our dreams gather dust... yours have waited long enough! I support you in your flight! :)

  6. Thanks for stopping by. Nanowrimo stands for the National Novel Writing Month. In November participants write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days' People all over the world participate in this fun enterprise.