“I want to be all used up when I die.” — George Bernard Shaw on Taking Creative Action.

{George Bernard Shaw taking your picture}

{George Bernard Shaw taking your picture}

“This is the true joy in life — being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one… being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake.
Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” 
~ George Bernard Shaw

I woke up today as if by accident with a thin, tired, wrinkled heart shaped as a question mark that not even the most positive, eloquent affirmations could resize. I shivered at the thought of needing surgery. I thought I’d try a wisdom transfusion instead.

It’s interesting how we can go from being our greatest heroes and saviors to even down below villain — some sort of unrecognizable new race of wet rat humanoids in a post-postmodern corner watching the acid rain fall down.

Among other timely reminders to “stop the emotional propaganda of feeling manipulation” and “become your own existential detective,” while on my way to be hanged, George Bernard Shaw tapped me gently on the shoulder. I thought I was seeing a ghost.

 

{George Bernard Shaw}

{Don’t you want a grandpa that looks like this?}

 

Irish playwright, music and literary critic, and co-founder of the London School of Economics, he was also a novelist and short-story writer with a socialist ardent passion for the working class and a sharp comedic taste imbued in most of his writing.

An advocate of equal rights and a healthy lifestyle, he is the only person to have been awarded both the Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938) — for his work on the film Pygmalion, a screen adaptation of one his plays.

His words are swords that cut through all excuses:

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

He became the embodiment of his own tenacity, rising against the scarcity of his circumstances (only too familiar a scenario to most artists) through diligence and persistence, diligence and persistence, diligence and persistence…

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so sure of themselves, and wiser people are full of doubts.”

It is estimated that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day. Approximately 95% of our thoughts are the same as the day before and (this is where it gets ugly)… 85% of these thoughts are negative!
Believe me, I don’t run on smileys, but I didn’t sign up for all these demons either.

The design of our lives, the carving of our raw potential begins in our head. Redirecting our ship in the direction we actually want to go is the simplest, most difficult thing in the world. Because it requires moving muscles we didn’t even know we had.

But without unprecedented action there can be no change — and every such action is born out of a prevailing thought.

 

george-bernard-shaw-quote

 

What has taken me two painful decades to understand and still requires high daily doses of affirmation and practice, is that there is no Reality. There are realities. There are thoughts. And above everything there is You — Your Will.

You are not your thoughts. You are the master of your thoughts — the boss of all the processes that amount to the temporary, dynamic and unique human experience named You.

The ultimate You consists in your will — your freedom is reduced to a decision (or thousands of decisions you make every day). And this Will that is You has the final say over the rest of your life, which you are creating day after day. As long as you live, You’ll always have the last word.

2000 years ago, in a battlefield, Marcus Aurelius — one of the earliest champions for self-mastery and wholeness — wrote in his journal:

“Take me and cast me where you will; I shall still be possessor of the divinity within me, serene and content.” 

Echoing Henley’s InvictusYou truly are the master of your fate, the captain of your soul.

Nobody else will save you because nobody else can. You are the only one whose voice your demons recognize — and as such, the only one who has the authority to summon them.

And we can’t worry so much about losing. What gain doesn’t come with its corresponding loss? What day — without its night? Life, nature, love is just another give and take. A death and resurrection, inhale and exhale.

 

George_Bernard_Shaw-quote

 

Your life will certainly continue without your signature, or your intentional design, but will it really be yours? And the worst part is that this so-called life will go on, the rain will fall on you, on me, on everyone, either way: whether we’re walking our own path or somebody else’s.

And if you choose to, sadly, you can make your debut in the history of mankind on autopilot, without ever getting why or what for, who or how. Life doesn’t wait on you — or anyone.

In the end, there is no movie waiting to be seen, but one to be created with every breath you have left. So if life demands that we make our own indie production, it’s not really a choice to make it beautiful, it is our highest order.

According to Mr. Shaw, it starts like this:

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” 

Back to our shivering, tired wet-rat hearts, should we continue to remind ourselves daily about the kind of world we demand to live in — and once we have decided what’s it gonna’ be, stop whining and start making it?

