I'm well over the halfway point with my 30 paintings in 30 days. Painting every day, like many things in life, starts to get hard somewhere around the middle and keeps getting harder as we near the end. The first few studies were cool to do. I was patting myself on the back, and my ego was having a big party. Then, it got to be routine at the beginning of the second week. By the halfway point, the ego has checked out leaving me on my own to sink or swim.
But reaching the middle or, worse, nearing the end is not the time to stop. As Paulo Coelho wrote in The Alchemist:
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”
There's magic in staying the course and reaching the proverbial palm trees. We'll never know what fruits and blessings await us at the end if we "die of thirst" along the way. Breaks are good and often needed. We can choose to take them, or the body will take us down forcing us to rest in ways that are unpleasant. In previous challenges, I did not honor the wisdom of my body nor did I give it time to recharge. As a result, I crashed and didn't finish more than a handful of paintings at best.
What am I doing now to help me stay in the challenge? I created the lotus flower study and wrote this blog post two days two days ago. I then scheduled the posts for Lotus Study #17 and #18 to appear on Friday. By doing this, I will have a two-day break to do other things before returning to painting on Sunday afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing the fruits of my labor at the end.