In Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, she writes:
I listened to the Big Magic audiobook last month during my flights out west and back. This week, while writing some morning pages and trying to carve out a creative practice routine, I remembered this notion of taking a vow.
I wondered what my life would be like today had I taken a vow at age sixteen. I am not one hundred percent sure what would have received a vow of devotion. I certainly didn't know myself clearly enough then to know what I wanted. It took me to the age of forty-two to take the first steps in discovering myself as an artist. Ten years later, I still cannot say that I am devoted to that pursuit. I've let a lot of things continue to knock me off track.
On that morning, a few days ago, more questions flowed from my heart, from my pen. What if I had known at age sixteen to take a vow, to be devoted to being an artist, to creativity, to painting? What if I had known myself so well then that my time, my energy, my resources, from then until now, would have been directed toward making art? How would my life be different?
Oh, but I consider these somewhat futile questions. I don't like imagining different scenarios for my life. I don't like considering even the butterfly effect of one small thing being different. I wouldn't want my life to anything other than what it is today.
Instead, I ask myself,
- What if you took a vow today?
- What if today, a few days before turning fifty-two, you took a vow of devotion to your art-making, in all its forms?
- What would that look like?
- What would have to change?
- What would you add to your life?
- What would you subtract from your life?
- What if all of these questions don't have to be answered in order to take the vow?
- What if the questions and the search for answers become a distraction to making the art?
- What if if all you have to do is show up and make the art and let the rest sort itself out?
- What if it could be easy?
I'm going to do it. I'm going to take a vow. I'm going to create my own ceremony, get down on my honest-to-goddess knees, and take a vow.
What about you?
To what would you devote your time, your energy, your life?
Tell me about it.