I’m still in the hustle. You’d think frantic breakfasts and repeated “please-put-your-shoes-on” would phase out a bit as summer settles in. When you work from home, summer inevitably brings it’s own hustle.

A much needed break arrived last week– I had the joy of attending a truly heartfelt wedding in the Dominican Republic. As fate and fortune would have it, a friend mailed me a book that arrived the day before I left. I’ve grown accustomed to my kindle and light packing so the actual hardcover book in my carry on was itself a step outside my comfort zone.

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist is a call to connect rather than just perform and achieve. Niequist used one particularly poignant metaphor. I’m summarizing here, but it’s something like driving at 100 miles an hour and stopping at gas stations, running to the slushy machine and opening her mouth to let in the rich, red, corn syrupy goo before jumping back into the speeding car. She wants one single, ripe strawberry, but her life is pure hustle and goo.

I paint like that sometimes. Punching the clock. Throwing the paint around. Hoping it lands so I can move on to the the next one. I’ve got my entire inventory up right now at EAT New Orleans, a lovely French Quarter restaurant, and I have a big show coming up in late July. I don’t want to have to take down the paintings at EAT (which stay up until August) so I’m trying to create an entirely new set of inventory in about a month’s time. Oh, and it’s summer. I’ve not lined up any camps for my almost five year old and the daily painting of four or five hours I enjoy while he’s at school has been shredded to about one, if I’m lucky.

I just reread that last paragraph and hear it. The “see, look how busy I am” need for you to approve of my hustle.

But I’m trying to change things up. Since reading the book, I’m trying to actually sit down to eat rather than running through the house picking up toys with a mouthful of eggs in my mouth and a cup of coffee gone cold; I’m trying not to use my phone when I’m talking with my son. And I’m trying to connect with my paintings not just spit them out.

On nearly every blog post, I show a finished product. But this is just what I’m working on. They aren’t finished. They may or may not be soon. They are the horizons that I never tire exploring. The lines that blur. The mysteries I’m trying to take in rather than solve. They are my meditation in connection. We will see what transpires.