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Creativity Live-With #5: Be Ordinary

Be what you is, not what you ain’t, ‘cause if you ain’t what you is, you is what you ain’t. Luther D. Price

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. Sengstan, third Zen patriarch

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This live-with is about being yourself in the highest possible way. And the suggestion it makes for being yourself is to let go, to surrender your outer pretensions; any inflation or alienation you might feel.

The idea is that after you shed all this, you are simply yourself, and you can work hard and accomplish much efficiently with a great deal of joy. Even more than the accomplishment, there is a settling into your Self, no matter what happens to you. Then you can have faith in your own creativity in the truest sense.

Seek no approval from others. Try to live up to your own highly set standards for your work without the compulsion to please others. If you find yourself seeking approval, say to yourself ‘Seek no approval’ and get on with what you are doing.

Make no comparisons of yourself or your work to others. If you find yourself feeling superior to or inferior to someone else, say to yourself ‘Make no comparisons’ and get on with what you are doing.

Worry not about the future. If you find yourself worrying about the future, say to yourself ‘Don’t worry about the future’ and get on with your work.

Have no regrets about the past. If you find yourself saying ‘If only…, say to yourself ‘Have no regrets’ and get on with your work.

Seek no recognition or reward. Do your work well because it pleases you to do it well. If you find yourself motivated primarily by recognition or reward, say to yourself ‘Seek no recognition or reward’ and get on with your work. This is not to suggest that you reject recognition and reward when it comes your way–as it inevitably will. Just try not striving for it.

Work hard and do your best, for its own sake. To BE ORDINARY is not to lower your standards and become a sloth. To the contrary, to BE ORDINARY is to live up to your own internal standards, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. Take pleasure in the process of doing your work to the best of your ability. If you find yourself thinking or worrying about what others will think about you or your work, just say to yourself ‘Do your best’ and then get on with your work.

You will know that you’re being ordinary when you feel completely immersed in your activities, have tremendous amounts of energy and enthusiasm and find it easy to ‘work hard’ and be your Self — it just happens.

See then if, in the midst of all that happens, you remain calm and steady. If you are able to give to others even when time is difficult. If you can relax into who you really are and what you are meant to do, even if it seems to others that you are not accomplishing anything. In this state examine your lifelong relationship to money and all the external rewards versus a full, rich inner sense of self-worth. See if being ordinary tells you anything about being extraordinary.




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