I began to analyze these beautiful words of wisdom this morning as I was writing my morning pages, and realized the significance of being clear on what he means by “everything works”. What does it mean when something “works”?
This reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine, an amazing sculpture, Debbie Korbel. (Her work is amazing, I recommend checking out her website) I was telling her that I am such a perfectionist when it comes to my work, and that I get anxious because of it, and sometimes frustrated because it doesn’t come out perfect. She said she never feels that way about her art! Whaaaaat?? I was shocked!! How can that be? Everyone I knew in the art world had been a perfectionist like myself, so I thought; how can anyone not worry about their art looking perfect?
The answer is, if you make your work from your heart and for your soul, and not for the audience you wont worry about it looking perfect, because the heart speaks the truth, and there is perfection in the truth.
For me a lot of times the meaning of my art “working” has been when I was able to sell it, or people had a positive response to it and gave me complements.
When I began my spiritual journey, I realized that art should be about self expression, and not pleasing others, but secretly I still wanted to sell my work so I felt that it had to please others, so I told my heart. “I understand, I will only do work for you and only you.” (But secretly hoped that by working for my heart, it would mean that the outcome would be perfect, and therefore others would like it, and hence want to buy it!) So I made my recent work, and yet I was not happy because it wasn’t perfect like I had hoped, which made me tired and frustrated.
I was discouraged. “WTF? I am making work for my heart, why isn’t it working?”
Haha..Despite “spiritual awakening”, “working” had retained its meaning of “perfection” and “sellable”. This is where I had continued to remain lost. I didn’t realize “Working” means that it speaks the truth of your heart. It says what you want it to say, and depicts the turmoil inside your heart. This truth might not always be pleasing to people. Many might even find it hard to relate to.
The reason Debbie doesn’t dwell on her work coming out perfect is because she only makes art to speak her heart, and her pieces “work” every time because of this!
Here is one of my favorite work by Debbie titled “WTF”:
Take the poems of Rumi, Hafiz, and many other mystic poets. Many people love them, because it speaks the truth, but also many don’t understand them. It can sound gibberish if you are not on the mindset of the truth. Nevertheless, their work remains timeless, and continues to spread across the globe, because it speaks the truth.
Without realizing, I had secretly hoped speaking my heart and the truth would make people like my work, (sneaky ego) but experience showed that this is not necessarily true.
It’s the same as when I fell. Somehow, in the back of my head I thought if I stay true to my heart, and stay present, I wont fall, but that’s not always true.
When you become a servant to the truth, you have to accept whatever comes, even if the outcome is not what you had hoped for. The outcome is what you need to grow and become closer to your heart.
I feel like I was a bit all over in this post, but isn’t that how our thoughts work? Constantly jumping from one thought to another!! No?
I will leave you with this poem by Rumi:
Wings of Desire
People are distracted by objects of desire,
and afterwards repent of the lust they’ve indulged,
because they have indulged with phantom
and are left even farther from Reality than before.
Your desire for the illusory is a wing, by means of which a seeker might ascent to Reality.
When you have indulged a lust, your wing drops off;
you become lame and that fantasy flees.
Preserve the wing and don’t indulge such lust,
so that the wing of desire may bear you to Paradise.
People fancy they are enjoying themselves,
but they are really tearing out their wings
for the sake of an illusion.
-Mathnawi iii 2133-38