 

george bernard shaw

 

 *****

 

{Splendid Torch Society}

 

 

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Andrea Balt
Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Rebelle Society, Wellness Alchemist at Rebelle Wellness & Professional Dream Chaser at Creative Rehab. Unfinished book with a love for greens, bikes and poetry; raised by wolves & adopted by people; not trying to make art but to Be Art. Holds a BA in Journalism & Mass Communication, an MFA in Creative Writing & a Holistic Health Coach degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. In her work she tries to reflect the wholeness of the human experience by combining Art & Health + Mind & Body + Darkness & Brilliance into a more alive, unabridged and unlimited edition of ourselves. She is also on a quest to reinstate Creativity as one of our essential Human Rights to (hopefully and soon) be included in the UN Declaration. Connect with her in the Social Media Jungle via Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and sign up for her FREE MuseLetter.

12 Comments

  • Victoria Erickson commented on August 23, 2013 Reply
    SO INSPIRING. I am going to print this out and read it every morning.
  • Alison Nappi
    Alison Nappi commented on August 23, 2013 Reply
    As usual, breath-taking, chin scratching, truth re-defining, brilliant and inspiring reflections on what it means to truly live, to be authentic, to live an empowered and miraculous life, away from the lost and the dead before death crowd long enough to bring back the voice of god like a lightening bolt to the heart, screaming, breathe!
  • kalilee23 commented on August 23, 2013 Reply
    Once again, you have elegantly put into poetic form, my mantra, my thoughts. Thank you.
  • Riikka Rajamaki
    Riikka commented on August 23, 2013 Reply
    perfect. i have been wanting to write a post inspired by one of his quotes above but i knew there is someone out there who could do it way better than i ever could. you! yes, you! i knew it! thank you sister!!!
  • Jaimy Mokos commented on August 23, 2013 Reply
    One of my favorites on Rebelle — of all time.
  • nicolaasengelbertus commented on August 23, 2013 Reply
    Nice :)
  • Andrea Balt
    Andrea Balt commented on August 23, 2013 Reply
    Thank you so much. He’s one of my creative adopted grandparents. :) Love his every word.
  • James Abro
    James Abro commented on August 24, 2013 Reply
    Love it!
  • Marc Weicman commented on August 24, 2013 Reply
    Darling Andrea, you waking up by accident is like the world accidentally forming a volcano. Both are inevitable, and both lead to transformation of the world around them. :)
  • Lisa Mer commented on September 29, 2013 Reply
    It’s all right here.
  • Shavawn M. Berry
    shavawnb commented on September 29, 2013 Reply
    Since this originally posted on the day fall semester started, I didn’t see it because I was up to my ass in alligators! I love George Bernard Shaw. I have the magnet that you picture at the end of your piece on fridge, and I use that quote in my signature line in my email account, so it goes out with every message I send. There is a piece of Buddhist guidance I’ve never forgotten (from when I first heard it nearly thirty years ago): “Master your mind. Do not let your mind master you.” What this means, is you are not your thoughts. You can change your mind. You are not what you think. You must actively c r e a t e your mental landscape so it is one you want to live in. Happiness in life comes down to the ability to tell the shit-kickers in your head to shut up. If you can wrestle them to the ground and muzzle those little buggers, life gets much better. This was, for me, also a hard won lesson, but my whole life transformed once I realized that my thoughts were just thoughts. I didn’t have to pull them into reality and project them onto the world. In fact, I could choose to focus only on the ones that were actually helpful. I still have my days when I get the blues or a screaming inner child is having a tantrum, but these days, for the most part, I can sit down with myself, chat with the upset party, and move on with my day. Thanks for your insightful post. We are NOT our thoughts. We are so much more.
  • Erin Cornell commented on December 5, 2013 Reply
    Delectable. Something happens to me every time I read your work, where my eyes stop skimming and really start savoring the words. They speak right to me, every damn time. Thank you for following your heart’s ambition to reach out to mankind. Much love, Andrea.

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