Tuesday, August 31, 2010

“We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”

“We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
 Chuck Palahniuk quotes (American freelance Journalist, Satirist and Novelist. b.1961)

There has been a death in our family this week.  My husband's last living aunt died peacefully in her home after a heroic fight against Pancreatic cancer.  His aunt and uncle had no children of their own.  They generously chose to lavishly shower love, attention and financial gifts to their nieces and nephews.
Aunt Katie's death is a time when family will gather together, remember happy times, begin to heal from the recent loss and promise try to spend more time together despite nationwide domiciles we all now call home.

While I was in graduate school at Savannah College of Art and Design 2008 -2009 I spent as much time and energy learning about myself as I did on the course work.   Professors feedback during my Reviews commented how deep, dark and tortured my artwork communicated to the viewer. 

  • I was constantly questioning, writing in my journal, researching metaphors and symbolism of my inspirations.
  • What had I done with my life for the past 50 years? 
  • What really is important to me?
  • How did I plan to spend the remainder of my life?  

 I read the Ten Things to do Before You Die then made my own list.
In my searching I found this interesting challenging website

" Here’s what to do:

Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).

Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”

Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.

Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

That’s it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a counselor or an engineer or a bodybuilder. To some people this exercise will make perfect sense. To others it will seem utterly stupid. Usually it takes 15-20 minutes to clear your head of all the clutter and the social conditioning about what you think your purpose in life is. The false answers will come from your mind and your memories. But when the true answer finally arrives, it will feel like it’s coming to you from a different source entirely.

As you go through this process, some of your answers will be very similar. You may even re-list previous answers. Then you might head off on a new tangent and generate 10-20 more answers along some other theme. And that’s fine. You can list whatever answer pops into your head as long as you just keep writing.

At some point during the process (typically after about 50-100 answers), you may want to quit and just can’t see it converging. You may feel the urge to get up and make an excuse to do something else. That’s normal. Push past this resistance, and just keep writing. The feeling of resistance will eventually pass.

You may also discover a few answers that seem to give you a mini-surge of emotion, but they don’t quite make you cry — they’re just a bit off. Highlight those answers as you go along, so you can come back to them to generate new permutations. Each reflects a piece of your purpose, but individually they aren’t complete. When you start getting these kinds of answers, it just means you’re getting warm. Keep going.
It’s important to do this alone and with no interruptions. If you’re a nihilist, then feel free to start with the answer, “I don’t have a purpose,” or “Life is meaningless,” and take it from there. If you keep at it, you’ll still eventually converge.

When I did this exercise, it took me about 25 minutes, and I reached my final answer at step 106. Partial pieces of the answer (mini-surges) appeared at steps 17, 39, and 53, and then the bulk of it fell into place and was refined through steps 100-106. I felt the feeling of resistance (wanting to get up and do something else, expecting the process to fail, feeling very impatient and even irritated) around steps 55-60. At step 80 I took a 2-minute break to close my eyes, relax, clear my mind, and to focus on the intention for the answer to come to me — this was helpful as the answers I received after this break began to have greater clarity." 

*For those who are very entrenched in low-awareness living, it will take a lot longer to get all the false answers out, possibly more than an hour. But if you persist, after 100 or 200 or maybe even 500 answers, you’ll be struck by the answer that causes you to surge with emotion, the answer that breaks you. If you’ve never done this, it may very well sound silly to you. So let it seem silly, and do it anyway.

What is my true purpose in life? Carol Ann Rice Rafferty April 2009

to give to everyone and never count the cost
to give and give and give until there is nothing left of me
to make everyone around me happy
to take care of my family’s needs
to enjoy a good sex life
to have children

to reproduce myself  in my art
to take care of the earth
to be a good teacher
to make the world a better place
to smile at everyone I meet along my path
to take care of my body
to protect the innocent children, animals, old people, those with disabilities
to make as much money as I can
to show everyone how smart I am or am not
*to share a smile with people who look sad
to admit how afraid I am so others are not so alone
to be a friend and care about other people
to listen to a lonely person tell their life story
to share a smile as I pass along lifes journey 

*to bring happiness by being present to other souls who are lonely
to help people feel as if they matter
to learn as much as I can about myself
to learn about the earth
to learn math no just kidding

As an Artist each object I create is in a very real sense an offspring of myself.  My work has been evolving and growing exponentially since Barry and Kara are adults. Soon after I wrote my lists for the True Purpose of  my Life and Ten Things to do Before I Die my need for attending graduate school was fulfilled.  I emancipated myself to live my dreams of creating a cottage industry with my daughter Kara.


As our family mourns the loss of Aunt Katie, gives thanks and celebrates her life, I realize her death is an invitation to living that we celebrate each day with an Attitude of Gratitude.

When Jos Mart named the things that every man ought to do before he dies, the list did not include “Liberate a country.” The hero of Cuban independence named three more important tasks: " Plant a tree, write a book, have a son. That’s an excellent start. " 
 Make your own list if you have not done so already. 
Give thanks for the gift of life and begin to check things off your to do list today ...
 Wishing you a VERY CREATIVE DAY ;~)

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