Friday, November 12, 2010

Painting A Picture

A while back I read a short, succinct statement that has had me doing more than a little bit of thinking. The statement was, "How you do your work is a portrait of yourself."

How I do my work . . . h-m-m-m.

If I'm honest, I have to admit that s-o-m-e-t-i-m-e-s (I'm pleading for leniency and understanding here) I go about my work in a less than joyful frame of mine. I do a task with my monkey mind constantly playing bad tapes.

"I wish I didn't have to do this time-consuming, unpleasant job that keeps me from having time for something I really want to do."

"Spending most of my day doing all these blasted things that HAVE to be done doesn't leave me enough time to do things that give me pleasure and feed my soul."

"Why do I spend so much time dealing with the 'must-dos' day after day after day?"

Geesh, if this is truly how I go about my work, I'm not at all sure I like the portrait of myself. Looks like I'm needing to make some conscious changes unless I want to be painted looking like the Wicked Witch of the West.

How 'bout you? When you think about the statement, "How you do your work is a portrait of yourself," are you okay with the picture you're painting?


The Apple Pie Gal said...

Interesting. First, I don't think you even come close to The Wicked Witch! Nope.

Maybe a little "Wretchin' Freckin'!" cartoon character. But I think we all paint that picture!

Hmm. What picture do I paint? Golly, not sure I know! Some days "The Blur", other days I have my index finger playing lip tunes like a ding bat-heck that's most days! And then I have my "Evil Stink Eye" days. That about sums it up! None of which are pretty!

But you...You are Glenda, The Good Witch. Cross my heart!

Erin said...

I think personally I paint the picture of a busy, got it all handled kind of gal, but inside I'm tired, cranky, and sometimes feel very overwhelmed. I think that by creating more work than necessary keeps my mind off of other things? Hmmmm, never thought of that until just now!

Leigh said...

I think it's the kind of statement that forces one to look inward. I've reduced it down to my attitude. I can approach the same task with different attitudes and it makes a difference in how the whole day goes. By nature I'm a complainer. I've been working hard to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. When I can manage it, the affect is astounding. No one is around to notice it but me, but I do, after all, have to live with myself!

Dirt Lover said...

Oh, my, looking inward. Such a soul searching thing to do. I would like to think that I paint a hardworking, fun, loving, patient picture. But unfortunately, I don't always come up to those standards. I agree with Leigh, it's basically attitude. When we get up in the morning, we have a choice. We can have a good day, and react to what is given to us in a positive, happy manner, or we can be cranky and negative. I know people who choose the latter, and they don't make it easy to like them.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I think that doing those jobs that make us less than pleasant and maybe make us say a few bad things are the true defining actions. There are some things that we just can not go about in a positive mood, lets say cleaning the septic tank. AACCCKKK! But the fact we do these thing shows we have strong character, deep convictions, and faithful hearts. It shows we care about our lives, family, the earth enough to go beyond what the normal person would do. Don't beat yourself up if you can not go about all your day in the frame of mind you would like. It is the sum of our lives that shows your true heart.

Sue said...

Sometimes if I have a list a MILE LONG, I find myself SOOOO tense. I have to consciously MAKE myself relax. Why do we do this? Do we honestly HAVE to be so darn perfect? I'm my own worst enemy sometimes. Really, I'm not being PAID to do this, there is no boss lurking over me that's going to scream at me if it doesn't get done at a certain time, why don't I just walk away from it and do something more pleasant. Delegate!!
Yea. Right. We're women, this is what we do.
So, I guess from time to time we just have to step back, look at what we're doing to ourselves, and just stop. And drink a beer. And relax. See? Simple! (yea. Right.!)

Kelly said...

I don't like that statement, because more often than not I wouldn't like the reflection. I try and work on that every day, and try to go through my day with joy and thankfulness- but let's be real- sometimes I am just a ranting lunatic around the house.

Tami said...

Wow...Deep thoughts indeed. I agree with Leigh and Jane, it's about attitude and character.

I also think it's environment. I'm in a job where I HAVE to be sociable (patient care) and organized (details matter) but when I'm home, I'm an antisocial recluse. I still like things clean and organized, but I live with a man who's as disorganized as they come.

So my picture is split. No matter which picture I'm in I try to have a good attitude though.

Good post!

MaineCelt said...

It IS hard to cultivate a healthy, healing, life-giving attitude day after day, especially with a workload that's so cyclical. I find music makes a big difference for me-- listening to it while I work, whistling, or even singing when I get up the gumption to do so. I try to choose songs that celebrate the very work I do--and there's a huge array of traditional songs that do just that, often with very uplifting tunes and tempos!

Read Sue Bender's book, Plain and Simple. She writes about her time among the Amish, and what they taught her about one's attitude to work. it helped shift my perspective, for sure!

It's really a discipline-- something you have to practice regularly if you want to improve and enjoy the benefits. I find it helps to put the word out to my friends so they can help hold me accountable to (and celebrate my successes with) my regimen of attitude-adjustment (which is really part of a regimen of self-care.)

Unknown said...

Hmm. I guess for me the big difference in my attitude toward necessary jobs depends on whether I've decided to do it myself, or whether someone else is making me stop what I'm doing so that I can do this chore on *their* timetable instead of my own.

