I went to see an exhibition yesterday. It was a dreary, grey afternoon and half price Tuesday. Sometimes my computer stares back at me with a look as if to say “what are you doing here today?” and so I got the hint and left my office. I braved the drizzly rain and entered the gallery which felt light and alive with creativity. It is great to break the mould; you should try it one day.
With admiration I wondered past the paintings, the sculptures and other pieces of art. Luminous colours, stories being told within a frame, feelings being expressed, amazement, closely followed by repulsion, surprise or even laughter. Art captivates. Art motivates. Art creates opinions. Whatever your personal opinion of any piece, behind it stands an author of his or her destiny. Behind every creation is a person who did what they were born to do.
What if we are all artists? What if in some kind of way, we all have a talent to express in this world? What if each person has a voice with a unique note for the human choir? Then it begs the question if you know what it is you were born to do and –more importantly- are you doing it?
It made me reflect upon the very fact that what we express in the world is so often scrutinised by our own self criticism. We are taught -to an extend- that unless it pays money or unless you are extremely good at it, do not bother. But in order to get very good at something you have to do it, a lot. Did your mother not tell you “practice makes perfect?” Furthermore, to get paid for your talents requires extreme dedication, hard work and even more practice. But above it all, towering high above the mundane considerations of pay and recognition that we all get so caught up in, is the all encompassing and ultimate “doing it for the love of it”. Because if you do what you love, you are at peace and in flow; you are responsible for a little less war, a little less anxiety and stress and worry on that particular day. If you do what you love, you live close to God. If you do what you love, then you are manifesting an enlightened existence in which you follow your dreams and reach your potential. Effortlessly. You touch every note within you and play the tune you were meant to.
What if you don’t know what you were born to do? Stop. Look at your life. Or look at all the things you desperately want to do, but don’t. The answer is in either. What lights you up, makes you happy, what flows from you or better still through you that fills you with joy and fulfilment? It may not change the world, it may not be original, it may not be glamorous. Whatever it is, dedicate your life to what you were born to do. Sitting on the fence or not knowing is no excuse; time will just evaporate and all your unique talents will evaporate with it.
In “The War of Art”, its author Steven Pressfield writes a beautiful piece at the end of the book called The Artist’s Life. “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us from your contribution.” That doesn’t just apply to art, but to every form of expression you feel destined to deliver. You were designed to do it, give it, play it, sing it, make it, look after it or be it.