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What to do when you don’t know what to do.

3 life drawings in pencil with some writing

I had 24 hours to find something new to undertake.

Attending some sort of workshop was my preference and having searched eventbrite there were only three possibilities:

  • chocolate making
  • some sort of craft evening making hearts (it was around Valentine’s Day)
  • or life drawing with writing

Factoring in the time of the session, the cost and me faffing about trying to choose, the life drawing class became my only option.

Great (ensue eye rolling). 

Drawing appealed, but not drawing naked people. 

I have a propensity to laugh and wasn’t sure how well I could control myself surrounded by serious students of art but I decided it was about time I drew upon all the adult within me (plus this was the only route to achieving the task set out before me) and get a grip. In for a penny, in for a pound.

The class was held at a coffee shop and yes, dear reader, I did laugh (as quietly as I could), I raised my eyebrows and shared ‘looks’ with my dear friends who joined me in this new escapade but I did manage to pull myself together and give it my best shot.

Only when we were asked to draw two naked people did I lose the plot slightly and went all Picasso with my drawing as a coping mechanism. By now I knew that life drawing was not going to become a belated passion of mine. I enjoyed the drawing, the look of the pencil shapes on the paper, the smudging effect to create shadow, the movement I tried to depict, it was just the subject matter that wasn’t quite my cup of tea.

In between drawing we were asked to write. The topic I remember most vividly was about a favourite place where we liked to spend time with ourselves. At first I was perplexed but then suddenly I remembered I love to be on the water by the quayside and I let myself write unhindered; it flowed and I wanted to continue when they called time (unlike the drawing). I was not expecting this nor the feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction that came with it. I discovered that I enjoy writing if I can do it my way.

My clients come to me at the point of not knowing what to do next in their life.  This exercise gives them a taste of the magic that can happen when they try something out in a low risk environment with no expectations or pressure for an answer.

It’s a light and fun approach to getting unstuck, to disrupting the thought pattern of ‘I don’t know what to do’. When you choose something different to your usual routine, to the mechanisms you usually invoke to bring clarity, watch what happens, what unfolds, what presents itself to you.

Try it the next time you can’t figure out what to do.

It can be anything at all – there is no list of criteria the activity must meet. It can be anywhere, anytime, doing anything with anyone or on your own.

Your only goal is to reflect on what comes up for you as you choose and undertake a new activity. I guarantee you will make a discovery and your ‘I don’t know what to do’ will have new light shed upon it.

And yes, the three pictures at the top of this email are my creations from the life drawing and writing class.  I can’t tell what’s going on in at least two of pictures either…