Recently, there was a discussion among my guildmates in the Rhode Island Polymer Clay guild about how to motivate oneself to do a tedious task in the creation of a piece of artwork. Some of the suggestions offered – go do something else for awhile and then come back to your task for a fresh perspective or, if you can, do something else you enjoy while you are doing the tedious task. The tedious task in question was the sanding of polymer clay. It can be a rather lengthy process, especially if done by hand, which involves working your way through various sandpaper grits from 400 to 600 to 800 to 1000. There are also higher grits of 1200, 1500 and 2000, if you choose to use those to achieve an amazing glass-like finish. The higher the number, the finer the grit. It can also be messy because water is used to cut down on the polymer clay dust. And the water needs to be changed with each progressive grit. I’ve been known to sand my fingers and fingernails so it can also be somewhat dangerous. So, tedious, lengthy, messy, dangerous. Sounds great, huh? I am more of a “process” person as opposed to an “end product” person. In other words, I enjoy the process, the journey, the learning about myself along the way. So, following this logic, I would naturally enjoy the sanding process despite its hazards and unpleasantness. Well….to be honest….I don’t really but what I do enjoy is what I do get to do while I’m sanding. The gentle motion of the sandpaper as it glides over my piece is a meditative activity that allows my mind to just go blank and rest from its usual thought buzzing. Picture a swarm of bees reduced to one lazy little bee serenely floating around. Without the control and distractions of all of the other bees, my little bee can even stop and rest for awhile on a beautiful flower.
Now it is very quiet and I begin to sense a sinking deeper inside of myself. So, in my tedious task lies a gift, an opportunity to escape from my daily thoughts and schedule of “to-dos” and just BEE and listen to what is inside. When I return from my inner journeying, I discover a wonderful thing has happened. My piece is all shiny now! I’ve worked hard – it’s time for a piece of chocolate.