I Am Not What I Do

Is the little voice driving us toward a passion our higher power or the devil?

by ellen zionts • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

Everyday I pray to fulfill my own personal destiny and do God’s will. Some days I feel they are at odds with one another.The way that love and work figure into that equation is the quandary.When your little voice tells you that you are a poet and a dancer, and you find yourself in a cubicle selling newspaper ads, you question your sanity. Remember that great line in Working Girl, starring Melanie Griffith, when her friend (Joan Cusack), says, “I like to jump around and sing in my underwear — doesn’t make me Madonna?”

In abnormal psychology, I learned that people who are delusional pick archetypes like Napoleon Bonaparte or some other major player in history and have this conviction that they are that person. Why are some of us convinced that we must be musicians or singers or ball players or novelists when the odds of that happening are worse than winning the lottery? When I asked my cousin Barbara, whose husband, Tom McCarthy, was the president of the screen actors guild in Philly, how he stuck it out all those years as one of the few full-time character actors in this market, she said, “Someone has to do it.”

Having a life in the arts is a blessing and a curse. When I asked Randy Payne, how he is so prolific with his painting and why he opened his own gallery, he said, “I am compelled to do this anyway so I might aswell get paid for it.”

It’s like that old joke when a young woman says she is an actress in New York and thenis asked, “What restaurant?” Why do some actors wait tables and tend bar their whole life, waiting for the big break that never comes and others seem to walk right into one audition, nail it and start on a blazing career? It is normal to question: Why for some it seems so easy and for others, impossible dreams are just that —and yet the insane drive persists.

Lucky are those who get paid for their passion. Or is it luck?

When the footwork is done to no avail, one has to question: Is the little voice driving us our higher power or the devil?

My friend, an oral surgeon, said that his parents dashed his dream of being in a band in college when they literally sat on his drum set at band practice and told the rest of the band that a career in music was not for their son. They were trying to save him the heartbreak and steer him into a “normal” life, one that would not break him spiritually and financially. As a mother of two artists, I understand this.

The culture we live in does not reward those that open the portal of the soul. It rewards those that cut open the body with scalpels and knives and sutures.The maladies and bruises of the heart are far more difficult to heal. Only the artist, who is a conduit for the greater intelligence and the power source that cannot be seen but only intuited, has a chance at reaching that place where the quantum leap of faithmeets reason. This is the place that mends the soul.

We are in the dark ages of spiritual growth and the wheel of enlightenment has not kept pace with the grind of the material world. Jesus understood it, and look what they did to him? The same can be said of Gandhi. To be too far ahead of ones time can be deadly.  To embrace a philosophy that is out of sync with a culture can be a curse. Look how Columbus suffered when he thought the earth was round and everyone else thought you would sail to the end of the sea and fall off.  

I think I should be writing full time, but my mortgage company disagrees. I suppose until Meet The Press gets ratings as good as The Jersey Shore, I won’t quit myday job. When they invent the app for enlightenment, and everyone downloads it, maybe then I will chance at it. Until then, “Would you like cinnamon dolce with that latte?”

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