A while back, I read something that was like a punch to the gut:
"The quality of your life directly depends how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with uncertainty."
It was a quote from someone, who quoted someone else, who quoted Tony Robbins, but for weeks, I’d felt like I discovered the clue to cultivating more courage and resiliency. I wanted to tattoo it across my forehead.
At the time, changes were happening with my career, there was more teaching and outlets in general where I felt I could really be of service to others. I was tired of thinking about myself, the business of self-promotion and I’d somehow lost my relationship to creativity and play. But when I found this quote, I translated it into how that applied to me at the time; let nature support you, follow the charm, and stop trying so hard to have everything in place.
I think someone once said that the average adult has something like 6 different career changes in their life. For artists, this can be tricky because they are defined by their relationship to creativity. Diversify your career and you potentially fail, having “giving up on your dream,” or worse, you run the risk of killing off the part of you that brings you meaning and purpose. But that’s a BS myth.
I love Brene Brown’s quote about unused creativity, how it can metastasize into resentment and depression. If someone has other interests and goals, this channel of creativity will absolutely begin to find channels to run through this new terrain, but only if you let it. And it is a choice that has to be made.
At the time I was experiencing more diversity in my career, I thought that the best way to deal with uncertainty was to stop trying to figure things out. Change your relationship to not knowing. But letting go is only half of the equation. Once there’s surrender, we have to do something else in order to be a co-creator for the experience we’d like to have, we have to ask better questions.
During the creative process, I noticed that vulture sitting on my shoulder saying all kinds of nasty things to me. Comments like, “why are you ruining this scene?” or “why don’t you go back to grad school, you don’t have what it takes.” These questions were killing my relationship to the thing I loved most. Soon I grew tired of the evidence I found, so I changed the pattern; I began to ask better questions for better evidence. Rather than going down the negative Nancy ski slope, I began to play with better questions such as “how much fun can I have in this scene right now,” or “how is it so easy to serve others with my creativity?”
Want a better life? Ask better questions. You’ll find the evidence, hands down, for the answers. It’s scientifically proven that what the mind focuses on grows. That’s what the mind’s job generally is, to figure shit out. The purpose of thinking is predominantly for the acquisition of happiness. “If I do this, then I’ll be happy. If I do these jobs then the agent will respect me, If the boyfriend calls, then we can take it to the next level, or if I can work harder, I’ll be able to add more money to the account.” And the list for the I’ll be Happy When syndrome goes on. We can’t take away thoughts for the brain to play with, but we can give the brain better toys for better results.
“Let me fall if I must fall. The one I will become will catch me.” –The Baal Shem Tov
Preach, dear sir. That has now become my new favorite quote, one that I go to when I want release to all those questions that no longer serve.