A few months ago while traveling through Cambodia we found our way to a pottery factory on our drive from Phnom Penh to Battambang. Under the awning were several pots lying out to dry, and as I walked around I noticed a little girl playing with the clay. I walked over to her, nodded hello, pointed to my camera for approval (I got a smile in return) and then began photographing her.
I think I stayed with her for several minutes, watching her sculpt small pieces of unused clay into shapes, figurines and toys, very crude but also very cute. She let me get close, and almost acted as if I wasn’t there … she was so immersed in her work of creating shapes out of the clay. The light was perfect, she was adorable and it was a very calming moment. Every so often she’d look up at me with a brief smile, but nothing long enough to photograph … just long enough to peek at her surroundings before getting back to her work.
This moment gave me two things: some cute photos of her, along with a teaching moment (whether or not she realized it). It can be so easy to get wrapped up with what is happening around us, and feel spastic and overwhelmed with everything going on in life, yet she was able to ignore her outside world while creating her art. My problem is that I’m finding myself in the opposite situation as this little girl: I’m too immersed with the distractions in life, the things that take me away from my art and writing, and I only seem to be able to fit the work I love into my life in small increments. Granted, I have quite a bit going on right now and these things will slow down. But even so, it’s still easy to find myself drowning in email, paperwork and minor tasks that seem to take all day long. Much of this is not work I should put aside for good, but it’s not my priority.
It’s easy to find ourselves in the situation of putting busy-work ahead of real work. Sometimes those distractions are so bright and shiny that we can’t not look at them. Instead, we should be immersing ourselves in the bigger picture and letting us fit in the rest when we have the time. Doing this is also a good practice to minimize our life, as it allows us to find those things that are maybe taking up too much of our time and find a way to remove them altogether. I’m not one for “New Year’s Resolutions”, but if I improve anything in the coming year it’s that I fully immerse my time and energy into things that I love, keep me productive and grow my business. The rest will eventually fall in to place.