When I arrived home after interviewing for my job as Assistant Professor of Art at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Doug presented me with an axe and a bucket.
He knew how badly I wanted this job, and that no matter what happened, whether I got the job or not, I still had to get up the next day and chop wood and carry water.
It comes from a Zen saying, “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” So we went around saying if you get the job, chop wood carry water, if you don’t get the job, chop wood carry water. I got the job.
For me this phrase is more about my inner attitude towards these moments of accomplishment and reward or failure and disappointment. The need to maintain my own inner calm, mindfulness, peace, no matter what the external circumstance. This is what my happiness project is about–being able to radiate, externally and internally that inner calm, mindfulness, peace and happiness. It’s not so easy.
I recognize that like Gretchen Rubin I am blessed in many ways: an incredible man with whom I share my life, a gorgeous home, a successful career, family and friends, my health, and interests that provide me with daily challenges. (like getting closer to that pull-up)
I’m working on a new little book object in my studio right now, it’s the last in a series of mail art exchanges that I am doing with two other Americans and three Australians. (Read more about it here.)
The text is my inspiration right now as I do my best to be the positive and light person I want to be. It’s short, and you’ll have to wait until late August to see how it comes together, until then, would love to hear what you are doing to be positive and light in the world.blind corners lurk switchback risk the sure feeder thread the steady incline push
I am letting myself play.
No matter what else is happening, sitting in the falls of Umpachnee yesterday and letting the water rush over my body, completely unattached to time or outcome, I felt all my concerns and cares, outcomes and endeavors lighten and shift.
Something about playing…even with the hulahoop in the yard after watering the tomatoes….my approach is lighter.