I’ve been working my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (affiliate link). It is a thoughtful way to speak to the locked-away-artists that live in the deepest recesses of our heart of hearts. The book sets up an interesting, and so far effective, framework for our creative selves, in recognizing and honoring and giving time to them.
One thing that comes up in (what I will affectionately call) TAW is the idea of creativity as a spiritual endeavor, and Cameron frequently invokes God or the Great Creator or just the idea of there being an unknown force in the universe that is working for us. She invokes this particularly when she talks about opportunity – that when you embrace this method and this process and then go on to *create,* the universe or God or the Great Creator will reward you with opportunity.
I have an entirely different view on this point.
To wit, I don’t believe in God or a Great Creator or an invisible force outside of ourselves. And I very much believe in the idea that we as humans tend to attribute the things that happen in our lives to serendipity or magic when it’s frequently a result of intention and attention. I’ve been amused to note many examples of this in my own life recently.
While I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, I’ve been getting back into a lot of different hobbies and rediscovering the passions that I have. And at the heart of it, a constant through the years, has always been a great love for food and eating and reading/writing/talking about the same. I have a self-declared affinity for baking in particular, and I have had many daydreams over the years where someone just pays me to eat and then read/write/talk about food. And then, a series of notable events. A few weeks ago, my sister-(in-law)^2 mentioned to me that one of our favorite bakeries in town was looking to hire a general manager. I had a friend visit over this past weekend that told me about the career path of one of her friends who is a successful food writer and cookbook reviewer. And then just yesterday, I was notified in my RSS feed that a local magazine that I read is looking to hire an intern for food writing.
I could definitely look at this collection of happenings and think that the universe is trying to tell me something. That someone out there is looking out for me and showing me what possibilities are available. But what I really think is that I’ve started letting myself pay attention to these opportunities, opportunities and conversations that have always been present and available but never sought out before. When I was in the midst of medicine, I never really let myself think too much about these other possibilities. I would have passed over that notice about a food writing intern without much thought because it just wasn’t something that could happen in my life at that time. And my family and friends, knowing what my life was then and knowing that I wasn’t ready or going to change, would never bring these opportunities to my attention. But now. Now, it’s different. Now I can let myself really dream and plan for something else. And now, people are bringing me these opportunities and I’m letting myself pay attention to them seriously.
There is something beautiful and elegant about knowing that these things are a manifestation of ourselves. That with intention and attention, we can change our lives. I don’t feel ready to capitalize on some of these possibilities yet – there are skills that I need to build, practice that needs to happen. But now I know that when I’m ready, they will be there.