You know, that moment of, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive.”
The two Things messing with our Gift:
Thing Number 1: the Past.
Thing Number 2: the Future.
“How?” say you.
It’s like this, offer I.
We are familiar with the Past. It’s our story and we’re comfortable with it. We play the movie script over and over in our mind. There are the memories of good times and cringes of regret. And, we become obsessed with the “What ifs …” Tethered to the Past with regrets, we are unable to enjoy the Present.
We are uncertain about the Future. We imagine a fairytale ending to our story and are caught up in the fantasies of, “Happily forever, after.” Then, we begin convincing ourselves of the impossibility and worrying about the risks. Fearful of the Future with anxiety, we are unable to enjoy the Present.
There is a better way.
Let’s put the Past and Future in perspective.
Past ~ This alone is denied to God: the power to undo the past.
Future ~ Someone once asked the Spartan king Leonidas to identify the supreme warrior virtue from which all others flowed. He replied: “Contempt for death.” For us as artists, read “failure.” Contempt for failure is our cardinal virtue. By confining our attention territorially to our own thoughts and actions—in other words, to the work and its demands—we cut the earth from beneath the blue-painted, shield-banging, spear-brandishing foe.
[Pressfield, Steven (2010-10-11). The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle. Premiere. Kindle Edition.]
If impossible for God to change the Past, why do we waste time and energy in the endeavor? If fear is standing between us and the Future of which we dream, what can empower us?
That, my friends, is the rest of the story and moving forward is the secret.
I have friends who talk a good game. They read, they study, they attend seminars, they doodle in their pocket diary, they fantasize, and they talk, a lot, about what they’re going to do, someday. And, they remain stuck in their rut, by doing the same thing over and over, and over, and over … expecting a different result.
Frustrated in their insanity, they wonder “Why?!” they can’t move forward. Oh, they can. They simply won’t. They won’t do the hard work necessary to move from here to there. In fact, they don’t know where they want to go. Thus, the Hand of Fate has her way with them, along with everyone else.
Moving forward requires that we, as individuals, answer this tough question for ourselves, “What is the passion at the core of everything I do?”
No passion? Then, guaranteed, there will be no doing, learning, growing, teaching, or moving forward.
By tapping into the passion at our core, we will know exactly where we are going, what we need to do to get there, and how to take the next step. The easy answers to hard questions become obvious and we have the courage to make the tough choices.
We see ourselves standing at where we want to be and are able to discern the path from where we are to that new place. By conceiving, believing and achieving, it will simply be a matter of time until a dream becomes the reality beyond our wildest imaginations.