Joseph Campbell asked, "What are you going to do well?" There is our art, our gift, and our life. What are we going to do well, when it doesn't matter? When no one is going to notice, or know? When it amounts to nothing more than "divinely superfluous beauty"? There is our art, our gift, our life. Where in your experience do you have to get it right? If it is everywhere, you need to look at how you are dominated by your compulsion to be pleasing, and your inability to say no. Don't do anything about it! Do not try to make yourself start saying no! Simply be aware of it, be curious about it, search for when it started, for its origin in your life. Wonder about it. Dig around in it. See what you can turn up. And if it is nowhere-- if there is nothing you have to get right, you have to do well, you need to look at who took it away from you. Who made fun of you? Who ridiculed you? Who made you ashamed of caring about what you cared about? Simply become aware of your disconnect with what was once important to you, and curious about what happened to render you incapable of embracing aspects of your life as being worth your highest esteem. Dig around in it. See what you turn up. Joseph Campbell would say, "Reflection leads to new realizations." And that transforms the whole shebang.
The life that is ours to live-- the life we are built for, that comes with our destiny attached-- is so far removed from the life we are living, that it is no wonder we suffer from oxygen deprivation, can't get our breath, listlessly drift through each day. We do not fit the life we are living! We belong to another, vastly different life, and struggle to make room for that life in this life. Our heart isn't in what we are doing. How long has it been? How long have we been going through the motions, thinking it is going to get better soon? We think Jesus was about heaven when we die. Jesus was about living the life that is ours to live now, while we are alive! Jesus lived the life that was his to live and calls us to follow his lead in living the life that is ours to live. The Buddha did the same thing. Waking up means waking up to the life that isn't it, and to the life that is it. And living the right life. Even if we have to compromise, and walk two paths at the same time-- making enough money to pay the bills with this life, and doing what we pay the bills to do with our real life-- it is worth the work to do what we are here to do. We will find ourselves smiling for no reason, and laughing right out loud with delight over the good things we never noticed before. How long has it been since we did that? We are burning daylight here. Time's a-wasting.
We would all like to sail away from time to time. Or, as they say in the Old West, "Don't fence me in!" Being fenced in is the worst imaginable situation for a lot of us. "Give us land, lots of land, with the starry skies above... and don't fence us in." The odd thing about all this is that nothing is more confining, limiting, prison-like than a damn sailboat! I'm sure the irony is not wasted on you. Carl Jung like to say, "We meet our destiny on the road we take to escape it." We create the very future we try to avoid by trying to avoid it. And have less freedom than we can bear by trying to be free of all constants and restrictions. The trick-- the work-a-round-- is to be free right here, right now, just as we are. It's the old soldiers' Great Escape, being Absent Without Leave while standing at attention as the commanding officer passes in review. We are always a slight perspective shift from being outta here. It's the old Taoists' favorite retreat into seclusion and solitude. Just flip the switch! "Turn the light around!" Take your leave! Sail away! Without going anywhere! And if the situation is really obnoxious, drift back in from time to time and say, "I'm sorry, my mind must have wandered, can you repeat what you were just saying?" And drift immediately away again. That may not work on an arresting officer, but it's good for insurance salesmen standing at the door.