Do what you need to do

One Wheeled Thames SerpentNew Year started well. I felt productive; inspired; I was raring to go. A lot was achieved in a short space of time and then, a few days go, I felt my foot on the brake. I cannot say why, just that I wasn’t feeling it on Monday morning when I went to check in with my weekly mentoring group. My list of achievements for half term didn’t amount to much and I just couldn’t come up with a list of what I would like achieve in the week ahead. So, I was honest. I checked in saying that I did not feel like working on my business this week and all I wanted to do was retreat into art. I wanted to get lost in doing what I love. Permission was given.

Today, I allowed myself to get lost in creating the mythical beast of a One Wheeled Thames Serpent from found objects on one of London’s South Bank beaches. I wandered the shoreline, gathered some bits, wondered what I would make from them, then just one piece spoke to me… a smooth piece of wood with the face and I was off… I knew what my piece would become.

It felt so good to be immersed in the thing I love doing most… making art.

In working on a business and ploughing onward with the things we think we are meant to be doing, it can be so easy to slip away from doing what we love… and that is often the very thing that led us to create our business in the first place… the fire at the heart of what we do. It is vital to reconnect with that once in a while, if not on a daily or weekly basis. So today, I am writing this to give you permission… Do what you love.

Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do. Today, for me it was art. And in doing what you love, something is freed up. You are led back to you… the you at the heart of your business… the you you have strayed from in trying to think your way out of things or working too hard.

Leo Babauta’s article today spoke to me too… he talks about mindful immersion, have a read if you like:

Then go; go now… go lose yourself in doing something you love.
And if you feel like it when you’re done, check back in here later and let me know what you found.

12 thoughts on “Do what you need to do

  1. Ah – this is so utterly true! I know exactly what you mean. I juggle my creative online biz with my own art practice and realise maybe I don’t push my business as far as it can go because my need to still be behind the wheel of ‘making’ is too big a pull. Having children also means my priorities are regularly shifting around. I love the process and detachment from your Thames Serpent Art project – such a liberating way of working :)


    • Amelia, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It was such a delight to see your name here as I stumbled upon your work a couple of years ago and felt there were some common threads in what we do. I am so glad my post resonated. Yes, children certainly add another layer to the mix, don’t they? As a single mother of two boys at primary, I know exactly what you mean about shifting priorities! I admire anyone who juggles parenthood, an online biz and a regular creative practice… I find that my art often takes a back seat when it should be a priority for all of the positive benefits that ensue when I do dedicate time to it. x

  2. I think I know that feeling Julia, when I’ve got time to work and everything is in place but my heart isn’t in it. That was me in the first few weeks of January especially. I know there’s so much that I should be doing, or what other people think I should be doing, but sometimes it all feels too much like work. It’s nice to be reminded that it’s OK to play.

    I like your Thames Serpent, especially what’s coming out of its mouth. :-) Great idea. I think you’re so brave to experiment with your art in public. It’s very inspiring.

    • Richard, I spent years full of ideas when I felt I had no time and empty of ideas when the windows of time came. Thankfully, I have learned that if I just get out when I have the time and go make a start, inspiration comes. Yesterday, it was a single piece of drift wood that inspired me. It can be so easy to spend hours in front of the screen, thinking I am being productive, doing the things I think I am meant to be doing, but getting nowhere fast. It was time on the beach that unblocked my writing and led to this first blog post in more than three weeks.

      Thank you so much for your kind words about my Thames Serpent. Funny how it doesn’t feel at all brave to me to be experimenting like this out of doors and in public. My hope is that it will inspire others to do the same. Sketching, however, in the full glare of strangers’ eyes would be rather too daunting. x

  3. Hi Julia, this has definitely struck a chord with me, it’s all too easy to get swallowed up with the “other stuff” which you have to do that the things you actually WANT to do get shoved to one side for “another day” or worst than that, forgotten about!

    • Ah yes Scott… the “other stuff” can so easily take over. If we are able to give priority to even a tiny bit of the good stuff that we love, we can make space for the magic to enter again. x

    • Thank you so much Cecile. I was secretly hoping that he would be brought to life when the tide came in.
      One of the things I love about making my art and leaving it behind is the letting go and allowing it to have a life of its own after I have created it. It’s the process of creating that means the most to me. I photograph it (in order to record it and share it) then let it go quite happily. As I was discussing with a friend only yesterday, this may mean that things remain for a month or so (in the case of Summer chalkings on wooden fence panels) or are washed away in a matter of minutes. x

  4. I am soo hearing you at the moment. The last week the brakes really went on and I really had to stop, reset and do some art for me and so that is what I am doing today…. Practicing some watercolours. Thanks

    • Dear Jess, I am so happy that this spoke to you and that you are also spending time today with your art! Thank you for sharing your own experience. Your paintings are so beautiful and uplifting. So important to stop, reset and reconnect with our art.
      Much love, Julia x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>