Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Master in the Art of Living

A little over a year ago I received an email from a friend who sent me this quote. I'll leave the people that read it to draw their own conclusion about why she felt compelled to send it to me. I rewrote the quote in a pretty font, printed it and taped it to my 'door of encouragement'.

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both. James Michener

To me this quote embodies my life as a writer. I love writing. It's sheer joy to discover the story, to write the first draft and to wrestle it into shape. Yes, it is hard work. Yes, I battle the demons of doubt and discouragement. Yes, I question this journey when I do not see the fruits of my labor in terms of tangible elements like money and recognition and books on a shelf. But even in the moments where I question the journey, I cannot shake the simple fact that I am born to be a writer. This is my calling.

There are other people in my life who embody this quote. They aren't all writers. They are scientists, doctors, mothers, students, teachers, and truckers. They are the people I seek out. I want to surround myself with them because I love to soak up their enthusiasm for life. Yes, they have days that are difficult. Yes, they aren't always happy and bubbly. Yes, they have setbacks. But even in the moments where they question their journey, they cannot shake the simple fact that they are born to live their life as who they are. They are called to their journey and they embark on it every day.

Every day we have a choice. We can wake up and choose to let the things over which we have no control gobble up our enthusiasm for life. Or we can wake up and choose to hopscotch over the things that are in our way. We can choose to dance around illnesses, deaths, fights with spouses, leaking roofs, cloudy days, and unexpected pitfalls. We can choose to get over petty grievances, lingering doubts, and unwelcome disappointments. We can choose to stare these issues in the face and say, "Sorry, you're not going to stop me from playing today. You're not going to stop me from embarking on my journey."

If you are reading this, then you're lucky. You're here. You're breathing. You're educated.

How are you going to go about working and playing? Playing and working? How do you choose to go about living the life you are intended to live?

10 comments:

Piedmont Writer said...

I love that quote. I try and practice it as well. If I throw 100% of myself into everything I do, I know I'll never be a failure because I gave it my all.

M.V.Freeman said...

Isn't that the honest truth!
I feel like whipping out sword waving it over my head and giving a battle cry...

I go about living my calling just by pressing forward. Like you said, there is always SOMETHING that comes along to interfere, but writing--it is something that sings to me. I can no more not write than breathe.

Like you, I like to surround myself with people who embrace their lives. They inspire, push, and comfort me.

I had a setback this week, but I choose to overcome. Onward and forward!

Louisa Cornell said...

Fabulous post and fabulous quote! I really do try to live like this, but some days I am more successful than others.

I remind myself constantly that if I want to do what I love for a living I have got to keep practicing and practicing and working toward that goal no matter what life throws at me.

Thanks for the reminder!

RK said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful quote and post. Yes, it all comes down to the choices we make.

Keep playing!

Christine said...

Piedmont Writer: It is the journey, embarking on it, that is our success story. The rest of the elements are the bonuses we receive for having taken the risk.

M.V.: Life happens. I think the older I get, the more it happens. But good for you to make the choice to keep going on the journey after you sidestep the poop on the road :-)

Louisa: I know you'll be rewarded for having faith in yourself and in your dreams. You're not defined by any one talent or gift or success. I believe you'll make it far in the writing industry because you are so multi-dimensional.

RK: keep making the choice to follow your heart and your passion. Your reward is in the journey and the people you meet along the way.

Jeanie said...

Sometimes it is hard to find that faith in yourself, especially when you are being slammed by rejections or sidetracked by life and and the voice of doubt, whether it be your own or others'. I have taken my first small step on the other side with a book contract and an agent. But still, at times, I struggle with insecurity and anxiety. What if I can't make my deadline? What if I don't have another book in me? What if I suck and nobody reads me?

I am forging ahead, though. I mean to give it my all. And it is important to surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Eliminate, as much as possible, the joy suckers and negative toads from your life. And keep on keeping on.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Great stuff, Christine. We just have to do what we do because we can't do anything else.

Christine said...

Hi Jeanie: I am so happy for you that you've reached the "other side" of publishing :-) But I do understand that it comes with it's own fears and doubts. I believe that if you are there, you were meant to be there. I will be buying your books and looking forward to reading all of them. You are my lighthouse!

Hi Gwen: Yes. We do what we have to do because to do nothing less would dishonor our gifts. You rock and you have grown so fast as a writer. I am amazed at your journey! I feel you are on a speedboat!

Wendy Marcus said...

A wonderful post as always, Christine. I haven't hop scotched in years....but will now make it a daily practice. It's so easy to get derailed when trying to write, especially when the words aren't coming as easily as you'd like.

And Hi to my new friend from national Marie who is a member of this blog!

Christine said...

Hi Wendy: I think having writing to keep you hopscotching is a fabulous thing. Your hard work and determination will pay off. I can't wait to see your medical romance when it is released :-)