Wednesday, May 29, 2013

349/365: On Being a Maker

"I could use a hand with this." ...creepy, I know.
A remnant box at the Architectural Salvage shop.
I whole-heartedly declare myself a maker. A maker of things. My hands cannot resist creating. I’m even getting better at making meaning. But for me, being a maker is not just about making beautiful things. It is about making things happen- reinventing the circumstances in my life that aren't working for me, manifesting dreams, and creating happiness. 

Along with acknowledging my creative existence, I took on the duty of restructuring the very fabric of my life: my work, my relationships, my mental landscape. It has been an enormous overhaul. I've made gains and progress and learned a great deal, but I still have far to go. While I trust that the design and creation of my life is up to me, my confidence, focus and self-discipline often waver. My husband gently reminds me, I'm the one getting in my own way. I know he is right. The determination against resistance and the initiative to take action is my responsibility. I admit, I could use a hand with this.

I have long rejected fatalism, the idea that man has no power to influence the future or his actions, that it is all decided by fate. This does not mesh with my independent path-paving spirit. In a fascinating book called Art & Fear, David Bayles presents a new view of fatalism as it may be interpreted by artists and all those who set out on a course of creation.
"...namely that [fatalism] is a species of fear--the fear that your fate is in your own hands, but that your hands are weak." 
Bingo. This fear has crept in often since beginning on the path to take control of my life. Some days, I celebrate the knowledge that it's all up to me, and feel liberated and empowered at the thought. More consistent days like this could do wonders for me productivity, but the doubts always find a way to creep in. I worry that it's all up to me, and I might not actually be able to hack it. I worry that I'll take on too much and find myself resenting the work, or that I'll put my time, energy and soul into something only to find that it doesn't suit me after all. (That has happened a time or two.) These worries alone are enough to send me hightailing it back to a place and time when things were decided for me and I made "safe" choices that were in my "future best interest." But I don't really want to go back there. I want to be a maker and I want to make progress.

I am still trying to get at the true source of this fear, to identify it by name and to respond to it with a brave voice and unwavering faith. That's the plan, anyway. I can't very well avoid progress for fear of what might happen, right? That is no way to live. FDR said it best: "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself."

Our hands, after all, are only as strong as our will and our mindset. Our hands will be more ready to take on the work of designing our happiness when our minds are clear of the limiting beliefs we impose on ourselves. We are all makers. We can make things and we can make things happen. Our power lies in our ability to make use of this understanding. 

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