Sometimes that’s the payoff, just the joy. It’s possible to get so focused on the other things that we forget to collect, to take the payoff. I think its an American thing, we value winners, we are achievers, we want a reward. Competitive and comparative, that’s how we get, as if the stuff we create and the things we do aren’t amazing, unique, and wonderful because we don’t measure up to someone else’s standards. You aren’t dancing for a panel of judges, you are dancing to make your soul happy. In everything you create, in everything you do, don’t forget to collect.
Its okay to do something without excellence, without being judged, without getting paid. It’s okay to do something because you like to, because you’ve never done it before, or because it needed to be done. And there is joy to be found in anything that comes from love and creation is an act of love. Coming from this place of curiosity, of imagination, of optimism is a reward by itself. Let’s call it joy.
I talk to sooooo many people who enjoy their creative pursuits and they always say, “If only I could get paid to do that.” A few people are lucky enough to get paid to do that, but professionalism changes everything. You don’t have to go pro.
You don’t have to win a dance competition to be a joyful dancer, you don’t have to qualify for the Masters to enjoy playing a round of golf, and its okay to pick up a guitar and scratch out a song, even if you are in no danger of getting a CMA Award.
The payoff is the joy, its immediate, it doesn’t come in the next life or on the next pay day. It comes during the creation, especially if the creating comes from honesty, from your heart, from your emotion. In your life, your daily life, you can get that payoff too, the payoff of knowing you are living in integrity, in kindness, in grace. The life you create, like the art you create, has an immediate payoff.
Just after the creation stops for the day, you take a look at what you’ve done and the payoff continues. You see the progress you made, you come out of the creative process long enough to admire your work, to appreciate it, to think of how you can improve it.
That joy, the one just before you close your eyes and go to sleep, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.”
In your art, and in your life: that feeling, that payoff. Don’t forget to collect.