Dale Chihuly in the garden. — Photo by Pat Bean
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekananda
Is It Worth It?
I spent this morning editing a chapter in Travels with Maggie, the book I’ve written about my journeys in my RV with my canine companion, Maggie. The chapter includes an account of my visit to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, where Dale Chihuly’s glass art was mingled with tropical plants in the garden’s geodesic greenhouse.
Chihuly flowers — Photo by Pat Bean
I was awed by the exhibit, and lay in bed that night, with Maggie by side above the RV’s cabin, pondering how a genius like Chihuly came to be. But I already knew the answer: Single-minded focus and dedication.
For almost as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a “great” writer, yet I’m always finding excuses for not writing. I lack the focus of a Chihuly, or a Van Gogh, or even an old boyfriend who religiously practiced his guitar four hours a day, seven days a week. I’m always getting distracted, and it used to be that when the writing went undone, I flagellated myself.
Beside a waterfall. — Photo by Pat Bean
Such abuse went on for years, until I finally realized that giving up riding roller coasters with my grandkids, arguing politics with my friends, discovering who my grownup children had become, exploring new hiking trails, white-water rafting with my river-rat buddies, mindlessly watching the sun rise and set, piddling with my watercolors, reading Harry Potter the day it came out, and sniffing every flower in life I came across, were more important to me than being a great writer.
Writing is a part of my life, and will always be, but it will never be my whole life. Knowing this, accepting this, and now content with this, I lay silently that night in bed, content and listening to Maggie gently snoring at my feet before I let the waves of sleep take me.
That was several years ago, and time has only made me more content with that decision.
Swami Vivekananda, whom I quoted at the beginning of this blog has it exactly right, But I’ve chosen another path, the one Albert Schweitzer recommended when he described what it takes to be successful.
“Success,” he said, “is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
I did and I do.
Blog pick of the day. Check it out.
Bean Pat: Hunting Butterflies http://tinyurl.com/qxckzg5 Living in the moment. Good advice
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