Category Archives: mastery

Joe Crookston: Master craftsman, songwriter, transmitter…

The ‘work’ of art and the desire for mastery.

This week, I heard a talk by Rima Bonario in which she talked about being a non-anxious presence and that really struck me, for as we are going for whatever victory we are after, being able to relax into the process without anxiety seems like the prize in itself.  
I also had a talk with the artist Matt Brady, who reminded me that being a conduit for healing was preferable to being a ‘healer’, for if we take on someone else’s sickness, we will get sick.  (Not to mention the temptation for our ego to lead us into peacock posturing ; ) 
I am constantly, or at least periodically refreshed by the gems that come through when I choose to notice them. This talk by Sarah Lewis was one of the choices on the plane home last week and it is very intriguing. She is talking about the difference between success and mastery.  
Success is an event and mastery is a life.  It is the difference between being able to hit a bullseye and knowing you can do it repeatedly. Being driven to reach beyond what we think we can do lifts us up to another level.  
“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”
– Michelangelo
Crazy Horse sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski comes to mind in regards to this.  He started to carve a memorial to Crazy Horse in the black hills of South Dakota in 1947 and worked on it until he died in 1982.  He worked on it for 36 years and didn’t take a dollar for it.  Today his sons are carrying on his work.
Crazy Horse sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski 
Joseph Campbell talks about our art, (whatever that is) being our work and if we have to do something for money to support our art, that is our employment.  That doesn’t mean we can’t  be of service in our employment and have meaningful healing interactions, it means that if we have something that allows us to connect others to their interior in a collective way, that it is up to us to make sure that it comes out and that we dedicate time for that.
It is like James Joyce writing his book The Dubliners before Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man was even published.
“It’s as though he said, ‘There it is. I have to formulate this thing for my own realization of what it is.’ “…
“All forms in life are imperfect, but the function of art is to see the radiance through the imperfection.”- Joseph Campbell
May you be a non-anxious presence though your work and though your days!