Heard that before, have you? Yeah, me too. The cliché meter just pegged, didn’t it?
Thing is, it’s 100% true. There are no coincidences, friends. No mistakes, no accidents.
I know that this is really, and I mean really easy to dismiss, but hang with me here…
My life honestly changed in a drastic manner when I embraced this. I stopped dreading inconvenience and avoiding things I usually found unpleasant. I go from “dammit I can’t wait for this to be over” to “let’s see what the world wants to show me now”, and all of a sudden I’m de-stressed, have much more diverse experiences every day, and, oh yeah; making more money.
No. This is not a “think your way to riches” essay, nor should it be read as such. That said, every time I let my old pessimism and bitterness creep back in, I lose money. Deals fall through, customers don’t return calls, and stuff generally goes to shit.
So, I work very hard to keep “old Matthew” at bay, and live by the knowledge that (God/The Universe/Tao, etc) is leading me on the most advantageous path possible.
Like being lead to write.
To be clear, I’ve always thought of myself as a writer. Even as my artwork took center stage in my life, I wrote. Poetry and verses of love for my Jacquelynn; cards and notes for friends and family; long notes to editors of magazines; I’ve even plotted and structured a few novels over the years without ever completing a single chapter. Fifteen years ago, I even entered a SciFi short story contest. But many of you here know that these last few years, my art took over more and more of my life. I loved it, too. I grew and developed quickly in my media of choice, and was juried into shows and sold calendars and t-shirts and prints online while building a fairly impressive inventory of originals. I had some limited success with commissions, too. Then, rather abruptly this spring, I found myself unable to settle into the studio. Almost repulsed from it, honestly. My established patterns were impossible to hew to, as I found myself reading and writing in the pre-dawn hours when I’ve always done my best artwork.
This was not a decision I made. I felt totally and irresistibly pushed away from the artwork and unable to step away from the writing. Simply put, I was being led, though I had yet to figure that out. I was being pushed and drawn to writing like I’d never been influenced to do anything since drill instructors stopped shouting at me to run faster and do one more pull ups.
—Of course, this is a lot more fun than USMC PFTs—
I felt horrible for neglecting the artwork, too. I’d been rising at four a.m. and dedicating the first 3-6 hours of my day to the work for three years like clockwork. I was as dependable as the sunrise, but more obsessed. Then suddenly, nothing. Three key projects died unfinished or barely even begun.
But I couldn’t stop writing. In May, I started this blog to share my thoughts and insights, and I’m very grateful for you who read and listen and attend. Giving of your time to read my words is a very intimate gift, and I can only hope not to squander and waste it.
Now this blog and the thoughts behind it are becoming a book.
Yeah, I’m writing a book.
Some of you probably read on my Facebook page about my “Quantum Moment” last week while watching Dr. Wayne Dyer’s The Shift, a movie about just such moments. These quantum moments, according to Dr. Dyer, have four immutable characteristics:
1) They are very vivid. It’s impossible to mistake them for something else less significant.
2) They are invariably surprising. These aren’t moments you can plan or engineer. They happen suddenly and without warning.
3) They are always benevolent. They just feel right, and can bring no harm.
4) They are lasting. This is no fleeting “aha” that’s gone as quickly as it came. It stays with you forever as vividly as the instant it happened.
It was in that moment (which was actually about 90 minutes long, lasting from the final 45 minutes of the film to about that long after it ended) that I realized that I’d been writing a book all along. Again, I’ve always known I would write and publish a book. When I was young, I figured it’d be a comic book (who knows…still possible); I prepared a book proposal about how to draw dinosaurs once, and later I thought it would maybe be a book about my about my scratchboard work; but I absolutely knew I’d write a book.
Now I know. I know what and why and most of how. And I know that if I just continue to write, it will all happen.
Because I listened. I knew there had to be a reason for what was happening to me. Why my precious, divine gift of drawing was no longer of use to me and my path. Even as I was doing what I considered to be by far the best work of my life.
And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m bursting with energy. I’m even, as I alluded to above, doing better at work. And I’m touching people. The message is trickling out, and the book this will all become will help the trickle to become a stream, then a wash, and maybe eventually a flood. A Shift.
Not an accident, all this. No mistake. Not happenstance or coincidence.