That being said, I recognize that one of my biggest faults is procrastination, and if a job looks like it's going to take a really long time, I will tend to just not do things.

DH knows me well enough to know that sometimes, yes, he does have to *tell* me to stop playing and do the work I said I was going to do. I resent the h*ll out of it, but I also know that he's right, and if I don't just get up and get it over with it will never get done.

Erin said...

Allison, where have you been? Nice to see you "out and about" again!

Chicken Mama said...

Hmm. This one confuses me, and I don't think I like the statement, either. Perhaps that's because the picture I LIKE to paint is different than the one I actually do.

I'd LIKE to think that I portray myself as an all-together, organized, strong woman.

I think I get the strong woman part across, but the rest of the picture is complete disorganization (organized chaos, I prefer) . . . and I don't like that. But, like Sue said, we're women, and we naturally (societally? culturally?) have these wish-we-could-do-more / be-more tendencies. (Sue, I agreed with every word you wrote!)

Call this a cop-out, but I really don't think it is: I *LOVED* Jane's "it is the sum of our lives that shows your true heart". LOVED. IT. In THAT picture, I'd come out looking pretty good.

Bottom line, we, as women, are too hard on ourselves, and we need to - somehow - stop that.

Unknown said...

Erin- I've been here, just been a little invisible:) At the end of the summer I had DD home for three weeks, straight, and there was nothing else I *could* do except sit in the LR with the computer. By the time school started again I'd reached bloggy burnout and had to give it a rest for a while. I should be back to writing again some time soon!

Mama Pea said...

APG - Your portrait sounds interesting, never dull and boring!

P.S. I don't know "Wretchin' Freckin'." Clue me in?

Erin - Ah ha! Very, very insightful.

Leigh - Amen! Goes back to the old saying, "You can't make anyone else happy unless you are happy."

Lori - You are so right to remind me of this. It's all in our hands. We get to choose.

Jane - I think what I need to do more is be grateful, thankful, and happy when I COMPLETE one of those hateful chores. In other words, grit your teeth and get through the chore, but then take a few moments and give yourself credit for having DONE it and ENJOY the fact that it is done and the benefits reaped from same!

Sue - It's heck to 1) be conscientious and 2) want so much. And I don't mean in a materialistic way. It's more to want to do too much, experience too much, learn too much, have a more fulfilling life by getting things accomplished that mean a lot to ourselves.

Mama Pea said...

Kelly - What more can we do than to try to work on it everyday?

Tami - Good point. And I think to survive, you have to get what you need when you're home. A recharging of your batteries so you can go "out in the world" again.

MaineCelt - You hit it on the head. Bettering ourselves is a discipline. One that does not come easy. At least to me. Would you please record your songs and make them available to all of us to use while we work? Pleeeze??

I will look up Sue Bender's book and read it. Thanks.

Alison - Ooof! Doing a job you dislike on some else's timetable is the worst! That could be fodder for a whole other blog posting!

I read that if you procrastinate over a job, it means it's truly not the right time to do it. Huh. I don't know that I can buy that. Seems like to easy a way out of responsibilities.

Chicken Mama - You say ". . . the picture I LIKE to paint is different than the one I actually do." Aren't we all like that? How do we ever become "better" or happier with ourselves if we don't have that contrast that keeps us going?

We wouldn't feel the need to be so hard on ourselves if we were happy with ourselves. That's the place we need to get to.

Anonymous said...

First...LOVE the new header photo!!!

Ok, the question.....hmmm, have to say I don't always like my attitude when doing things either. While my attitude about my homekeeping tasks has vastly improved, I still struggle when my day goes totally wonky.

Like we talked about on my blog, the chaos drives me nuts! I am getting better at taking it "in stride" but my own to do list is a mile long, and not getting any shorter.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Wasn't there a cartoon character that used to stomp around in the dirt muttering that under his breath? Really I thought there was but I guess that could just be what I do...there again, not a pretty picture!

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Thanks for the compliment on the header photo.

Yup, same old, same old. We're trying to do too much and then wondering why we never feel satisfied. Sigh.

APG - Regardless of who that cartoon character is/was, that's definitely me stomping around in the dirt (garden) muttering to myself! I have more conversations with myself (and the plants) in the garden than anywhere else. I'm also pretty happy out there though. Less stressed for sure.

kelli said...

i try my best to do my work with patience, awareness, and good intentions. i do for the most part, but wiping butts and changing diapers is just crappy.=)

Mama Pea said...

Kelli - You got that one right! BUT it's part of the most important job you'll ever do, so try to remember that those diapers and mucky butts will be gone before you know it! [I know, easy for me to say when I'm on this side of it! ;o)]

Susan said...

I am way behind in my commenting. This was a very thoughtful post. I think my portrait would be done in a dysfunctional machine gun pattern. There is often no rhyme or reason to how I do my work. And I'm often cranky about it. Frankly, I love being able to be cranky about it. To family and friends, I present a steady, reliable, calm, get-it-done portrait. I am, like most women I know, two people. But I do get the job(s) done and I try to cut myself some slack whenever I get over-stressed. Age has relaxed my outlook a bit. Just like it's relaxed the firmness in my everything.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I sure do appreciate your very quirky sense of humor!!