Every morning presents its own ever-evolving laundry list to us here at the ranch. And every day, that list reserves the right to change at any time, shift its priorities or throw itself into the fire completely, only to float away as ash on the wind, leaving us grasping at answers that whirl through the air in the wake of our clutch.
To counteract the lack of control that inevitably comes once the “work day” starts, I try to wake up as early as possible, usually around 5, to drink in what I have come to know as my most coveted time. Quiet, dark, where I can feel my thoughts more completely. There is a freedom at this early hour. This morning something occurred to me—perhaps you and I have enough access to kicks in the pants, an excess of insidious comparisons parading as self-help. I’d like to present an alternative here, but first, a little background:
I believe that if you’re doing your job—evolving, constantly learning and growing stronger and creating new work—there’s no fear in sharing process and ideas. That’s why I believe so strongly in classes and workshops. If there’s an apprehension that by teaching someone how to weld then I would be out of a job, then I’m not doing my job. If I am doing my job, sharing process enhances my work by encouraging me to try new things and innovate. We all benefit. So why not take the same approach to thoughts on keeping your head on straight and tapping into your prowess—something I think we all think about.
So my alternative—for the next few weeks, I’ll be writing posts on various ideas revolving around the spirit of work, since, running KKDW for the past 7 years has brought a lot of experimentation with “wellness.” And I don’t mean collagen shakes and meditation (though I don’t specifically not mean those things, I guess…). I’m going to be sharing thoughts on more personal evolutions that I think we, especially those with even the most mild case of ambition, can relate to.
Up first: How do we separate ourselves from our work? I don’t know this answer, and even more, I’m not certain that the answer is a path I should go down. But I do think that the start of a new day is made immeasurably better with a high spirit. I try to end days concretely with a look at my to-do list and a few sentences to sum up the day and look ahead; I start every morning by writing down my list for the day and, if time allows, a more intensive exploration into my goals, thoughts, weird ideas, and if I’ve got them (I often do), bad jokes.
I write in a notebook that I think is pretty to look at, with no lines, and I keep everything, from measurements on a job site and furniture sketches to personal thoughts on… everything… all bound within one book. This way, I don’t have the panic about not having a certain workbook or that special to-do list notebook to add chaos to an already buzzing day. Just don’t leave it at your favorite beer joint. Just kidding, I’ve totally done that at least twice. It’s okay, most people are decent enough to not read your angsty inner thoughts. You be you with wild abandon. And don’t feel bad if, when reading over a page from months ago, you feel embarrassed because you sound like a middle schooler who just learned the word “abject.” This is about feeling good.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.
This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson in a letter to his daughter