More than thirty years ago I came across a brief poem in a Tom Robbins book. I’ve searched diligently — three minutes, that’s a week in internet time! — and couldn’t locate the original text.
So I’m going to paraphrase Tom Robbins, poorly no doubt:
So private, so private
To make them real
So public, so public
Doesn’t that say it all? In our private moments we harbor heady ambition for ourselves . . . until we think about going public with it.
And yet it’s the only way toward anything of consequence.
“You have to declare yourself in,” Stuart Wilde says in an audiobook I was listening to on the road today (exiting Nevada, through Utah, into Wyoming).
He was speaking of the metaphysics of distance. Making sure you’re not distancing yourself from what you want. Others would speak of it as demonstrating real commitment. To thrust yourself into the flow. To invite yourself into the conversation.
Wilde was speaking of how you need to put yourself in proximity of your true goals. If you want to be a filmmaker, then LA or New York City is where that energy is gushing forth. If you are a salesperson, then you’ve got to get in front of clients. If you are Snoopy, why then you’ve gotta dance!
I think of this in relation to this site. The audience has been growing steadily . . . and yet I don’t feel I’ve declared myself in. I’ve been letting the internet do the back door work for me. When people ask me what I do, my default is, I own an art gallery with my wife.
That’s true, though only the partial truth. My new default needs to be, . . . and I write about creativity and spirituality. (And whee!)
I’ve been trying it out on the road. With my van covered in artwork I’m asked everyday what I do.
To declare yourself in — it’s so public. You have to put yourself out there. It’s where failure happens. It’s where things can go awry. It’s where people don’t care. Or worse, where people doubt you. Or find your aspiration to be meaningless.
You’ll also find people will support you. Some of them. People will help point the way. A few of them. Every now and then someone will push you further than you imagined you’d go.
To declare yourself in — it’s where the adventure begins. I mean this in the age old sense of the word, where your undertaking can go badly wrong. Though not without extraordinariness along the way as well.
To declare yourself in is to propel yourself into full life.