Our ability to make money and become financially independent correspond to the most important societal value of American society. We often conclude that efforts that don’t make money belong to adolescents or retired people. If it doesn’t pay, then it must be play!
That is how I lived most of my life. I measured success by my ability to reach the mileposts along a career path. For me that was in transportation engineering. I spent decades working sixty/seventy-hour work weeks, and anyone who knew me realized my career was the highest priority in my life.
This part of my life was not dissimilar to that of the many men and women I have known. And like a good American, I had fine homes and cars to show for my efforts even though I didn’t have the time to enjoy them.
I was lucky, although there were some flat years, I truly enjoyed my career. Many inspiring teachers appeared before me to guide and fill me with the passion to serve my community, but I always believed this was a matter of luck and not design. This opinion was fortified by the many “successful” people I met who disliked what they did but remained in unfulfilling jobs because they needed the monetary compensation to maintain their expensive lifestyles. Missing for them was the importance of feeling inspired, passionate and joyful in what you do.
Passion and inspiration count
Passion and inspiration are the reasons you must pursue a creative outlet. Endeavors like writing, painting, playing music, sculpturing are not a waste of time Just because there is not a pot of gold waiting for you at the end. They are not a waste of time.
Why I write
I not trying to judge creativity among interests or careers. There are limitless ways of being creative beyond the ones I listed. An architect can be creative, so can a chef, a carpenter, a gardener or someone who works with numbers. The point is doing these things even if they don’t promise compensation.
I write, but I almost gave it up because I was measuring my success by applying the societal attachment to money and status I had known. I saw my lack of a large following or meager income as the primary sign to quit. I had to do some serious soul searching to find the true reasons behind my efforts. These are the reasons why I do it.
1) I must follow my inner muse. The hustle and bustle of my career life distracted me from listening to my inner voice. My self-image and worth were unhealthily connected to my career. Its sudden conclusion opened a door to a great internal confusion. It was during this period of inner sorting I discovered my connection to a Higher Consciousness. What comes out in my writing is bigger than me, for an ever expanding, eternally learning and creative muse has inspired me with its wisdom. To become one with this almighty, I must write.
2) Gives my life purpose. Writing gives me a way to contribute to a greater good because it allows me to influence the world around me even if it is just a few people.
3) Clarifies my values and beliefs. Writing is an exercise in self-discovery. I cannot write about life lessons unless I have experienced them first. Sometimes, these are not clear but writing them can shine the light I need to complete and summarize these lessons. Writing also helps me clarify my true values and beliefs.
4) Exposes and obliterates my negative feelings. Like any other creative outlet, writing allows me to express my truest self. Sometimes my insecurity and feelings of inferiority occlude this true self, but writing brings him to my consciousness. Once there, I notice these negative feelings and can change them. I have often begun a writing session tired and depressed and emerged hopeful, courageous and energized.
Creative activities are our connection to a Higher Power and to each other. They also help us find the way to our truest self. Providing food and shelter are an essential part of life, and it is possible that your way of earning an income may be mundane. This only argues stronger for taking the time to be creative, for it is from your truest self that all things emerge. It does not come from money, status and power
As always, wishing you a life filled with joy, love and serenity.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.