This year I have decided to take part in the #100dayproject on Instagram.
If you’re wondering what on earth I’m going on about #The100DayProject is a free global online art project that has been going for nine years. The idea is simple: choose a creative project, do it every single day for 100 days, and share your process on social using the hashtag #The100DayProject
I know it's a bit of a U-turn as I talked about the Joy of Missing Out in my last blog post and I posted a while ago on Instagram about my initial apprehension to take part. I had this overwhelming feeling it would be too much, too overwhelming and I would fail. So ‘what’s the point trying’ was my overarching thought. And then I saw a something on social media about embracing imperfection and letting go of doing things ‘the right way’. I pondered this idea and wondered how it would be to start the project in the knowledge that I wouldn’t do it perfectly every single day. And it was like a great big ‘A-ha’
moment and a total shift in my mindset. After all, if we aren’t prepared to fail we will never learn new things because it is in failing that we learn.
Reading the amazing book ‘Self Compassion’ by Kristen Neff has also contributed to my mindset shift. I’m much more open and able to being kinder to myself now so when I fail I won’t, by default, beat myself up, I will treat myself as I would a child and say ‘it’s ok, you are doing your best, keep going, you haven’t failed’ and I will give myself a metaphorical hug and keep on going. I will embrace my imperfections by not placing unrealistic expectations on myself, approaching the process from another viewpoint of curiosity about what I can learn about my practice and also my self.
This also ties in to my subject matter of my topic of exploration. After flicking through some old sketchbooks and also working on a prompt from my creative coach I decided to unearth an idea I’ve been holding on to for a while. It’s something I’ve dipped into a few times but never very deeply. I don’t yet have the words to describe it but it’s about circles and the rich metaphor of the circle. It’s about wholeness, being human and all the wonderful complexities that entails. It’s about duality, dichotomy and maybe even multiplicity. It is mysterious and ephemeral and I can’t quite grasp it yet but it’s percolating away in the grey matter, getting ready to make an appearance. It will come when it’s ready.
Through my explorations into the circular form and the rich metaphor associated with it I discovered the Japanese term, enso. This denotes the circular calligraphic mark made with a single brushstroke. And as I discovered more I realised it symbolizes many things: the beauty in imperfection, the art of letting go of expectations, the circle of life, connection. How apt for me at this moment when I am approaching the 100 day project with imperfection in my line of sight! Enso is also described as ‘a manifestation of the artist at the moment of creation’ and ‘the acceptance of our innermost self’. All of these new discoveries make me feel very excited as I go on to uncover more about the circle and delve into my ideas. It’s funny how I’ve circled back to this theme as if I’m being guided towards a voyage of self discovery. Watch this space as it develops and unfurls…
If you fancy joining in, it’s not too late. Here are some pointers from the organisers:
Make it simple and manageable so you can do it in 5-10 minutes a day. More time is nice if you have it, but if it's a really time-consuming project you probably won't do it every day.
Make sure the tools you need to do your project are accessible and portable. Will it fit in your purse or backpack? They should also be financially accessible ie. do you own them already or can you easily access the,? There's no reason you have to buy an expensive new tool (unless you really want to and it’s in your budget).
Pick something generative. For example, one year Lindsay pulled a tarot card every day. When Michael Bierut started the project, he drew an image every day based on a photo in The New York Times. What's something that can help do the deciding for you?
Then whatever project you choose, think about how you can make it easier and more fun.