Recently, I saw that a fellow alum from my alma mater has retired. In fact, upon reflection, He had pretty much retired when I myself was attending our college: Art Center College of Design. Drew Struzan is one of the more successful alums of Art Center; he’s famous for doing all the George Lucas posters; Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and many others. His style is very recognizable; a kind of candy palette with Leyendecker rim lighting. Regardless of when he retired, It made me realize that I graduated decades ago and my career has never really become what I had dream of in those halcyon days at college.
Not everyone can make it big, and that’s ok. Throughout my adult life, in addition to creating art, I have also pursued the mystic life. And a difficult concept for me in this endeavor has been the kind of humble anonymity that is required to dedicate yourself to a higher power. So I’m finally accepting that I may never be a household name, that talk show hosts won’t invite me on their shows so I can expound on my opinion of the latest news cycle.
Instead, I can accept that I’m not going to be a cultural Icon and actually enjoy the life I have. I won’t stop making art, or writing or sharing my journey with you, but I can let go of negative resentment and jealousy regarding my lot in life. I have a family, whom I love with all my heart, we have a roof over our heads, generally we have enough to eat, and I get to spend my life taking care of them and doing the things I love.
I still have a lot of ego to surrender in order to become closer to the Beloved, but this is the right track. I remember when I first realized I was never going to be Michelangelo or Rembrandt, it was a huge relief to realize that I was enough, that my skill, while not along the lines of a great master, was enough. This is obviously a similar lesson. Being humble isn’t denying who you are, it’s realizing that who you are is enough.
I also had a recent thought regarding my son’s upcoming birthday, and the recent birth of my friend’s 1st child. When I found out that my wife was pregnant, I was terrified. How would we be able to have a baby? How could we afford it? What if I wasn’t a good parent? Would I have to give up my personal life to be a parent? I’d had similar worries about getting married and moving away with my new wife. These are really life altering and frightening prospects (to help answer one of these questions, my daughter crawled up on my lap in the middle of the last sentence to demand my full attention) In each and every instance, these frightening, possibly disastrous decisions, turned out to be the best things that ever happened to me. They are the true blessings of my life. I had the same fear of getting sober. It was so terrifying to me that I couldn’t even think of it. Of course it led the way to all the other great things in my life and putting it off for so long goes a long way to explain why my life didn’t become the material success I had dream of.
So surrendering completely to the Beloved is frightening. It sounds like a certain kind of death. How do I know it isn’t? What will happen if the result isn’t what I think it will be? (It won’t be) But what have I got to lose? After all, I am nobody.