I am a T'ai-Chi Teacher and Singer/Songwriter living in Ashland, OR. Please visit my site: www.GeneBurnett.com for more info about my teaching and music. At my site I have over 20 albums of songs available for downloading free or with a donation. This blog is dedicated to musings about what I like to call "The Unforced Life".
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Expect Less, enjoy more
The biggest challenge of my life to live creatively as a way of life, as opposed to some kind of hobby. Challenging on every level and in every arena of my life. So far it's been rewarding enough that I have no regrets, and I'm totally committed to continuing. If this too is your path, I encourage you to keep looking for work that feels right; work that helps, rather than hinders, your creative life. And good luck finding it in this stressed out world. You'll need it. We all do.
And here's some advice for those on the trail of the unforced creative life. If you aren't already doing it: minimize your outflow of money. Look to see how you could live, contentedly and creatively, with less money, and less stuff. Cheaper rent, skip the lattes and lap dances : ~ ) , whatever. And keep looking at doing it as an ongoing practice. Don't tell yourself it's just temporary. I'm not talking about short term belt tightening here. Be willing to do with less forever. Expect to live with less forever. Being willing to live with less is something I think is really, really worth practicing in the years to come, as I think that is exactly what it will be necessary to do. A simple version of the math: More people + Diminishing Resources = Living With Less. Or even simpler: Time + You = Nothing.
People have lived truly authentic joyful lives with much, much less wealth than we have at our fingertips--even at our poorest. And this world is loaded with miserable wealthy people up to their throats in one medication or another. Simple math: "Money Can't Buy Me Love."
If things happen to take an upswing, great. You can still enjoy it and spend your money. But if they don't, and it's more and more likely, I think, that generally they won't; you'll already be surfing the downward wave, rather than fighting or ignoring the current. You'll be in synch with and moving with the current of our time. Living beyond our means, racking up debt, investing in bubbles, nurturing fame fantasies, living on hope; all of these things are forgivable, maybe even inevitable, but to me they represent a kind of denial and hiding, that I don't want to encourage in myself. I want to encourage a more accepting relationship with how I find the world around me--NOW. Not in my dreams. Though I'm expecting things to get a lot worse in the coming years, I'd love to be wrong. And I'm totally willing to be wrong. I'm just doing my best to be with what's going on around me. And what I see ahead, and around me, is this: LESS.
And certainly, being almost 52 as I write this. There's going to be less life ahead of me than behind me! I guess the whole creative life could be seen as just a way to prepare for Death. Especially since our lives are short and all of our creative products are doomed to be forgotten and destroyed someday. Or it could be seen as a way to best enjoy Life. And for the same reasons. Or, as is often the case with me, if can be not "seen" at all, but simply felt as something one has to do.
Anyway my friend, whoever you are, I hope you can stay as near the balance point between creative and financial necessity as you can, for as long as you can!