She looks at me stunned. “But how do you get up every day and keep going? Why don’t you just get a job and stay here? Wouldn’t that be easier?”
My left arm is thrown over the back of my chair, and my right index finger is slowly tracing the curve of the coffee cup in front of me. This is something I have thought about every day for the last year. I smile slowly and look directly in her eyes.
Every morning when I wake up, I know that there is nothing else that I could be doing. All I have to do is get out of bed (or off a couch) in the morning, look at my to-do list, and then do the first thing. That’s all it takes. The money always comes in — some how, some way. Worrying about it and trying to raise all of it in advance wore me into the ground.
There will never be ‘enough’ money if I focus on the ambiguous idea of ‘stability’ that American kids are raised on. The only way to stay sane is to just see that today is taken care of. Tomorrow may never come, so why worry and obsess over it?
All I can do it make today the most fulfilling and generous day possible. Give to my community. Express my love to everyone I meet. Jettison every creative impulse I have out into the world so that perhaps someone else can latch onto it.
That’s how I can get up. Because today holds all the possibility in the world.
Fighting the waves of worry over the planning for this project sapped my energy to the point that it was unsustainable. Now I only see today. Today I paid a bill. Today I ate. That is all that I can see. And there is a shocking amount of contentment in that.
Granted, I still have spreadsheets full of long-term planning — two years’ worth of deadlines for collaborative projects with artists around the world — but that externalization has freed my mind.
When Chuck Pell and I were chatting about artistic resilience, he explained to me how the Inuit kayaks were built. The original kayaks were crafted out of bone, hide, and sinews. The reason that they were so incredibly fast and durable was because of their flexibility. The kayaks were purposefully made with balls in the joints — not like the modern single plastic hull — so the vessel would bend and flex with each wave.
The waves will always come so why fight them? Just skim over the top.
What is something you can do today to begin building the mental vessel that will enable you skim over the top of your anxiety and move with more speed, agility, and purpose?
Check out more posts from the “Inspiration” section of this blog for some ideas to get you started.