“Chance favors the prepared mind.”
We started the week by acknowledging the existence of chance; by considering what it means to make friends with unpredictability and welcome its gifts. But here’s the back story: those gifts come to us more easily if we’re ready. We have to stay loose and let go of the illusion of control in the moment, but before we do that, we have to practice.
“Practice means to perform,
over and over again
in the face of all obstacles,
some act of vision, of faith, of desire.
Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”
Again, thank you, Martha. Almost no one says it better.
Let’s take it apart a little. “Practice means to perform”: not sleepwalking, not phoning it in, not going half-assed through the motions. “Over and over again”: not twice, not three times, but again and again. “In the face of all obstacles”: when we didn’t get enough sleep, when we doubt our choices, when the world conspires against us. “Some act of vision, of faith, of desire”: the verb is simple and mundane, but the act is sacred. This thing that we do is important, no matter who we are and what we do. Making art, raising children, caring for people, building things – these are all acts of vision and faith. Approaching these things with seriousness of intent makes them sacred.
And finally, “Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” Not demanding, forcing or coercing, but inviting. Do the work, then receive the guest.
“The artist is nothing without the gift,
but the gift is nothing without work.”