It’s another beautiful day in Puerto Vallarta, and as I sat on the balcony enjoying my morning coffee, I could hear roosters crowing and see people heading off to their jobs. The daily grind…for years I did the same when waitressing for a living, and still remember that feeling of dutiful resignation. I still get a wee thrill now, that feeling of every day being a day off! But this morning I realized that until recently it was tinged with…something more sinister.
You see I, like most of us, was raised to think that we all must spend the majority of life toiling with dutiful resignation to survive. Even many promising, fulfilling careers (lawyers, doctors, teachers etc.) tend to get overbearing, leaving the participant weary and eager for retirement it seems. Yet, there is a very ingrained belief that “this is the way it must be” and anyone who doesn’t conform to this is often painted into the “irresponsible and lazy” category.
I realized this morning that I had recently let go of a bad feeling I wasn’t even fully aware of, and replaced it with a sense of peace and clarity. Ever since I took the leap in fully embracing my art, there had always been this lingering conditioning in my brain that had told me I was running from responsibility; that secretly I was lazy and just didn’t want to have to work…that somehow I figured I was “special” and should just be able to flit through life doing whatever the hell I feel like while everyone else pulls the weight of the world. In a way, I was resenting myself the way I figured society must be.
However, looking back I can sense the carefully constructed lie in this. In reality, I embraced a different set of challenges than usual and so far have done a masterful job at meeting them head on. I gave up the financial security that a regular job provides, and the stability that comes with that. I come from a family that isn’t in the position to give handouts, and wouldn’t even if they were (rightly so, I believe). Everything I own fits neatly in my car while still leaving room for passengers, and I can walk by any shop window you put in front of me without a second glance. I am far from lazy, and put a lot of time and effort into the creation and promotion of my art. I do not mourn giving up a life of luxury and security, for freedom, adventure and a dream. And this dream fills me with such energy and focus that sometimes I feel I could burst with happiness for this moment in its perfection.
I’m not trying to preach that my way is the way, or even that living a “regular” life sucks. I am no saint or monk, and have plenty of wonderful kinks to work out when it comes to my own personal system. We are all on our own journeys, with our own hardships and lessons and victories to face. What I’ve learned so far is this: Dreams aren’t bullshit and taking the scary leap, giving up the cushiony things, just puts them inside where they can never be taken away. Everyone has their own idea of what living the dream is, and whatever it may be for you, I can tell you that the feeling you get while striving for that is WORTH IT. It has allowed me to recognize how incredibly connected we Earthlings are (and by Earthlings I mean all of us, including plants and other animals as well as the ground on which we press our feet and the air we breathe, the billion year old water we drink), and how precious we all are including the sick ones. And the whole money thing? If you watch the second Zeitgeist documentary (titled Zeitgeist: Moving Forward) you will see what I think of all that. I will make money as long as I need to, with the sincere hope that soon it will be obsolete along with slavery and borders.
I apologize to all my redneck friends in Alberta for making such a hippie statement (wink wink!). I reject the notion that it is human nature to be selfish and ruthless in pursuit of success. Perhaps it is a conditioning of our society in its very structure, to see ourselves as separate and to feel a great loneliness within that causes us to cling fiercely to “those few who matter”. I would like to be a small part of a great shift, towards a future that is brighter than we can imagine. My art is just a beginning; a small yet significant effort towards inspiring beautiful moments in which all else is forgotten, and we are as children again.