On “How to Avoid Work: A 1949 Guide to Doing What You Love” & a Response to Mother

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You know you’re in the right place when you just glow from it. Being in the flow, in the zone, it has as many names as the names of god. I have a firm belief in the gifts given to each, in the muses that come and go at their own will, in the art that comes through us but is not of us as our children do and aren’t. Gifts in the world but not of it as some said of their famous savior.

I also have a firm belief in belief.

People succeed or fail, in spite of or especially because of their tawdry circumstances.

It’s in autobiographies everywhere.

The exceptions- I said I don’t believe in exceptions- but the exceptions of arriving to the dais come down to the quality of belief in the possibility of achievement. Suddenly, as distant as I could possibly be from religion, I finally understand faith. All the successful, however defined, are devout. They ignored the demurring cynics parading as realists in akimbo. What is reality? And are there not different versions of it? Just as truth?

“Facts” are always in the end, just someone’s opinion. From the State of Israel to my bickering children to the imagination of a five-year old to the discoveries of science, there is evidence of this. And even evidence is a synonym for fact, which is a perception of truth, which is a component of reality, which are all up for interpretation ultimately, which makes it all a choice.

And yet not a choice, no more than the singer chose to have the voice or the painter chose to mix colors well and draw straighter lines and rounder circles than I could ever dream of. No more than the accountant could choose being practical or the politician choose smooth words, except he thinks he chooses as fastidiously as the green-thumb-blessed chooses his seed and when the fruit is ripe for the picking.

The relationship between choice, and belief or faith, and gifts, circumstance and the 99% of events off of our radar screen is a desultory, polyrhythmic interpretive dance as incomprehensible and as beautiful and as debilitating and as empowering as the meaning of life itself.

Let us be whirling dervishes.

(See: “How to Avoid Work: A 1949 Guide to Doing What You Love” by Maria Popova from Brain Pickings)

 

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