The ultimate dream of any creative is to have unlimited (or enough) resources (namely time and money) to do what they love, to practice their art and awake from the pesky daily routine of laundry, bill paying, and livelihood earning, to realize it was all just an uncomfortable, sweat drenched nightmare. For some, the dream reality is a room with a view, a laptop and an endless supply of coffee refilled on demand. Or perhaps, it is the perfect size studio with Les Paul / Fender guitars lined up like toy soldiers and all night jam sessions with mates. For others, it is a passport, accepted in 99% of all countries, a secret stash of discontinued Fuji film and a super hero assistant who provides all logistical support back at home base.
To have enough resources to create. To stop struggling and have everything be easy.
The phone rings with an area code you don’t recognize. “Hi I am calling from the MacAuthur Foundation, may I please speak with…” You’ve just won the MacArthur Genius Grant! It awards an unrestricted 1/2 million dollar grant, over 5 years, for you to keep on doing what you love to do.
At first you are so excited to pick the location for that room with a view. Maybe you are considering the best sound proofing for the studio. Or you’ve got google maps up in front of you and are trying to work out an around the world ticket. Then this new reality quietly sets in. Struggle and suffering is a thing of the past. Scrappy, hungry and lean has always been your modus operandi and now you don’t need to be that anymore. What are you going to do with all those bits of you?
Does it surprise you to know that easy is harder than struggling?
Somehow we’ve been culturally conditioned to believe the rewards are proportional to the amount of suffering we go through. Somehow we believe the work is not good unless we paid for it with a pound of flesh and more.
Yet that is clearly not true.
The best work we do, we do not have to slug through. My best images, stories, and/or entrepreneurial ventures are nearly effortless. I show up. I am me and it all comes out, together, perfect, easy. It is the shoots that I spend hours wrangling into shape, the stories that I write over and over again, the recipes that I try to perfect that feel….forced.
I can hear your counterargument now. What? Oh, that there is a difference between actual creative efforts and making a pile of cash and/or other resources magically appear. But the creative act itself is an act of magic. This story, this song, this image did not exist until you reached into the ether and pulled it into being. You have willed it into existence. Why must we put what we need to create in a different category? My question is this: do we choose to struggle and do things the hard way because we are conditioned into believing that it is the only way? How far have we bought into the construct of “No Pain, No Gain?!” How much of our resistance is because the lack-of, the struggle, the being-without serves as an excuse from actually delivering the goods? If you had what you needed today, at your fingertips, on your terms, then you would have to deliver.
You know struggling is an option. Consider for a moment that ease is also an option.
Having and effortlessness are harder mindsets to live in than not having and struggling. You’ve never had it before. Struggle has its own toothbrush at your place. These are experiences and mindsets that you are well familiar with. Allowing yourself to receive what you’ve requested from the universe is an act that requires more guts and conviction than struggling through three day-jobs.
Maybe what we must first learn is that ease is an option and master the talent of receiving.
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