This morning I’m chilling in a coffee shop in Louisville near St. James Court before I go help Ryan at the art show. I grabbed a cinnamon roll and a coffee and chatted with the owner for a while before sitting down with my cup of Joe. Being the naturally curious person I am and asking too many questions, I learned that she has owned the shop for a couple years and hasn’t had a day off almost the entire time she has owned the shop. This is mostly due to the fact that she has found it impossible to find workers she trusts to manage the shop in her absence. She urged me to never attempt to own a business because it’s a stressful endeavor that will only lead to headaches.
This conversation made me sit back and reflect on how different my takeaways were from discussions I had with several artists yesterday at St. James Art Fair. The artists that I spoke with provided a ton of insight about the ups and downs of being a full time artist, but overall they said they would never do anything else. They found it tough to financially plan for when big art deals went through, challenging to wear all the hats of creator, salesman, art show booth builder and the other roles they must play.
Yet the freedom, thrill of creation and connection with their customers made it all worth it. Almost all agreed it was by no means the easiest way to make a dollar, but the best way for them to do it. Overall they were a relaxed bunch of people, fully embracing the rollercoaster ride of making a living through selling art. They handled a challenging day like anyone else, with a good cocktail at the end of the day, realizing that not every day warrants a nightcap.
The difference between these two perspectives in running a small business was enlightening. One experience yielded tension and a lack of freedom and the other lead to self-expression, healthy acceptance of risk and manifestation of contentment in the give and take of their contribution to this world. Yes, the business models are very different, but it was also the perspective that was brought to the experience that created disparate worlds. The attitude to accept “what is” and make the most of it or change the experience, made the difference.
Most of my life I thought there was a formula to happiness, a necessary path we must lead to ensure we get what we need and every once in a while what we want. As I interact with others and allow my curiosity to naturally flow into their lives unraveling the hidden desires of their hearts I grasp how vast this world is in the playground of creation of our own lives. There are common paths that lead to fulfillment.
However, if you find yourself on the common path unfulfilled, feeling trapped the only thing you can do is experiment. What you can’t do is feel guilty, believing that there is something wrong with you because you choose the wrong path. You didn’t, you choose a path, which is a good thing. What you must understand is that life isn’t meant to be conquered along one path and then yield unrelenting comfort.
There will be periods of flow when the path you are traveling on feels great and smooth; you float along happy and decisive in your choices. At other times you will get the nagging feeling that something isn’t right. This may lead you to want to run away more, however you choose, taking trips, drinking more or loosing yourself in hobbies. There isn’t anything wrong with these little getaways; they’re necessary and good for the soul at times. Yet, you can’t always run away from what your heart is seeking to express, you must have the courage to commit to changing your path to obtain true fulfillment of your desires.
Are you on the right path to your best form of self-expression and ultimate fulfillment? If you aren’t what barriers can you get beyond today?