Last week someone hacked one of my websites.
I wanted to make a few changes but could not remember my password. I kept requesting the link to reset it but the link never came. Panic set in as I logged into my host account. I sent out an SOS on Facebook and Twitter. Someone told me where to look and ah, yes: two new users with passwords that were foreign to me.
I freaked out.
I Googled, sent help tickets, slammed my fist, and spiraled into despair. I started to have those thoughts about why I even do this. What was the point in all of this work that I’m not even being paid to do (as my husband is so kind to remind me). I even thought about shutting the website down.
I wanted to unfurl on my bed and have a good cry. Instead I sat on the sofa with my husband, swirled wine in a glass and refreshed my email every 17 seconds. A few hours later I received an email letting me know that the issue was resolved.
I was back in control.
But that didn’t stop me from continuing to drink in the doubt.
You have moments like these, right? Those moments where you doubt yourself? Doubt your worth? Doubt your reason for living? Doubt your purpose?
I do. Often. There are a lot of days when I wonder if the stress is worth it. Is this stuff – the art, the writing, the long nights, being short on sleep, the over-caffeination – is it worth it?
What, exactly, is the point of all of this?
I found a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull when I cleaned out a bookshelf. As I read the first few pages my heart began to race. My mind was loud with a resounding “yes!” as Jonathan flew to new heights, performed daring acrobatics, and broke away from his flock.
Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock?
A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand! And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such a thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth.
The same rule holds for us now, of course: we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to over-come.
(For a seagull, that Sullivan was pretty damn smart.)
If you believe in God and a heaven, that is what you are trying to do, right? Trying to get as close to perfection as you can so that you are granted eternal life after your time on earth ends?
If you believe in Karma, you believe that the good and bad you do in this life directly influence the quality of your next life.
If you’re like me, you keep pushing forward and exploring and risking expression because you know that this is the better way.
Because you know that there is more to life than just eating, and fighting, and being a part of the flock.
I didn’t get rid of my website – I’m not going to. I do this – this art, this writing, the long nights, the short sleep, the over-caffeination – because it is worth it. Because I know that it is meaningful, even if only to me.
Unlike Sully, I don’t believe that we are capable of reaching perfection; however I do believe that we can polish ourselves. That we can and should strive to learn and do what makes us shine.
And to show it forth.