The Secret To All Good Things In Life

There's this age old Zen quote that goes along the lines of this:

"Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

I really am not sure who originally said this, but it struck a chord of resonance with me in part because I have a tendency towards a more is more mentality. This tendency has reared its head in the way I've approached my writing in the past. I viewed writing for the sake of gifting myself with a creative outlet as trivial and because of this, I was discouraged to try if there wasn't something externally significant to be gained from my effort.

My interpretation of this saying is that greatness is birthed from a commitment to the minutiae of the craft, free of expectation of what may come of it. It's when we are willing to hunker down and commit to the mundane tasks that contribute to our grander visions, that we begin to clear the path for great things to come our way.

For all of my fellow writers out there, our version of chopping wood and carrying water is repeatedly putting our individual truths into written form, word by word, page by page. As we do this consistently, our truth telling muscle grows stronger, we begin to churn out pages that are more coherent and this growing pile of completed pages begin to take on the form of something commendable-- an established blog, a nearly complete manuscript, a TV pilot.

In writing and in life, all we can do is consistently put our best work, our best selves, forward and see where the cards fall from there. To do something solely for the outcome we think it may bring us would be to miss the point. Life is a continual work in progress, to live is to strive and it's in the striving that we form meanings and derive the satisfaction that we so often look to the outcome to provide us with.

The one true final destination is death. As long as we are alive we will be seeking. When we make peace with this fact that there will always be more to strive after, we can find pleasure in this endless process of seeking, of moving through the motions that help us to grow as individuals.