I think it’s important not to compartmentalise your life.
I wrote some years ago, in an anti-school manifesto that never got distributed to its intended recipients, that “if you don’t let yourself do something now, at the very least in a small form, you can NEVER do it.”
That was me pushing back against the logic of school and the system it is part of that says you have to leave your dreams off to a later point. Study now, you can have your dreams later. Obey now, you can have your dreams later. Work 9-5 now, you need security. One day you’ll have enough security to have your dreams. But not now.
I strongly felt that was life-and-soul-destroying BS and pushed back oh so hard against it. Yet, nowadays I still find myself with some tendency to compartmentalise my life.
Do that later, first you have to do this. Do this now; do that later.
The trouble is that when you’re inspired to do something, it’s in the moment, not “later”. Besides, that voice which tells you what to do now, and what to put off, often isn’t very smart.
Imagine someone who works in a bank all their life, resisting their impulse to start a band and sing. They die and they’ve never done anything they ever wanted to.
It would have been better to start singing at the time they felt it, even if it would have meant some financial difficulties, because struggling a little to make ends meet is nothing compared to reaching the end of your life never having been yourself. *That* is danger. *That* is horror.
For sure you can work at a bank and sing in your time off. For some, that may even make sense.
But when a job, or “getting serious” and trying to secure your survival comes before you being yourself, and becomes an excuse for being yourself in some later time in the future that gets ever later as you put it off, it’s a danger.
What I’m seeing with myself now is that I’m getting far better at doing what I feel inspired to do — my full-time occupation is in fact something that comes from my inspiration — but I still have the tendency to fight against inspiration sometimes and try to do what I think I “should” do. This is dumb, because it makes me miss out on the surges of energy which inspiration brings.
I think there should be some way of combining inspiration and the energy that comes with it, with some “practical” thinking and time management. I’m trying to work that out at this stage. But, I think that still inspiration will usually be the main force, and my “practical” thinking will be at most like surfing the wave. After all, what I’m inspired to do usually comes at an intelligent time — that is, if it’s a true inspiration coming from a higher part of me, and not a craving or distraction, of course.
Compartmentalising is a big enemy in this. It’s the idea that you can do something in the future, that you’re going to put it off now. For sure, there is some sense in planning things with a sense of practicality. But I think if you have a surge of inspiration in the Now, that means that a greater intelligence than your inner “lesson plan” is coming into play. If you ignore inspiration to set something aside and into a future time, I think you’re killing a part of your life.
What I’m thinking now is that what I have chronically set aside for the future are two things:
1. Music; and 2. Meditation.
The common theme these both have is that I seem to think that mastery is some big goal that I don’t see myself having in the here and now. Masters of these arts have been inflated in my mind to something huge and unattainable. I think it’s clear that is a rather dumb idea.
I want to think about what life would look like if I allowed myself to practise those things now, without necessarily thinking about being this huge unattainable master of the art. Instead, I would enjoy these things: the learning process, the energy from my wave of inspiration, and the results I can get from them in the Now.
This was originally written as a Facebook post but got rather long. I was typing very fast without thinking – I rather like how it came out.