I was living, but I was not living my life. So far as I could see, I was going nowhere... Without a loved life to live, I was becoming more and more a theoretical person, as if I might have been a figment of institutional self-justification: a theoretical ignorant person from the sticks, who one day would go to a theoretical somewhere and make a theoretical something of himself - the implication being that until he became that something he would be nothing... ...I had completely lost that feeling that I should make something of myself. Aunt Cordie's voice troubled my mind, but it told me I didn't look down on my humble origins and didn't yearn to rise above them. .. I began a motion of the heart toward my origins. Far from rising above them, I was longing to sink into them until I would know the fundamental things.~ from Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, Chapter 7
I suppose there is something about that sentiment (to return to one's humble origins) that challenges our (American?) notions of success and achievement. We should work hard, live productive lives, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and make "something" of ourselves, right? But what does that really mean?
I find myself constantly re-examining my own life to confirm that I am, indeed, living and striving for the "fundamental things" that are really important and bring true happiness. I know I'll never have fame and recognition in the eyes of the world, but for a long time that is definitely something I wanted, and there is a very real (and selfish?) part of me that is sad about not having that. At the same time I have a lot of peace about certain decisions I've made (to be a stay-at-home Mom and put my acting career on the back burner) and the focus I want in my life. I'm trying to internalize the idea that we are all God's children with inherant worth, regardless of the awards and recognition we've amassed or the achievements we can list on our resumes.
Afterall, that is the crux of living a Wabi Sabi life - taking the time to truly live in the moment, to recognize and enjoy simple pleasures for what they are, to detach from ideas of status and just BE, and to love and appreciate the people around you.
Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.~Thomas Merton