Friday, July 23, 2004

Nothing is all-important

My beliefs and actions are cosmically insignificant—important only to me and the people around me.

One of the first books I read as I was beginning to look for a new goal in life was Gregg Levoy's, Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life.   Levoy tells of an experience that put his calling as a writer into perspective.  Looking out at a mesa and realizing that our entire culture would eventually be a thin layer of sediment on the side of a mountain, he acknowledged that his life's work would have very little impact in the long run.  He concluded, "Yet precisely because it makes a flyspeck of difference whether I write my essays or not, somehow this frees me up to write, to follow the calling, to do whatever I want, because there is no failure."

This was a profound statement to me.   What I do with my life is not likely to change the world for good or ill, so from a cosmic standpoint it hardly matters what I do.   I am free to fail.  On the other hand, my life has a substantial impact on my family and friends, and of course it is extremely important to me.   I want to do what I can to make our life good, so I do my best to find ways to do that.  I'm free to be creative.

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