Monday, February 11, 2013

Do Or Do Not

 work in progress 
colored pencil on Ampersand Pastelbord
5" x 7" 

My colored pencils were calling my name the other day. So I hearkened to their siren call and whipped those babies out and started on this new little piece of my son playing. 

I'm hoping that I'm not jinxing myself by posting this WIP because all the other colored pencil pieces on pastelboard I've posted as WIP's remain unfinished. But this one is very close to my heart right now, especially since my little one has been sick lately, so I'm sure I'll finish it.  I will finish this and I can't wait to show you guys. :) 

Which brings me to this: 

Wondering about the picture above? That's one of my favorite necklaces that I wear all the time, especially when I'm feeling like I suck at just about everything. Just putting it on makes me feel better, it's my talisman against negativity, and it gives me courage. It empowers me with positive thinking and belief in myself. 

One of my least favorite phrases ever is this, "I can't." 

People ask me how I learned to paint, how I make the time. I tell them you could do it too, if you want it bad enough. And what do they say to me?

"I can't" 

People ask me about why I run, and what the furthest distance is I've gone. I tell them 13.2 miles but if my knees would allow it I'd run 26.2. I tell them you could do it too, if you want it bad enough. And what do they say to me?

"I can't"

People tell me that they want to start selling their work, and entering shows, but they don't know how, or they think they're not good enough, or it's just too hard. They say: 

"I can't" 

Want to know what I can't do?

I can't make a perfect pie crust. 
I can't ever, ever, ever, keep up with the laundry. 
I can't organize my closets and cupboards as well as my sister in law (love you Laura!!)
I can't drive on the freeway without music that's too loud and losing my temper at least once. 
I can't go a day without chocolate. 

I know what you're thinking. "But you just said that you hate the phrase 'I can't' yet here you are going on and on about all the stuff you can't do! Hypocrite!"

Now let me tell you about my 'I can't' list. 

Why can't I do those things? 

Because I don't want to badly enough. 

It is perfectly fine to say 'I can't do' something if you simply don't care all that much about doing it in the first place. 

My mom makes the Best Pie Crust In The Whole World. And I'd be willing to arm wrestle anybody over that title. I don't need to, or want to make pie crust as good as her. Not today anyway. As long as we have clean clothes to wear I'm okay with never keeping up with the laundry. I'd rather be painting, or playing with my kids. And the last three don't really need an explanation, it's enough for me to say I don't want to badly enough. 

Some things keep us from our heart's greatest desires. Some of those are things that are out of our control, like my problematic knees. But most of them come from within us. We put limitations on ourselves, we say we can't do something before we've even made the attempt. We don't want it badly enough, because wanting something that badly would force us to make changes in our lives and get us out of our comfort zones.

The next time you start to reach for something that is just beyond your grasp and seems too hard, too impossible, tell yourself this: 

Do or do not, there is no try. 

Making the attempt = doing. 

Do, make the attempt. Believe that you can. And you will, one day. 

Happy Motivational Monday everybody! :)

You can get one of these cool necklaces too, right here. 


  1. I agree 100 per cent. I have always wanted to be a gardener...have a lovely english garden...but my gardens never look nice. It is not because I can' is because I don't want to badly enough. Once I came to terms with that I can handle it. I cannot wait to see this drawing FINISHED!!! Because you CAN! a positive attitude rules!

  2. So true and succinctly written, Crystal. Thanks for the motivation on this dreary Monday. Love the portrait of your son. It's glowing with love.

  3. I LOVE THIS POST, Crystal! You definitely "can" write!! This painting is coming along so beautifully ..I love his pose..and I "can't" wait for the next post...

  4. Wonderful and inspirational post, Crystal!!! Thank you for that. :)
    And my apologies, I thought this work was finished. Now I REALLY am looking forward to seeing it!!!

  5. Great reminders, Crystal. it even possible to get caught up on the laundry?

  6. Heureuse de vous retrouver après mes longues semaines d'absence...
    Heureuse de tomber sur une aussi jolie publication...
    J'aime votre enthousiasme et votre joie de vivre...
    Moi non plus je n'aime pas faire le repassage! seulement étendre le linge dehors lorsqu'il fait beau et chaud !
    Aujourd'hui vous mettez du baume dans mon coeur... tant de choses m'attendent après être restée loin de la maison... vous vous en doutez aussi vous serez dans mes pensées toute la journée...
    Gros bisous et bravo pour le beau début de cette oeuvre qui s'annonce comme une merveille !

  7. Love the colored pencil piece so far....everything you touch turns to gold. I agree also with the can't thing.....a great post and wonderful reminder.

  8. NICE POST!!! I can't wait to see the finished work!

  9. Well said! It all comes down to choices and how hard we are willing to push past our limitations, mind you there are some things, like 'knees' that won't do what the spirit is willing to, we all have those.
    This is such a beautiful beginning piece, something about that bowed it

  10. Beautiful start to what will be a wonderful portrait of your son. I lived the statement on your necklace yesterday when we had about 4" of new snow and Mike was at work until 7 p.m. At 3 p.m. I cleaned off the back porch and shoveled my way to the garage where I lifted the heavy wooden door and revealed the monster of a snowblower that Mike has such great command of. I primed and pulled the cord, it wouldn't start. So I shoveled some more until the smell of gas dispersed. I tried again and voila success, and I was off and running. After about 1/3 of the 70 x 28 foot driveway being done I stopped and assessed. Oh crap, this is harder than it looked. But Mike's working all day and I have the opportunity to be of help so off I went to finish what I had started. There was no I can't..........only DO and I did. The hugs and thanks when he got home were worth it all. Then came the deep concern for how my arthritic hands were holding up, and my back, and hips, knees and toes. I did ok because I did it with love. That kind of love is in all your work, Crystal, and it shows. Blessings to you and yours.

  11. Your new work is looking really beautiful Crystal.

    One thing I can't seem to do lately is put down my paintbrushes ;)

  12. Awesome post ... Lots of inspiration:)

  13. Wow! I can't - oops, I mean I DO believe I almost missed this post! I can't *ahem* I mean, I WILL keep up with your posts from here on!!
    Aside from the amazing drawing - I love what you had to say. Huzzah!! :0)

  14. great post-always love seeing your works in progress whether or not you finish them.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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