from my archives: accumulating/ accumulation


[This summer, I will be randomly publishing posts from my archives, in order to be more productive in other areas of my creative life. I hope you enjoy this post, which was originally posted September 25, 2013.]

this is how it works:

each day, you do the things you do. they don't seem like a lot, do they? well, sometimes they feel like way too damn much, but most of us I bet think we aren't doing enough - there's always more to be done, after all.

each day we finish the things we can. we begin the things we can. we begin and end the day.

each day, we are either reminded or we forget about the accumulation of all the days before.

it looks like this: four thousand photos taken over the course of three weeks. an official set of 365 self portraits (which is actually much more because of outakes) taken over the course of one year. years and years of writing, available for everyone.

whether you forget or remember, this moment is the accumulation of all the moments before it. you keep staying in the moment and those moments add up. you keep practicing, and those moments add up. what you accumulate is up to you. is up to what you choose in this moment (or the next moment).

if you say you want to write: write.
if you want to sit and rest: sit and rest.
if you want to make art: make art.
if you want to model a life of self care: practice self care

the great thing about 365 day projects (or 52 week projects) is that they measure they accumulation fairly distinctly. you can gather them in one place and oooo and aaaaa over your passage of time.

(this is why those brilliant life time projects like this one and this make some of us swoon.)

but there are so many moments in our lives that accumulate without being measurable. and they are just as important (maybe even more so).

every time you respond to your lover: an accumulation of responses that plays out in the moment as it is. that's not just sexual, although there's also that. and also the habitual response to making mistakes. the habit of saying goodbye in the morning. your goodnight.

every time you respond to your child: an accumulation of responses, of moments shared or not shared. children need to learn how to be alone just as much as they need to learn how to be in community. there's a balance between those two needs that can only be felt between parent and child.

every time you respond to your own needs: an accumulation of responses that either hurt or heal your emotional self. when you beat yourself up for not being in the moment, that is just feeding the accumulation of beating yourself up moments. instead, practice self-compassion. realize that every moment won't be rainbows and sunshine. rain falls, snow falls (shit - bad shit - happens). practice staying in kindness in the happier moments and it gets easier to practice staying in kindness in the shittier moments.

this life we are living is accumulated, moment by moment and yet independent of the previous moment because in this moment you always have choice - to pick a new path, a new set of accumulations. and then go forward, with those practices.

that's the beauty of this moment: you can choose to rely on the accumulations of the moments before you or you can create new (possibly more intentional) moments.

each moment, this moment. right here. right now. the only moment that matters.

each moment, an infinite series of moments stretching before and after you, an amplituhedron of awesomeness.