When I hear the voices, real or imagined, clambering around me, of those who wish for me to fail, seeming hell bent on undermining my bliss, I have finally learned to laugh. Sure, I know my videos may be seen as silly, I know NETI is just a glimmer of the creative potential I have as an artist. I realize I’m no Velasquez when it comes to portraiture. Perhaps I’m over-trained or under-trained. My acting is sometimes undermined by tension. My blogs may sound pompous to some. My voice often quivers with doubt. But I am a human who has lived through experience, with much to say. I have a voice. I’ve been at it for years and will be till I die. I am in it, all the way, no turning back. And though I still hear the truth that lives in the critic’s words and learn from even the harshest of them, they no longer translate into “I’m bad,” in my core.
For so many years I believed I was damaged goods, that no matter how hard I tried, all the work, the dedication, the dreams, I would never really amount to anything. I carried the carcass of “I’m not good enough” around like a dead animal as I lived to prove to others that I was good enough, as if to convince myself.
I am so incredibly happy to report that cloud of inevitability has lifted, the reasons for its being, imaginary, invented by my desire to be loved in a world where love is given and withdrawn on a whim, for reasons I will never know or understand. The idealist in me, crushed by the cruelty of the world, but never killed completely, because I still had breath in my body enough to fight my way to bed time in one piece, has arisen from the blood stained Earth in triumph. I have survived.
How could such a transformation occur, when for so many years the sunset, taunting me with it’s spender, only served to remind me of how separate I was from God? Was it the beauty of the twilight, or the delicate breath of my sweet children sleeping in my arms? Was it the suffering of my nephew Dominic, laying paralyzed in some dreary nursing home tucked neatly away in another state, but somehow always present?
It was the realization that the horrors in my past, the cards I had been dealt, the demons lurking under every rocky moment looming so fiercely in my past and future, were all the invention of my mind. They were my attempt to explain a world that made no sense to me, a cruel and bitter world, where children are used as sex toys and money and fear are the supreme driving forces. A world so wondrous in hope for some, yet cold and cruel for many others.
What awakened me to this truth? It was the realization that I am not entitled to something I don’t already have, which others may or may not possess. I put an end to desire, to envy. I realized I don’t deserve something else, that there is no better place for which I must long to have, like a petulant child reflexively and blindly wanting what it wants. There is only that which I have right now, which is an awful lot. And recognizing that what I have right now was not born out of desire, but out of grace. And if I waited another day to be grateful for what I had right now, I realized I would miss out on the best of me. My arrogance, my hubris, which is just another manifestation of my self-loathing, the force I actually believed was driving my ambition, was the very thing keeping me from ever being worthy of another’s love and admiration. The irony of wanting someone I loathed (which at my worst was everybody) to approve of me seems completely absurd, but that’s exactly what I was doing. It became very clear that if I continued to believe for one more minute, that I should delay my happiness until things were different than the are right now, I would never realize my fullest potential.
Now I’m on the right road, the road to becoming, a genius in the making? Perhaps. Who cares? All I know is I am filled with a joy for every moment I’ve been given.
But still you may ask, how did this transformation actually come about? What did I really change? You deserve a straight answer, so here it is: It involves breathing, and stillness, and offering myself to others, and celebrating my connection with them, thinking and doing, rather than feeling, putting others’ needs before my own, doing my damnedest not to harm others and forgiving myself when I do. Being honest with myself and others. It involves giving up the idea that I can save anyone, the way Jesus saved me. I have come to discover there is great power in powerlessness. I no longer do what I do to impress others, but rather to become more one with them. My delusions of grandeur have given way to a kinder, gentler way. I fancy myself now moreas a hard working stiff. One of the people, trying to make an honest buck.
So if you happen to find my movies silly, my paintings lacking, my writing loud, may God love you always; may you find peace and joy in your need to make me less than you. If you get something, anything that lifts you up, out of what I do, may God love you for that as well. For I no longer wish to control your thoughts, which is the greatest delusion of them all.
If you like/don’t like or want to add your thoughts to the conversation, I encourage you to comment. Also, you may want to get a copy of Point of Art – Second Edition, or download it today. I offer career coaching for those serious about a career in art. Don’t forget to check out The Portrait – a painting video and The Power of Positive Painting, the original portrait painting video.