I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, which all good Buddhist writers will tell you really helps you focus on being mindful, opens ideas up in a way quite similar to meditation, and a whole bunch of other great things (which probably include repairing that ouchy hangnail and finally figuring out a cheap way to hang those art posters you have had in tubes for years, left hiding for no one to see).
Growing up in the Midwest--and maybe elsewhere, though I feel like this is part of being Midwestern--a lot of "Clean Plate Club" style rules are commonly ingrained into belief systems. A good example of these was something I learned from my mom--essentially, if you're doing the dishes, you're also cleaning the kitchen, so don't just start it, finish it up.
Sound logic, really. It meant that the kitchen counters were always clean enough that you wouldn't have to think twice about setting food directly on the counter, and it also means that I practically have the entire meal prep cleaned up by the time i am done cooking a scramble or other simple meals.
However--and this is key--I think that this principle breaks down significantly when it becomes a way to see your world. More problematically, when you have those kinds of rules enforced by a fanatical, tyrannical stepfather, as I did, they run pretty deep. There are many, many tasks that can't be cleanly finished--and perhaps the fact that I work with knowledge and my stepfather worked as a steel maintenance man and then an electrical contractor shows why I would be taught to finish tasks fully.
Lately, I'm figuring out the ramifications of this narrow-minded approach at work. I think that this daily art project* chips away at this approach as well. I'm putting raw pieces of future projects on display (or, trust me, yesterday's video would have had more consistent language, specific photos, and better timing), and also acknowledging that the creative act drives this thing, not completion of work.
Completion can come later--though it will also appear sooner--and in the meantime, I am building my capacity for constant creation.
Oh, and the dishes? I emptied the dishwasher, loaded it to about 3/4 full, and wiped down the counters. Sorry hon'--dishes are still in the sink.
*for the record--some people have misunderstood--this is NOT a daily blogging project. It's just that blogging provides the external accountability--an I love sharing with the world.