It seems to have come from nowhere, and from all sides at once. Where once there was the
bright promise of the endless sweeping sky, now there is only the dim flicker of sunlight through dark clouds gathering. No, coming closer. The only path is away, but turning to flee, you see that on the oppoisite horizon, no, all around you, gathers the same threatening sky, the same pall of a sure end. There is no 'out' of a closed circle. The oncoming rush of darkness thunders as it gathers speed, exponentially multiplying its sound and fury with each eternally ticking second. Rising like a tidal wave, the Unspeakable mounts the vault of heaven, its all-enveloping cloak of shadows blotting out the last of sweet daylight rays, as the cacophony of sound swells ever higher, rising to obscure even one's own thought within the depthless roar of the inevitability. There is a moment, as incomprehensable pressure bears down upon and smites you off your feet, like a cosmic thunderbolt. At last, the second
hand of the clock ticks over, and in the final rush of fatal blackness at the end of all things, you are extinguished.
Man, those deadlines can be terrible! Even when the actual date is left fairly open, it still
weighs. Of course, this isn't the only thing that you have going on, whatever it is. There's the meeting that you have to have in order to get the current project going, but then there's also the seemingly endless development of whatever the next project might be; I mean, do they think this stuff just grows on trees? If you have a survival job, or a completely second (or third) profession, then part of you lives there,so that time is spoken for. Do you have children (even the four-legged variety) that you have to attend to? Let's just mark some time off of your calendar here (maybe a little bit more, there we go...).
You get the point. There's just never enough time to do everything!
But if there's never any time, how does anything get done? After all, we all have the same
number of hours in the day, right? Right? Well, maybe. Time (Capital 'T') is a highly limited, and therefore, highly valuable thing. It's one of the few things we simply can never get enough of, and can
never have returned to us. To use the phrase “I'm buying time” is a joke, because nothing can purchase time back for you (though you can steal it from others, which is actually what is meant by this). Time, like money, though infinitely more valuable, is something which each of us much choose for themselves how best to use in the pursuit of our goals. If you're thinking that I'm about to try to tell you how to best use your time within the scope of this blog post, then allow me to divest you of that concern right now.
If our Time is so limited by the countless distractions, meetings about meetings, tasks, and
curve-balls which seem to endlessly conspire to get in the way of your desired goals, how then does anything get done? Others seem to do it. There are plenty of stories of people who accomplished great works while simultaneously juggling a myriad of responsibilities. I won't list them here; I'm sure each of us has someone in mind. But where do we find this 'extra stash' of Time that some seem to have access to, yet others do not? After all, it seems like we hardly ever manage to actually get around to the special things, the projects which are important to us, due to all of the tasks streaming endlessly into
our lives, mailboxes, and inboxes like water into a sinking ship. How do they do it? What motivates them and empowers them? At the risk of generally oversimplifying; I think that it must be Love (Capital 'L') or Fear (Capital F). You see, both of these things are irrational. Being irrational, they don't conform to the typical rules which tasks live by. Tasks are by their nature mundane and brute. Say the word outloud to yourself. It sounds flat on the air. Its connotation as a state of joylessness is not accidental. It is because of their ability to short-circuit our normal patterns of thinking that Love and Fear override the tasks which otherwise deprive us of the Time we so desperately seek. If you love something, whether it be
your pets, your work, or simply yourself or another; they take priority. There is no mundane task which you will not walk away from for something you love. You tend to find a way to 'push' things around in order to attend to something that you love because it is not a sacrifice for you to do so, but a boon. It is true that there are some loves which are not healthy for us, and we all probably have persnal thoughts about what that might be for ourselves; nevertheless, we find time for these things irrespective of what
might arrise in the moment. The second motivator is Fear; not necessarily the mortal fear of immenent demise (though that certainly is a motivator), but the lesser fears as well: fear of failure, fear of poverty, fear of being mocked, fear of being inconsequential, fear of letting others down, to name a few. These also allow one to place things into priority, as suddenly, what's actually important to you comes strikingly into view when it is threatened by your inaction. To fear is to be concerned with the deprivation of something of
importance, and the pain that its loss or destuction would inflict upon you physically or mentally. Why else would one stay up late into the night, or rise long before dawn, in the hundreth attempt at hacking away at the latest piece of work that they swore they'd “get around to sometime!” What things except for Love or Fear would drive any rational person to get in a car, and drive six hours for a chance to be part of something great? You might say money, but money is only a response to Love or Fear; I generate money because I love and wish to care for myself or something else, or because I fear the loss
and wish to retain the physical or mental requirements of myself or others. And this is where the two may form a synthesis. As previously stated, fear is a response to something of importance being threatened, something you love. Though Fear itself is a state of irrationality, to fear for something, is very natural. Because it is when we fear for something that we fight to save it. This is called Courage. Courage (Capital 'C') is
when we do what we must in the face of Fear, in order to save what we love. That's pretty much the oldest story there is. Courage is what those others who came before, who seemed to carry with them an inexhaustible level of creativity, productivity, and dare I say genius, had. That ineffable thing which seemingly allowed them against all odds, to seemingly tap more Time than the rest of us. The courage to strive, the courage to demand success of ourselves, the courage to not care what others think, and the courage to cleave to our promises and agreements when it would be so easy to fold. That's just to name
It is when we learn to leave it all at the door, and enter the space of our creation, trusting our
loves and fears, forgetting the darkling clouds overhead, keeping our eyes upon the dim sunlight rays still just visible on the other side, fixated on our goals, that we can sit down and get it done, no matter how much the wind howls. As chaotic, tedious, and surreal it may sometimes be as an artist, ultimately, we love it; we have to. Without the love, the true love for it, it is a life which is too often harsh to be advised. But if we look to find that we do have the true love for it, we must fear that if we don't summon the courage to do what we must in order to survive each oncoming wave, then one day there may no longer be anything left to save.