Click to hear me read this post:
Forget everyone you know.
Don’t abandon them, leave them, kick them to the curb (and if you do, for heaven’s sake don’t blame it on this blog post, man).
You don’t have to wish them harm or push or shove them out of your way. Just politely forget them. Just for a few minutes.
Forget about what their voices sound like or what they say, or what you imagine they might say.
Forget the Twitter chats and the Facebook postings.
Forget about what they tell you, what they don’t tell you, or what they ask of you.
Forget what you’ve read or heard or learned or challenged.
Forget the news, the books, the teachers, the ego monologue running around in your mind.
Forget advice. Forget being told. Or warned. Or cautioned.
All of this stuff, all of these voices, no matter their intention, are keeping you from listening to the only one that truly matters to your life and your art: your own.
Sometimes it feels scary to be alone; we are so lonely in our busyness and yet we are afraid to slow down, to sit quietly with our own minds. But that’s where the secrets are – in the silent mystery of who we are by ourselves.
So just for right now, forget every one you know.
And begin to remember you.
“Go down the path as far as you can, but never lose sight of the beginning. In the end, the purity and openness of the white belt is where you want to return.”
~ Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar
I don’t want to freak you guys out but I believe in God.
As in, I believe we did not create ourselves but we were fashioned by the Great Creator who loves us unconditionally and asks only that we be love for each other. That by aligning ourselves in Love, we are One Mind in the Mind of God.
Also and literally in the same breath, I tell you this: I do not appreciate “preachy” anything. I do not enjoy – nor do I expect anyone else enjoys – big, monstrously loaded words that for whatever twisted reason tend to scare, upset, separate or otherwise imply that people should be afraid of judgment, attack, being fed to lions, or death by angry fireball.
That is why I use the word Love more often than the word God. To me, these two words mean the same thing but folks tend to embrace one (in general) and resist the other (in general).
My goodness, why talk of such heavy things?
Perhaps more pointedly, what does this sudden (and, let’s be honest – not surprising) declaration of my belief in God have to do with beginners and making better art?
It has to do, my loves, because to talk about beginnings is to talk about the Infinite Force – the indestructible, unrelenting tenacity of Love, of God. A Love that can only begin and begin and begin endlessly. A Love that will never cease to create and never diminish in its power to create.
A Love that will call to you constantly, waiting for you to begin the thing you were put here to create.
To begin that which we are called to do in this life, to make our art, and to make better art, we have to begin repeatedly and alone.
“Seeking support from friends and family is like having your people gathered around at your deathbed. It’s nice, but when the ship sails, all they can do is stand on the dock waving goodbye.”
~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
So many, many people, you guys, never begin the life they were designed to live or create the brave, daring, honest art they desire because they are so damn scared to be alone. They are afraid to go first, they are afraid to be rejected, they are afraid to listen to themselves because they are afraid they might hear something.
They might have to let all the other voices down and pick only one.
They might hear a call, see a vision so grand, so deep and so beautiful that they would be unable to look away. They might find the invitation to their potential so incredible that they will accept it and have to go their own way, claim their own responsibility in manifesting it.
We have become too afraid of ourselves. We numb instead of love. We distract instead of telling the truth. We hide instead of seek. #WakeUp
— Allison Marie (@GloryBegin) February 5, 2015
So they numb out, they fight being alone at all possible cost; they resist looking within out of fear – not of their own darkness – but of their own light.
They never hear their own voice.
They never begin.
They never find their sound.
In the beautiful book Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo, the author invites us to understand that we are each here to look deep within and find our own unique sound. He further explains that all sound comes from the same Source. Sudo describes this universal connection as “the sound of the divine spark within us all.”
Zen masters call it sekishu no onjo – “the sound of one hand clapping.”
“For at the source of your sound is the source of all sound. Digging to that source means learning to hear every sound – yours and all those around you – as both distinct and One Great Sound. Call it the sound of one hand clapping, call it the voice of God. If you get to that source you will know the answer to every question because you will have heard it all.”
~ Philip Toshio Sudo
This series called Beginner’s Luck: 7 Ways The Beginner’s Mind Makes Better Art is about understanding what about the beginner’s mind gives her the advantage, gives her the ability to taste the glory and have the fun.
What is it about the beginner that makes him wiling to go bravely in his destined direction?
It is his willingness to go alone.
Knowing it is the only way to find his sound inside The Sound.
The truth is, the beginner’s mind creates better art because it is the mind of the endlessly creative, abundantly loving, and eternally life-giving.
The beginner’s mind is the Mind closest to God’s.
~ ~ ~
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© 2014 Allison Marie Conway at Glory Begin