“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”
– Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), Say Anything
I have spent much of my life having a deep aversion to committing myself to paths which seemed “not it”, “not right”, “boring”, and “wrong”. Although, I listened enough to my intuition to avoid various careers and jobs, I have been guilty of not committing to my life’s work, of not creating a product to sell or offer, of feeling so much fear and lack of confidence that even though I was “not doing” something I didn’t want to do, I was also “not doing” something I did want to do.
This reminds me of a joke my dad likes to tell. It goes something like this:
There was a man who every evening before he went to sleep would pray and pray to win the lottery.
“God please help me to win the lottery. I really need to win the lottery, God please help me to win the lottery.”
This went on night after night. Then, after weeks of praying the same prayer, the man said, “God? Why aren’t you helping me? Why haven’t I won the lottery?”
He was startled to hear a reply: “Joe! Joe!!!”
“… You have to buy a ticket.“
There are occasions, when I feel glum that I have not yet accomplished some of my bigger dreams. Countless times, I have sat down to write, or paint, or create, only to feel inadequate. I’ll read the blogs and books of others who seem to have more experience, more talent, more luck and rather than let their stories inspire and encourage me, I’ll ask: Who am I? I’ll feel small and incapable.
On “dark nights of the soul”, I may even feel sorry for myself and will complain about how hard it is to be a dreamer. Not every day. But on the days I stub my ego with thoughts of how unworthy I am of my dreams, I will lie under the covers with the sheets pulled over my head.
On better days, I realize that no one’s story takes away from the story I am creating for myself. If I want to write inspirational books, and conduct seminars at the Omega Institute, then I had better start writing a book. One sentence at a time. If I want to make pretty jewelry as a side project, then I should finish one necklace. If I want to sell my illustrations, then, maybe I should paint something, anything. Maybe I should write, design, paint many things – just to participate in the practice, releasing the need for everything I create to be of sellable quality.
I need to buy a ticket.
Otherwise, I am just another Dreamer, complaining about my rotten luck, lack of experience, poor fellow’s talent, lacking the faith to truly believe that all urges of the soul manifest, trapped in an endless cycle of “Who Am I’s?” If I don’t create anything, then I don’t have to suffer with the strength, focus, and perseverance of seeing a dream through to completion.
I won’t have invested anything, so I will never experience failure. Except, I will have failed by default.
I need to buy a ticket.
And so do you.
With much love,