Let’s talk about intention…
Yesterday I had a conversation with my friend and mentor Darius Bashar. Over the last three years, Darius’ presence has anchored me to my heart. He’s guided my intentions with powerful conversations that frame the importance of integrity, awareness and expansion.
Yesterday, we discussed two of the most universal, if simple themes that humans can experience: love and fear.
As a creative, I’m no stranger to these entities. I love creation. I fear irrelevance. I love supporting communities. I fear abandonment. I love inspiring emotion. I fear financial instability.
As the year winds down, and another trip around the sun is on the horizon, new beginnings simultaneously cannot arrive soon enough, and are also terrifying when internal whispers remind me how unprepared I feel.
Both exist, as with love and fear.
Today I reflected on how these themes have influenced my lifestyle – particularly as they pertain to what jobs I take, and those that I avoid. I noticed that both love and fear impacted my work in impactful, though different ways.
To give myself some organization, I categorized all of the gigs (jobs, shoots, projects, work etc.) that I accepted based on how I felt their acquisition was guided. I asked myself, “did I take this responsibility on because of a motivation influenced by love, or because I was motivated by fear”.
Creation – influenced by love.
These projects feel like the first weeks of a summer romance. These are dates where you wish they’d last for five minutes more, always. They make you want to pick up the phone and call your friends as soon as you get home. They live rent-free in your psyche. They make you want to be better, but also help you acknowledge that you deserve to stand steadfast in your convictions and capabilities, knowing inherently – you are enough, as you are, and you are prepared for the journey in front of you.
These projects requite your energy. It’s one-for-one, input and output. Regardless of the length of their tenure, they cyclically regenerate effort and motivation. They chop wood and also sharpen your axe.
They are investment and return.
They are direction and destination.
This creation is about loving the process – creating because the flow is enough as it is. It’s the freedom of splattering paint on a canvas and seeing what wonderfully-whacky shapes you can trace with your fingers.
Creation – influenced by fear.
These projects feel like looking at a rain soaked map, whose smeared ink is only slightly more legible than the murky storm in your heart.
They make you want to run. Something is unsafe. You choose this work because you have to, not because you want to.
It’s the tinder date that ends sloppily after one drink too many… and after a flash in the pan, you’re left feeling emptier than if you’d stayed focused on the quality of your spirit, and simply weathered the storm until brighter days arrived.
They make you want to run – but you can’t because to abandon your direction means ignoring the part of you that needs the certainty hard-won by arriving at the destination that is completion.
These are the jobs that are taken because “well, I guess the money is enough on this one”… “rent”s coming up’s due and this would help ends meet”… “I’m not busy that night, so this gets me out of the house”…
This creation is focused on being a solution. It makes money. It builds bridges. It is investment of energy for money. It’s commodification. It’s bounded. It’s an archery tournament and every iota of distance from true centre reminds you of how badly you’ve missed.
So what do we do?
We need to be fulfilled creatively. We need to be united with work that is a triumphant scripture line in our legacy’s script. We also need to earn money to keep roofs over our studios. We need to pay our teammates. We need to feed ourselves.
So, we pause. We breathe. We invite awareness, and remind ourselves of how successful a job was – not because of the quantitative metrics of money, reach, engagement or links clicked… we feel into the qualitative connotations of our professional concentration based on how it felt to do the work.
We ask the light gleaming in the eyes of our inner artist… did we feel safe doing this work? Did this work contribute to the positive balance of our emotional bank account? Are we proud to have played the game in a flow state? Did we enjoy the doing, not relish the done?
If the answers to the above are more frequently “no”, than “yes”… then different questions must be asked to tip the scales back towards a state of loving creation.