Either you get out of your own way or life pushes you out (and she’ll occasionally make fun of you while she does it).
I stood there, baffled, as she said to me ‘oh you thought you knew?!’ and cackled so loud that all I could do was laugh at myself with her.
I actually did. I knew better yet I did the exact opposite of what I knew to do. I ignored the gut feeling that surprisingly never left me, always thinking to myself ‘is it me or does this not feel right?’ and inevitably blaming it on myself concluding that ‘my attitude probably just needs to change a bit more’ or that ‘my level of commitment could definitely increase’, completely ignoring the fact that life was pulling at my collar trying to tell me I was going in the wrong direction.
If someone had told me that the answer to the question ‘do you want to keep doing this?’ would be at the tip of my tongue as soon as the question was asked out loud I wouldn’t have believed it. The hours of fighting with my inner self, deciding on whether to choose time over money or money over time were completely reduced to a 10 second conversation starring ‘do you want to keep doing this?’ as the question, and ‘no way in hell’ as the answer. What an unexpected cast! My answer was clean, sharp, without any hint of hesitation, without the need for time to deliberate. In 10 seconds I realized I knew what was best for me – and had always known – and finally listened to my gut instinct: focus on your art.
Sometimes trusting your gut means not taking action towards helping yourself. In some cases, “helping yourself” is a sign of hesitation, of worry, of uncertainty. You don’t fully believe in what you say you believe in so you do something “just in case” or you do something thinking you’re helping when you’re actually just showing a lack of trust that things will work out as they should. Yes, there is room for adjustment (as they say, be stubborn with your goal but flexible with your methods) but flexibility shouldn’t mean taking a road that drives you away from your ultimate destination (draining from you the time to work on your art or draining the energy that would allow you to create it).
As if the gift of being free from the internal dilemma of having chosen to “be proactive” and “help myself” in lieu of focusing on my art and trusting that doing so would bring me all the financial help I might need, life sent me off with a few additional gifts:
- Always do your best and give your absolute all the first time around so you can avoid feeling like you could have done more.
- Compile your notes and arrange them into solid instruction booklets. You have no idea of the gems and hidden resources you have lying in your scattered notes.
- You have a gift for teaching because you understand the difficulties of learning.
- Preparation saves time.
- It takes time to prepare.
And ultimately (and most importantly):
- Always trust your gut.
[This is part 3 of a 3 part series about a situation I recently dealt with. These are mostly journal entries and I wrote them as the events progressed. They highlight my change in thought, perception and outlook from beginning to end, while trying to find an answer to the question: ‘how much are you willing to sacrifice for your art?’. If you haven’t yet, please read parts one and two here and here respectively. Enjoy!]