There is a difference between reality and truth – the former can sometimes have shades of gray, the latter is always black and white.
– Jack Nargundkar
Truth and Reality
Filming has begun in the pilot episode in an upcoming series of documentary films about people attempting to affect positive change in their lives. In my case they wanted to film my story of having adjusted my life from an owner of a medium-sized manual therapy clinic and nationwide teacher to that of (simply a) therapist and professional artist showing and selling internationally.
When first approached by the film’s producer, there was a suggestion that I had cleverly strategized a controlled change from the hectic lifestyle of a clinic owner and nation-wide teacher to something more – as they put it – ‘Zen’.
I made it clear that nothing could be further from the truth.
Still… While our ideologies aligned regarding making healthy life changes, I sensed that some of my truths may be lost in the translation from fact to film.
Having a background in film, I understand the needs of documentary filmmaking; and that fact alone cannot possibly make for good storytelling. I knew what I was signing on for when I agreed to be filmed.
Besides, it was not a sinking feeling and I did not dread the outcome. I decided (Omm!)… simply to (Omm!) trust in their film-making process, safe in the knowledge that (Omm!) whatever the final product, the film would be (OmmOmmOmm) of service. That the film’s message might serve to encourage or fortify others in their own transformations.
“His answer to every problem, every setback, was ‘I will work harder!’ – which he had adopted as his personal motto.”
– George Orwell, speaking of Boxer from Animal Farm
The truth of the matter is – a fact I mention openly in the documentary – that in business, I fell prey to my both my ego and my Anglo-Saxon work ethic, specifically, when something (business) was not unfolding as desired, my solution was to work harder.
Like anyone starting a business, I made mistakes; some costly, some innocent and some of which I would occasionally learn from.
And even though I did enjoy certain successes, what it took for me to sustain this level (let alone build on) seemed beyond the scope of my creativity and knowledge and it all began affecting me negatively. The person who I was becoming to facilitate this ”success” was not an authentic me – certainly not someone who I liked.
Eventually, nothing about my business achievements felt triumphant.
I became increasingly discouraged. This deceptive need for success was gradually sapping me of joy, creativity and resourcefulness. It felt like everything I was building up was simultaneously breaking me down.
To be sure, I sought help and heeded advice from mentors and took courses before succumbing to the reality that passion and talent and desire simply do not a good businessman maketh !
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
It was such an exquisite realization that after years of blindly beating my head against the wall of success I could choose not to be an entrepreneur.
It was revelatory to me that I could downsize and go back to being just a guy with a treatment table in an office (albeit a much nicer office!). I found I could make the same or more money in 3 days a week than I would have in 5 or 6 days a week.
Suddenly I could take holidays. I had afternoons and evenings free. It was decidedly easier to wake and appreciate the day ahead.
Now – What to do with all that spare time?
Success without Strategy
As I say in the film… There was absolutely nothing strategic in my becoming an artist. No scheme. No plot. No plan…
It happened and I let it.
It did not take long for me to appreciate and take full advantage of my extra time.
I began to meditate in the morning. I took more therapist courses.
But what was most interesting to me was that I also found myself drawing – a lot.
Since ending a career in animation 13 years earlier, I had not once lifted a pencil to sketch or even doodle while on the phone.
Suddenly I was drawing and enjoying it as though I had only just discovered it. It was enormously gratifying. Drawing brought an unexpected joy and peace. It offered an unexpected balance in to my life.
I discovered that any un-articulated thoughts or emotions from my therapeutic workday would be revealed later as I followed my pencil across a page.
My therapeutic life had become the inspiration for my artistic life – everything that I adored about being a therapist could be translated to the world artistically.
It would manifest into art that had a life and a voice of it’s own. To my great and joyful surprise, it was a voice that resonated the world over.
Being of service to my fellow man and woman brings me unadulterated joy. It is why I chose to become a therapist. Bringing an unheard voice to the world is such a service. Both of these are simultaneously my chosen professions. They are equally important to me inasmuch as one nurtures the other.
Without my therapy there would be no art – and my art influences how I approach my work.
As my art began showing and selling internationally, many people referred to it as ‘a success’. I had to agree.
If art is a problem solving technique, business likewise, is a problem solving system.
It would appear I had been banging my head against the wrong wall.
Change is good.