Inertia is a principle of physics that says a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. This is a fundamental physical property of the world. Inertia is also, I believe, a mental attitude.
Some of this harkens back to one of my favorite blog posts called “A Road Less Traveled“, but with a different slant.
Most of us stay very busy “doing” our lives. We have job, family, bills to pay, Facebook posts to read and reply to, clothes to wash, etc. It’s full time trying to keep up with all the demands and expectations. There never seem to be time to kick back and do the things we wish we could do.
Is that really true or are we our own worst enemies sometimes?
Safe and comfortable
It is always easier to keep on doing the same things the same way. It seems safe and comfortable. The familiar ruts are easy to travel. Following the ruts means we don’t have to make hard decisions or examine ourselves. We don’t bring up uncomfortable questions.
It takes a rather large injection of energy to change. But we’re so busy and tired we don’t have the energy. Inertia. It keeps us doing the same things over and over. Ooh, that sounds like the famous quote Insanity: Doing the same things but expecting different results.
No, I’m not saying any of us are insane (I don’t know you and I wouldn’t admit about myself). But many of us have this characteristic of insanity: repeating the same unsatisfying patterns over and over without questioning why. It’s the easy way.
The reality is few of us are as helpless as we think. If you are feeling ground down by your job, increase your skills and get a better job. If you don’t like your environment or don’t feel safe, move. Stop watching the news, that will make anybody less depressed. Take 24 hour breaks from Facebook (or your drug of choice) at least once a week. The world will not come to an end. You don’t need to check your phone every 10 minutes. Put it on airplane mode for hours at a time. Take more charge of your life. Stop assuming you are powerless.
And then you can start controlling more of your life, start adding in things that are more meaningful to you. Reading, meditation, spending more time with friends, playing with your kids, learning new skills, doing art. It’s not making sweeping changes in your life; it’s taking small but deliberate steps toward your values and beliefs.
Bump, bump, bump
I love this quote from Winnie-the-Poo:
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.A.A Milne
Most of us are bumping down the stairs with a vague idea that there should be another way. We are not really helpless. But change takes determination, energy, conscious effort, and a vision of where we want to go. It is uncomfortable at first. It can be scary. Start small and build your confidence. Small successes lead to larger ones.
What about “creatives”?
This blog is ostensibly about art and my artistic journey. Does this idea of inertia apply?
Oh, yes. Definitely. It is the old saying that when you point a finger at somebody, you have 3 fingers pointing back at you.
I have to consciously fight this all the time. It is too easy to keep taking the same path, to create the same images over and over. I have to constantly ask myself “Why am I doing this? What am I trying to say here? Do I still really resonate with this subject or style? Do I have a better idea I feel like I should try, but it seems risky? What if I fail?”
Artists can easily get stuck in a rut. Then they stop growing and developing and exploring their creativity. It is an humbling self-examination I have to go through all the time. For an artist, maybe more than most people, “no risk, no reward” seems to apply.
Call to action
I am not a believer in “New Year’s Resolutions”. I am not throwing out another suggestion of something to make a half-hearted attempt to do and then give up in 3 weeks. I am suggesting you take one thing you are not satisfied with and decide to change it.
Please, start recognizing some of your frustrations as inertia. This is something you can do something about. Force yourself to take action to change a few things. Start taking control of your life.
And check my gallery at photos.schlotzcreate.com. You may find images that bring you peace or help focus your energy.
As always, I welcome your comments.