“Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” – Francis of Assisi
There is an old story about Quaker relief workers in Europe after World War II. After receiving help from the workers, a refugee asked what Quakers believe.
When a few of the Quakers explained that they believed helping people with their physical needs was the most spiritual thing they could do, the woman broke out in a smile and said, “You Quakers ought to preach what you practice.”
Of course, in keeping with their simple way of life, the Quakers felt it was more important to live one’s faith than to preach it, which is why one of their most profound and well-known statements is “Let your life speak.”
This command urges artists to live life authentically, to make sure our daily actions display our values and deepest beliefs.
Artists – What Do Your Current Actions Say About Your Life?
What do your daily actions say about your beliefs? Are your highest values and ideals guiding everything you do? Or do you save your best self away from work?
There’s a strong tendency among artists to separate our work life from our “real” life. We work because we have to, so then we can spend the weekend doing what we really want to. We see work and play as opposites– and long for playtime to erase the memory of work.
Even our fantasies about retirement make it clear that many seek to eliminate work as quickly as possible so that we can experience what we anticipate will be day upon day of uninterrupted play. Those conflicting opposites compete for our time and energy.
Wherever you are on your artistic journey, I would advise you reflect on these important issues now. It’s a healthy process at any point in life to ask, “Who am I and where am I going?” This question can prompt an exciting process of redirection and lead to new clarity and a new sense of meaning and accomplishment.
And as you discover throughout the posts on this art blog, there are a wealth of new opportunities that allow you to create your own work, perhaps unlike anyone has done before.