December 6 – Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
I want to make things happen, that’s what I want to “make.” I don’t want to make a quilt or a pie or do a craft project. I don’t need any materials other than energy, volition, and drive.
What do I want to make happen? It’s at this point that I reach the edge of the cliff. I look down and there’s nothing but space. Oh, there’s stuff down there all right. A river, a valley, a house, some vehicles, but I don’t want to jump without a plan or a ‘chute.
But I want to change from being a dreamer to a doer. The other day I was thinking about this. It became really clear to me that only actions are real. Thoughts are not real. Intentions are not real. Ideas are not real. Dreams are not real. The only real things are actions. Actions are born out of intentions and ideas and dreams and thoughts, but until they manifest, they’re not real.
One of the things I want to change this year (and remember, this is the year of CHANGE) is that I want to real-ify my life. It’s a bit scary to think about making something of it.
Remember that playground taunt: “Yeah? What are you going to make of it, huh?” Or: “You wanna make something of it??” These are provocative, incendiary little bombs thrown in anger. They are words that challenge you to put up or shut up; put your money where your mouth is, Buster.
That’s what I want to do. I want to put up. I want to take actions. Big actions and little actions. Doing dishes, doing yoga, writing a book, lifting weights, writing a thank you note, volunteering, taking a trip. Not thinking about writing a book. Not dreaming of a trip, not intending to volunteer. Actually doing it. Taking action.
I know a man who lives his whole life in his head. He might be called a visionary by some, but he doesn’t DO much. He thinks a lot. If you talk to him, you know this. If you talk to him, you recognize that he has pondered many things very deeply, considered issues from many angles. He knows the pros, the cons, the ins, the outs, the traps, the escape routes. He’s interesting to have a beer with, but at the end of the evening you recognize that although it’s been an amusing few hours, it’s over now and you are not changed, nor is the world. Nothing has happened.
But say this man writes a book. He puts a number of his ideas or theories out there for other people to read. Now he has DONE something. He has turned his thoughts into an action, he has written a book, found a way to publish it and promote it and is willing to stand behind it. Great. Now, if I am interested, I can go and read the book, and maybe have my ideas changed. Then if those ideas birth action in me, I will have made something happen.
We have to make things happen. I think this is the most important thing that human beings can do and must do. If we don’t make things happen, how can we justify our existence? What are we doing here?
That’s why art is so important. Good books, and movies and music give birth to new actions. If a book or a movie or a piece of music or an interchange with a person doesn’t spur you to take an action, it’s not that it was a waste of time necessarily, I’m not saying that. Lots of things we read and experience entertain and absorb us and maybe even live dormant in us for a time, and then become awakened later. We often find ourselves galvanized into action, and on reflecting back, point to that movie or book or that feeling evoked by a piece that MADE US DO IT.
Heh. “Made us do it.”
Science can make us do it. Art can make us do it. Great design, an inspiring talk or a conversation can make us do it. But until we actually do it, we’re asleep. This year I will look for opportunities to make things happen. Big things and small things and medium things. Life was given to us, not to hoard and save, but to give away. I want to make stuff to give away.