Monday, March 11, 2013

Ask Yourself...

So I got home Friday evening from a trip down to Tennessee for spring break. I should be posting my pictures today, since it IS Art Monday and all... but I thought instead I would share a conversation with you that my Ego had with whom I call Enlightened Whitney. I'm going to also intersperse some new artwork too so you aren't totally bogged down by all the incredible thoughtfulness of this intensely questioning post ...   . ....

 Sometimes it's hard to keep telling people that you want to be an artist. It still hurts me every time some one asks if I'm getting my degree "To teach, or ... ?". I have been laughed at a lot. Warned that I would be penniless. Asked what I'm going to do for actual money. Straight preached to about how I need to assert myself. What is it about following your passion that so many people don't understand?

I had a conversation (many, actually) with my best friend on our trip. I asked: "don't people realize that I have chosen the more difficult path? I mean, who ever got a degree in chemical engineering and constantly racked their brain for how they would utilize their degree until they could actually start earning money in their industry? I just feel like most people know exactly their path... they get the degree... then they either get a job or they can't find one so they look elsewhere." He agreed. I am taking a difficult path. Yet people still treat me like I'm trying to set myself up for a life of slacking.

So any how... here is the conversation:

“You can be anything you want to be.”
“Yea, of course. I know that”
“Then why aren't you making that happen?”
“I'm scared. I can't just drop everything I know to live on a dream, people die that way”
“No. What's scary is letting yourself die every day because your dreams aren't dreams: they're what you want. Do you know why you want what you want?”
“I will always want what I can't have.”
“Why the hell do you listen to everything those give-upers tell you? You want to be whole. The things you want will become a part of your wholeness. I'm not talking about purses, cars, vacations, houses, families … I'm talking about those bigger-than-life wants that get you giddy inside because of how exciting the prospect is.”
“But I have to have a job, I need to make money to do the things I want to do with my life”
“No. You don't. What you need is to be whole. To be all there. To be complete. Doing things that don't lead toward you being whole scatter you. They do the exact opposite of what you need.”
“But what if my dream is to have all the money in the world?”
“Do you not realize how much more you are worth than money!?”
“OK. Well... uh... what if I can't get to my dream? What if it's completely out of the question and I fail or die or something along the way??”
“You will fail. And you will succeed.”
“Then why is it even worth my time if it won't even come true when I can get the job, work the hours, get the money and everything will be there for me...”
“I'm trying to tell you that nothing else is worth your time. If you spend your life in the pursuit of anything but your dreams you will stand at the end of your road and wonder what it was all for. Why would you do this to yourself?”
“Yea, well that's later. I don't care about that. I live for right now.”
“Hahahahaha. You couldn't be living less for right now if you were a time traveler. What is your 'now'? Where is your balance? Where is your God?”
“I don't need religion and all that eastern crap. That's stupid. What a dying outlook on life.”
“Then why do you feel like your always wanting something else? Your like a seedling, contorting your body toward the sun, about to fall out of the ground at any moment.”
“Is that supposed to mean something?”
“It means you have no roots. See how when a tree matures it grows straight up. It knows where it wants to go. It knows it's purpose. You think these spiritual people are over thinking things? They focus on clearing their minds. You focus on filling your mind with distractions: TV, the internet, food, school...”
“OK. So I am scattered. So I'm doing pointless things that mean nothing in the long run. They make me feel good though. What's wrong with that?”
“Nothing is wrong with feeling good. You should feel good. Sometimes though it's OK to plan for feeling good tomorrow though too. Wouldn't it be nice if 'feeling good' wasn't a question at all, but an obvious?”
“Absolutely! How does that happen? Do I need to read more? Go to church? Volunteer at the soup kitchen?”
“You need to follow your dreams. The big ones. The ones that scare you. The ones you can't imagine how to start on.”
“But whyyyyyyy...”
“Because you won't fully be yourself until you do.”

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.Helen Keller 

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