I had a different post lined up for this week, but after the terribly tragic events that happened this past weekend, I want to shift gears and touch on a topic that has weighed on my heart for a long time...
When it comes to global tragedy and suffering, "Am I doing enough?" is a question I continue to ask, especially around my creative career.
I used to feel guilty for wanting to be an artist and make a living by sharing my creativity when there’s so much suffering.
I sometimes feel I should be on the “front lines", helping people directly.. You know, maybe joining the Peace Corps, starting or working for a non profit, studying to one day become a politician or UN ambassador.
So I asked a few amazing, gifted, deep thinking and feeling creative women in my life about this idea of how to justify personal and professional creative pursuits in a world with so much pain and injustice.
I could go on, but I'll hand it over to them, now. Their thoughts are incredibly illuminating, wise, and truthful. You'll want to keep reading.
Spoiler alert: Following what makes you happy is the best thing you can do for the world. Might that be entrepreneurship? Go to the bottom of this post for a free chapter download of my ebook EXPERIMENT: The less-complicated + reallyreally fun way to become self-employed.
Dana Balicki, Transformational Coach, DanaBalicki.com
"I spent nearly all of my 20s and a good portion of my early 30s as a political activist. On the front lines. For years I knew I was doing the right thing. And [during] those years so many people exalted me for doing such important work. And the work is important. [But] it's not the only work.
Who the fuck says that loving yourself and your form of expression and having the courage to share it is any less important than me trying to arrest a war criminal? It's not. We only grow when we dare to stretch. I became a coach (I serve artists and activists) because I saw how stuck we were. How willing we were to put those (important) causes above our own (petty) needs. I saw brilliant, vibrant change makers flame out.
If we believe our dreams and desires are petty then we are just internalizing the broken, poisonous paradigm that keeps us all small and afraid to be our boldest, brilliant selves.
Creativity is essential to change."
Laura Silverman, Writer, GluttonForLife.com
"Do your best. If you set an intention to bring grace and peace and transformation to the world, and meditate on this daily, you will begin to find ways to effect change.
As an artist, all your hopes and fears and desires eventually come out in your work and your work communicates to others.
We cannot stop falling in love, eating, dreaming—all the big little things of which life is made—in order to put the world to right.
Some of us will make tiny gestures; others are capable of more epic acts. But together, doing our best and being mindful of what want to accomplish, we shall overcome."
Annika Martins, Writer, AnnikaMartins.com
"When your work creates a feeling of alignment and flow for you, you're making a contribution to the planet.
Sometimes it’s so blatant — you walk into an orphanage, you feed a child. Blatant, obvious contribution. I can see that. I can’t always see the immediate impact made by my friend who’s an actor. Is she really making a difference in the world because she goes on TV every week and plays a character? I don’t know.
But what I do know is that if I encouraged her (or anybody) to move into a job that does "good, social justice work" but does not light her heart up, then I am priming her for the opposite of joy and fulfillment. I'm basically encouraging her to sign up for a life of disappointment and sadness, which is the same dark place that someone has to be in, in order for them to strap a bomb to their chest.
Every contribution that is made from a heart that is leaning towards joy and enthusiasm, a heart that wants to support, uplift and add to the love and light and wellness in the world, every one of those contributions matter."
Lindsey Witmer Collins, Entrepreneur, LindseyWCollins.com
"What we desire is that everyone has the freedom you do, so if you have it, it behooves you to use it. And anyone who doesn't have it would encourage you to do the same. This I know.
Bring brightness and joy and spread beauty. It matters. You matter.
If you did nothing but pursue your joy and spread it, and that would be all... that would be good."
Be sure to check out these amazing women and see what they're up to. They're each doing totally different, incredible work. [[Thank you Annika, Dana, Laura, and Lindsey, for contributing and sharing your wisdom!]]