A few years back my wife travelled to Dharamshala, India to volunteer at a school for special needs kids. My wife is a registered nurse with a big heart for helping others. She also enjoys travel and so the Dharamshala trip was a perfect fit.
It just so happens that His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama lives at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, India. While my wife was there, she purchased a scroll containing his writings. Upon her return, my wife presented the scroll to me as a gift. The title on the scroll is "The Paradox Of Our Age." I was so impressed with the scroll that I later hung it in my office at work.
I found the Dalai Lama's observations to be deeply thought provoking, and of particular value for creative people. Here's what the Dalai Lama wrote:
The Paradox of our Age
We have bigger houses, but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgements;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness.
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street
to meet the new neighbor.
We build more computers
to hold more information,
to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication.
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods,
but slow digestion;
tall man, but short character;
steep profits, but shallow relationships.
It is a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.
I think the Dalai Lama wants us to slow down and savor life more. Do a bit more self reflection. In our rush to find success, fame or attention we miss out on the deeper stuff. The important stuff. Like family and health and passion.
I would paint and write whether I made money or not. It simply brings me joy. But I have not been impervious to that persistent condition known as "wanting more." More money. More success. More recognition. I suspect it's a very human and common thing to want these things. And certainly our dreams, desires and wants can motivate us to achieve great things. It's just that "wanting more" can also lead to disappointment and unhappiness.
I enjoy reading the blogs posts of Joshua Becker at www.becomingminimalist.com. Joshua and his family adopted a minimalist lifestyle. They changed the way they live by focusing less on buying stuff. They embrace experiences and quality time over keeping up with the Joneses. In some ways, I think Joshua and his family have responded well to The Paradox of our Age. They figured out what matters most. And that's your health, family, friendships, helping others, meaningful work and creative passions.
Take some time to peer into that creative soul of yours. What do you see? What can you change? What would bring you joy, and what could you eliminate to create more balance and happiness in your life? The answers will vary for each of us. But I encourage you to ask the questions and then take steps to become the person you really want to be.