All my life I have refused to be for or against parties, for or against nations, for or against people. I never seek novelty or the eccentric; I do not go from land to land to contrast civilizations. I seek only, wherever I go, for the symbols of greatness, and as I have already said, they may be found in the eyes of a child, in the movement of a gladiator, in the heart of a gypsy, in twilight in Ireland or in moonrise over the deserts.
— Robert Henri from The Art Spirit
No great work has ever been produced except after a long interval of still and musing meditation.— Walter Begehot
Dear Heron Dancers,
Greatness, in the sense of a human life, or a work (whether creative or not), has an inner element and it also serves the Greater Good in some important way.
A great work possesses a special energy. The inner gains from the outer, and the outer gains from the inner. Without both, the work tends not to last. Serving something larger needs to also fortify the life of the server. The surest way of knowing that you’ve found your work is feeling blessed by it. Not every day or even every week, but overall you know your work gives you energy and you know it adds something special or crucial to the lives of others. I’ve noticed that a lot of people burn out serving, whether protecting wilderness or feeding the homeless, because they were doing the work not for the joy of it, but to accomplish a specific result. A lot of this work requires working for years for little or no financial reward. Disappointment is inevitable, and it is easy to lose faith that the desired objective can be achieved.
The other element of a great work, and life, is that it is based on a connection with the creator’s inner world. It grows out of still and musing meditation. It draws from the pre-verbal, the half-understood, the subconscious. There is a wisdom inside each of us that often cannot be put into words but, with practice, can be used to guide and shape our lives and our work. It is that which is holy inside us.
In celebration of the Gift of Life,