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Like Art, Life is Full of Lost Edges

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: oliverkendal
Ever felt like you just didn’t have the energy or the will to do the things you normally find easy to do?

I am writing this on a Monday but I’m in “Sunday mode” – meaning that the entire fiber of my being is begging for a day of rest!  Maybe I’m losing my edge?

Lose Your Edge

To no longer have the determination or skills that made you successful in the past.


Yep, that about sums it up – I’m suffering from a deficit of determination and skills – hopefully it’s a temporary condition?  And although my Sunday wasn’t a day of rest, it was part of a busy and productive weekend – filled with several tedious but necessary projects started and finished, some meetings and good fellowship. All in all, a well-done, effortful weekend.  I lined-off many items from my To-Do list.  And now I’m plumb out of creative, productive energy.  But alas, I’m not out of To-Do tasks. Now what?

Four Artful Ways to Recover Your Edge

Whether you, like me, have lost your edge or have simply exhausted yourself with too much doing, I think we can learn from the art world about how to work with lost edges…

1. Squint! It’s good art technique and good life advice – when you’re not sure what you’re looking at, partly close your eyes, look sideways and see how the picture changes.  Drawing teacher Kathleen Kirkpatrick advises her students:

To avoid a rigid painting, you must lose some edges… Squint at the photo for about five seconds and then look away. Where are the three most obvious contrasts you remember?

Squint again for five seconds, then look away. What areas seem to merge together?

That seems like good advice for avoiding a rigid life too.  With new perspectives perhaps you’ll see a new way to approach the situation.

2. Be in the Moment. Painter, Kindrie Grove observes that:

One of the most interesting ways to achieve a sense of harmony within a composition is to allow a blending between background and subject. Lost edges often give a feeling of the present moment, a quick impression that will change if you look away.

Let the present moment wash over you – see, hear and feel all the sensations that you’ve been too busy to appreciate. Breathe.

3. Be Lazy! creator Leo Babauta comments:

Lazy is an amazing thing… Lazy means that your body and mind are tired and want to rest. That’s a sign that you should actually rest. When you ignore these signs, that leads to burnout. So rest, and feel good about it!

4. Be Choosey! Instead of just rushing back into the fray of a lengthy and demanding To-Do list, be selective about which and when you’ll tackle. recommends:

When in doubt, soften all the edges and choose just a few edges to emphasize…

Much like art, life works better when there’s a bit of balance and harmony in it.  So choose your next actions carefully. Regardless of the urgency of To-Do’s that clamor for your attention, your good health and productivity depend upon your discretion and patience; too much too soon will make you go tilt!

Life is full of lost edges, and that can be a good thing as long as you pay attention and heed the signals. Even if you can’t take the day off, (which I couldn’t) you can give yourself a short respite that will refresh your creative productivity…

There is a time after long work when you can look for strength and there is nothing there.  This is a time of forgetfulness and after comes a time when you know again what you can do.

— Timothy O’Grady
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Feeling like you’ve lost your edge? Slow down and re-coop!

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