“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” – Martha Graham
I will admit, writing my artist mission statement has been a nebulous exercise for me. On one hand, this exercise helped me to begin to put a voice to what I feel I am called to do as an artist. On the other hand, I found that once I put pen to paper and a voice to my dream that the real exercise was to keep myself open to all opportunities. It was very important for me to write down what I one day hope to achieve professionally. It took courage for me to ask myself “What do I want my life to look like?” and give myself permission to live my life on my terms. This exercise gave me the ability to view my life and opportunity differently.
Since writing my mission statement, I view opportunity very differently. I see opportunities everywhere and every day. I feel a deeper connection to my craft, my life, and my responsibility to express myself as an artist in this world. Like Martha Graham said “this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and will be lost.” In this sense, the real work begins after you write your mission statement. Every day becomes an opportunity to connect with your craft and to connect with your unique expression in this world. In some ways, I have actually had to let go of my mission statement in order to keep my channel open.
I have had no shortage of opportunities to create professionally this year. I am very excited, but don’t immediately understand how these opportunities will help me achieve my overall ‘mission’. I do understand that when these opportunities presented themselves to me I immediately felt motivated to explore them. So the action I am taking right now is to trust that when I honor my instinct and keep my channel open, that I am allowing my unique expression to exist in this world. Ultimately, that is all I can be responsible for in this world.