Georgia O’Keefe wrote: ’Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing’. This quote has been running through my mind the past couple of days, for good reason. I finally understand what she means; I’ve understood her words before, but more abstractly. Now I feel the understanding and embrace it personally. Each time I publish a new book, post new photos to this blog, or create short video clips, I am making my unknown known. But I didn’t fully realize until recently that the reason I do these things has more to do with unleashing my creative energy (true success) and less to do with aiming for financial success. Just so I am not misunderstood; if my books, photos or videos can earn some money, I’d be very pleased about that. But it’s not the main reason I create them. It matters more to me that a reader of one of my books or blog posts contacts me to tell me that he or she really liked what I wrote, or that I helped him or her see a situation in a new way. I know that’s true because that has happened in my own life. There are books, albeit very few, that have changed my life for the better. Something about the way they were written, in addition to the time in my life when I read them—a coincidence that led to change. The written word has much power; that has been commented on many times before. But the same has happened to me when I have watched a good film or happened upon a very special song. Doors get unlocked in my mind, and I get to wander through them and into new rooms--wide open spaces waiting to be filled with new experiences. The creative world is a world that I simply could not live without; it is true freedom that no one can take from you. Now that I live in it, I have no desire to return to a world that wishes to shackle me. The desire to shackle may not be intentional, but whenever the unappeasable demands of others, e.g. in the workplace, supersede my own wishes, I feel shackled. Whenever someone or something wants to waste my precious time, I feel shackled. When you finally realize how precious time is, and how short life is, you don’t want to squander it on activities or people that give you nothing in return.
Socrates wrote: ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’. It was important to him that he got in touch with his ‘unknown’; that was his definition of being alive. I agree with him. If you never dig deeper into yourself, you’ll never know what you could create. You’ll never find your talents, and you’ll never make your unknown known. Perhaps that doesn’t bother most people. But I don’t know if I believe that. I wonder sometimes if most of us just never find the time, or make the time, to make it happen. Time passes by, and suddenly a lifetime does too. Suddenly I am reminded of Horace’s quote: ‘Carpe diem (seize the day)’. There’s no time like the present to get started…….