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Yes, it is surprising, sometimes, when I pass a mirror and think, “My God; who IS that??” (I look SO different in my head than I do in the mirror) Yes, I know I am getting older, and I know I am aging, but I also know that I am LIVING.
I don’t really mind that I will die, someday, because if there is any validity to an afterlife, I know I will have collected a Soul-Sponge of experiences to carry with me that “I” (whoever that is, ultimately) will forever hold precious.
Both the Good and the Bad in this life have never been that much different to me. I’ve welcomed both and find both have their pros and cons. Long ago, I used to think that the Good and the Bad were entirely different, but it’s never really about the event; it’s about your EXPERIENCE of the event; your interpretation and your efforts to digest it. The “Best Thing in the World” could happen to you, and if you don’t have the ability to appreciate or recognize it, you lose the entire point. On the other hand, the “Worst Thing in the World” could happen to you, and if you have the ability to extract the importance, meaning, and value from that experience, you have found treasures that may never have been found outside of that experience.
Existing is a Craft, but Living is an ART. Living requires skill and it requires consciousness and creativity. I think many people live their lives like it is a CRAFT, instead of as an ART, (dis) content with Existing.
See, I’ve always found that there are ARTISTS and then there are CRAFTSMEN, in life… in fact, in everything, actually. ART is the manifestation, management, and nurturing of something ABSOLUTELY NEW. There is no validity in comparing the expression of one Artist to another because each Artist has generated something utterly unique. CRAFTSMEN are doing nothing new, but they take the patterns and creations of others and do their best to own them for themselves. Craftsmen use a formula, an established pattern, somebody else’s ideas and creations, and they build within those perimeters.
There isn’t really a Good and a Bad about either of these, but there is a valid distinction between those who CREATE and those who CRAFT. I think people are inherently ARTISTS in life, but so many of us buy into the security of Crafting an Existence, instead of the challenge of Creating a Life.
ARTISTS Create for the sake of Creating, while Craftsmen Craft for the sake of investment, stability, security.
ARTISTS are rarely, immediately acceptable to most people, and almost always require some acquired taste or study by those who wish to know them, because what they have done is bring something completely NEW to the world. CRAFTSMEN are almost always immediately familiar and fairly, easily digestible because someone has already established that pattern of existence. This is another reason I believe people are inherently ARTISTS in life because we are so incredibly UNIQUE, despite our best efforts to package ourselves into civil, presentable, acceptable, secure, and homogeneous beings. This default to Craftsmen leaves us disconnected from our Uniqueness and we spend the rest of our lives desperately trying to be SPECIAL, instead of Unique. Being SPECIAL requires constant feedback, codependancy, and praise, whereas Uniqueness is something that we just ARE. Since we are taught to ignore our Uniqueness, or that our Uniqueness is more a burden than a gift, we seek to Craft our Existence into a way that is SPECIAL… as defined by another person, community, or society. To have that Specialness as a motivation for your Existence is a tiring, painful, and lonely path.
It will be totally revealing to you when you really think about that question. It is so much easier to respond with the conditioning that you’d rather be Britney Spears because of everything “Special” about her life, along with her success, accessibility, body, and popularity. Most will NOT immediately respond to say they would rather be a BJORK because she wore a Swan Gown to an awards ceremony once, or because she is “weird,” or because they don’t understand her music.
Being Bjork is dangerous.
Being Britney is safe (well…).
So… we live our lives either as ARTISTS or as CRAFTSMEN. We either CREATE our lives or we CRAFT our lives. We either LIVE or we EXIST. We either generate our own patterns of color and light and experience, or we adapt to someone else’s idea of how life is to be lived.
I believe many people are perfectly capable of living within the patterns of someone else’s ideas, making an Existence of abundance, security, and satisfaction. I also believe many MORE people are perfectly capable of creating their own lives, bringing uniqueness and originality and newness to this world, making a life of adventure, playfulness, and fulfillment.
Our way of life is more complicated than the reduction to ART or CRAFT, but you get what I mean. I just think it’s inspiring to be reminded that your life can be your own, so as I tip toe into the New Year, I remind myself of this very thing. There are some areas of my life that could easily fall into mere Existence as I look back on my failures and struggles, convincing myself that it is just easier, safer, and more acceptable to do things the way everyone thinks I should, or the way everyone else does it, but in the end, I am an Artist. I have to keep trying to Create what I want, despite my apparent lack of success and security at this point. Yeah, I’m wounded; yeah, I’m healing. I’ve been burned. But so what. Life is messy! Sometimes I stand on the brink of destruction because that’s where Creativity lives a lot of the time, but, ultimately, I have learned to trust myself and my soul.
So I go into 2006 wanting to know who I am, like who I am, and do the best I can to create with the Time and Space I have as little ole Unique ME in this life.
I will probably have to remind myself of this conviction at various points in the year, so here it is.
I wonder how others will feel about this post…