Growing up I’ve often prided myself on my ability to be creative. Keyword.. Prided. I used the arts as the anchor in my identity. One day I was going to “make it big” and someone would float from the clouds and drop millions of dollars and gum drops in my hand saying, “thank you for being God’s gift to creativity!” Ha! Man was I off. This was not only an illusion that I personally had but this is all around us. Good people continuously spinning on this make believe hamster wheel of trying to, “making it big”. Endlessly striving to create the next big external contribution to society and save the world. This not only runs ramped in our western culture but even more so in the subcultures of religion. It may just be the biggest elephant in the room and yet we seem to have a hard time seeing it.
Now I’m not trying to discourage those who love to create, just those who may have fell into an artistic religion of their choice with the constant striving to produce the greatest projects ever. And if you are reading this, it may be time to grow a little. Set down that little rubber ruler of “making it big”. Embrace a freedom that comes from within and let a true, deep and meaningful expression bubble up. Let the creative juices flow effortlessly from the depths of your being. Relax and let the lock jaw of your own efforts subside. This is where the peanut butter and jelly resides in the sandwich of good news.
The present day sage and Christian mystic Richard Rohr writes, “people living under capitalism find it very hard to know their own center and to live from it. We live in a affluent society that’s always expecting more, wanting more, and believes it has more coming to it.” Rohr adds, “But the more we own, ironically enough, the less we enjoy. Happiness is an inside job, and when we expect to find it outside of ourselves, it is always a disappointment.”
There’s a narrative that continues to ride the coattails of being an artist in the 21st century. Or a human being for that matter. It paints a glorious picture of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A little leprechaun will applaud you for all the hard work you achieved and reward you with lollipops, financial stability and a plastic golden statue . And maybe if your in the streams of religion the leprechaun will hand the mic over to the Almighty Creator Himself so he can reward you by giving you slap on the back and medal of honor for all the wonderful contributions and advancements. He'll then say, “you tinkered around with more ideas and stuff than the others sooo.. well done bro dog.”
So where does one go from here? Maybe the rainbow, gold and all the magical leprechauns are dancing within you waiting to explode. Maybe there’s an infinite source of effortless glory that beams wildfire throughout your being. And maybe it’s not by your own efforts but the simple gift of grace that needs a little unraveling. Maybe God himself dwells closer then your next breath. No. More. Pursuit. It has pursued you. Now that’s a scandalous paradigm shift.
True happiness may just be the contemplative act of looking inward. This may mean giving up the proverbial ghost. Giving yourself permission not to fall into that dogmatic pattern of striving to get more. Going for a period of time without feeling you have to make some world changing contribution may just be what the doctor ordered. Is it really your responsibility? Why burden yourself with all that hoopla? If you need the permission I rightly give it to you. That’s right, take a day off. Let it go.
Rohr, R. (2003). Simplicity: The freedom of letting go. New York, NY: Crossroad.