Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Letter to a frustrated artist

You recently asked me why it is that you should do what you love if it didn’t pay the bills.
Logic is very important. So follow my logic here if you will.
You want to make money from your creativity. Thus you wish to be paid for doing the work that you love (your work). To be paid for one's work is to be employed
If you are an employee, then you have to show up for work in order to get paid.
If the spirits are your employer, then you have to show up for the spirits in order to get paid by the spirits.
Are you a good employee?
If you were your own employer- how would you rate your job performance and character?
Would you hire yourself to do your work for you?
Do you show up for your work every day no matter what? Do you know what your job requirements are? What your work is? Are you consistent, reliable and professional especially when times are bad and it seems there is no point? Are you a cheerful, grateful, pro-active team player? Do you finish what you start and put in your best at all times?
And most importantly, do you love what you do and the company for whom you work so much that you would be willing to do the work for a delayed reward just to see it work out?
Or do you complain and feel you deserve more; are you inconsistent and unreliable; do you blame others for failures; do you bag it when there is no paycheck; do you grumble when it is boring and difficult; do you leave work early and say you did the work?
You get my drift.
 I have flaked, bailed, whined and basically been a bad worker for most of my life. I have been a prima donna, a rebel, a flake, a saboteur. I have intentionally undermined and manipulated so as to not be challenged. I have been a terrible employee.  I worried that until I knew why, there was no point in doing anything. 
I don't know why I am farming, but by farming, I am learning why. I have discovered that why isn't a pre-requisite for doing;  it is a consequence of action. Doing my work is becoming its own reward and so I am becoming a partner with my spirits rather than their employee.
Luckily, just showing up no matter what is very important to the spirits.
Sometimes I think they throw us a tough one to test us for promotion. Will Renee show up for her work the way she shows up to do the chores even when she thinks it is going nowhere?
One thing I am learning is that my view on life is better when I think about being rewarded for my efforts rather than getting paid for work done.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I continue to show up- regardless but most especially when it is hard- that I will be doing my work and being substantially rewarded for it.
One of my rewards is our relationship. Hence, my showing up in my life has made us better over the past year. The farm itself is my other reward. Every time the wind caresses my skin and dries my tears, I am being rewarded for feeling.  The food I eat, the animals I love, the horses I ride, my friends…
In exchange for loving life and doing my work, I will be given the life I need to have to continue to love life and to do my work. You, them, the land, financial and social recognition, etc.- it will happen- but only if I just show up no matter what.
In other words, doing something with your life is your work.
Your work requirements are to live well and to do magnificent things with your skills. Learning, teaching, sharing, doing and being there for others as well as for yourself are part of your job description.
It is not the spirits job to provide you with the perfect workplace, all the time in the world etc. You have been given more than most in fact. It is your job to make your work space productive- they are not office maids.
I think there are only three doors to choose from- no matter the situation. No, Maybe, Yes. I have lived in Maybe for way too long. I am trying Yes and it is pretty nice. The bosses seem to agree with me.
I have to get back to work because I have a long way to go before I get that corner office...

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