Portrait of the Artist Approaching Middle Age

As much as I might try to gloss it over with a pleasant smile and nice platitudes, life has been frustrating. In the ten years since I was first diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, it seems that I have made very little progress in dealing with my standard operating procedure. Though I’m still intent on culling out the life of an artist, I still juggle how I should approach it. I like to tout myself as a Renaissance man, saying that I am multi-skilled, but truth be told, I think the “jack of all trades – master of nothing” might be a better definition.

Since being diagnosed, I have produced a documentary on Attention Deficit Disorder, hitchhiked across the country and written a book about it, formed, disintegrated, and reformed a video production company, written a few screenplays, produced a few more short films, written a fictional/motivational hybrid book at the suggestion of a mysterious email, started several blogs that I’ve maintained with varying degrees of success, and I’m currently trying to find which avenue of artistic expression works best for me. Although it might appear in print that I’ve accomplished a lot, none of my endeavors have seen the success that I would have hoped, and as I closely approach the age of 40, I have to wonder if I will ever find the focus that I am striving for.

At the beginning of this year, I set out to develop a blog about the various philosophical, cultural, and religious paradigms that I used to write my last book The McAllister Code. However, a few months in, I began to lose steam as well as interest. It seemed that a large part of my frustration was found in the fact that most of my endeavors somehow automatically morphed into huge, ginormous visions that required far more dedication than I seemed capable of. For this particular endeavor, the second iteration of The McAllister Code, I had already written about The 7 Habits of Successful People, the Four Elements and how they related to the Four Suits of Tarot and playing cards, and I was almost through the Hero’s Journey as defined by Joseph Campbell. While I was writing about the Inner Cave of the Hero’s Journey, it dawned on me that although I was writing about these things, I had stopped living them.

I have long been a proponent on spirituality and conscious living. The wisdom of living life from that parameter seems like a no brainer. A great deal of my travels and writing The Rucksack Letters was geared toward approaching that lifestyle. I visited several intentional communities to discover the ideas of intentional living, however, the end of my journey found me in Los Angeles, where I seemed to completely lose focus of what I was striving for in the first place. The trip back proved disastrous, and it seems that I have been licking my wounds ever since. Though I have toyed with the ideas of meditation, yoga, prayer, and healthy eating, I have not developed any consistent practices which may have something to do with why I have been unable to find a suitable avenue for creative expression. Perhaps there’s been nothing viable to express.

Now it may very well be that I am just being too hard on myself. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel that there is something missing in my life due to my rampant desire to not fully live the life that I know I am capable of. Perhaps it is the desire for the life that I don’t have which is causing me such frustration. Maybe the Buddha was right when he said that life is suffering brought on by desire.

I’ve recently finished the book In Search of Simplicity by John Haines. While I am going to be writing a suitable review of it for Modern Hippie Mag, on a personal note, the book really did strike many chords with me. The book is John’s personal journal of a five years trek through a number of countries such as Papua New Guinea, Thailand, India, Africa, and more, as he searches for simplicity, as the title suggests. As John studies with yogis and teachers, meets an assortment of fellow travelers, and lets go to material attachments, he notices an abundant series of coincidences, or synchronicity, that guide him along his journey. Reading it, I was reminded so much of how I felt when I set off to travel myself and the coincidences that met me along the way. Even since then, when I have taken the time and initiative to quiet my mind and focus on the Source of being, I have noticed the same thing.

All of this brings me to the realization that in my search for creating a life for myself, I have lost sight of living. One of the greatest accomplishments that I think I have done recently is consistently writing “Your Daily Groove” over at Modern Hippie Mag. And while I still occasionally write other articles and reviews over there, it is the daily meditation on pearls of wisdom that has truly brought me joy because they not only bring encouragement to others, they also bring up things that I need to focus on as well. As I have been averaging 50 hours a week working at the psychiatric hospital that employs me and trying to finish screenplays, books, and an assortment of other endeavors, I have become quite a bit imbalanced in trying to flesh out an actual life for myself. So, it is my intention to simplify and just work on being happy instead of trying to be so “productive.”

That is not to say that I will never finish the novel I’ve started to outline, never write another screenplay or book, or never make another film. I love doing all of those things and will still do them as time allows. But I need to focus on living for awhile and assure that I am meeting my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs before filling up my schedule with too much stuff.

Several years ago, when I first started to entertain the idea of becoming a writer, I came up with the concept of “Write the World.” I’ve written about what I think this means a few times before, but in all of my glory-filled exegeses, I have tended to lose sight of the simplicity behind it. I set up this blog a while ago and have posted a number of things that I wrote in the past. However, I feel that though it is the most important thing I can do right now, I have not been giving it adequate attention.

This may turn out to be a mish mash. Most professional bloggers will tell you to carve out a niche. At this point though, I’m just trying to find my way so what you get is what you get. I hope that I’m not too self aggrandizing and that I can be entertaining as well as thought provoking. The best I can do is to be honest as I write the world. This is where my inkensoul bleeds.

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