Guest Writer for Wake Up World
“What a terrible mistake to let go of something wonderful for something real.” ~ Miranda July
As is easily discernible from the two art books I have published to date, The Riddle of the Sphinx and Nefertiti Escapes!, I have sort of a thing for ancient Egyptian inspiration.
Most of what we know about Ancient Egyptian civilization comes to us from their remarkable life after death. Ancient Egyptian artists, scholars, and aristocrats’ meticulous, elaborate creation of monuments to death and their afterlife consequently became the incredibly mesmerizing testaments to their lives.
Have you ever fantasized about what it would be like to visit your own afterlife? If you could make it up to be whatever you imagine? Like the ice cream parlour of Heaven or being reincarnated in a cyclamen seed. I have, in more ways than one, some more morbid than others. But bizarre as the idea may sound, I don’t think I’m alone in this peculiar thought exercise. Heck, look at the Sistine Chapel!
Why do I bring this up, though?
Trusting your struggle is like living in your own personal conception of the afterlife, if not in an actual “heaven” (too bad). It is a practice to wildly strengthen your imagination. Maybe all true art is based on such immortal fantasies.
So let’s begin… to play pretend… and ACTION!
Your Personal Utopia
What, first of all, is your ideal world, really? Can you describe it with details? Could you paint a picture of it in your mind? Go there now! Now write it down or dance it out. Find out more about this place, your own personal utopia, and build it up.
Rediscover your values growing there. Know as exactly as you can know where there will be tension or outright resistance to your most brilliant, original ideas in the real world. Decide which tools and strategies will be best for your Earthly mission and real world goals.
All the isms – racism, sexism, feminism, socialism – have the same big problem right now: they’re too big and too generalized, whether to fight against or for… or better yet to dream outside the confines of duality, to think outside of prefab boxes. Naturally, the phobias – homophobia, xenophobia, claustrophobia – must be broken down, too. It’s all about subversion and subverting the systems that keep us limited. Go ahead and undermine both the status quo and everything assumed or taken for granted. In order to do this we need originality. We’ll have to use our unique, individual voices to innovate the precise changes we so desire.
Then do YOUR bits. Start anywhere, small or large or in between – start where it matters most to you. Start where it burns, or where it hurts. Fear not, fear less. Do what you can and don’t forget what you’ve learned in your afterlife.
Back in the real world now, be yourself and trust your struggle.
Trust Your Struggle
What does it mean to trust your struggle? It means to let go of some sanitized pure perfection as ideal. It means to personally let go of perfectionism. It means to get messy and be busy in the dirt where you will grow the vines of your dreams. To trust your struggle means to accept that neither your work nor life in general is easy. It means to get over life’s frightening unfairness, without becoming callous, with faith in your own strength and wisdom.
Trust your struggle and embody this reality deeply through transformative acceptance. When you can trust your struggle THIS much you will have become a magician with your own secret spells for effecting necessary change.
Remember (know, trust) that nothing is impossible. Go for what really means the most to you. Trust your struggle also specifies that it is yours and for you. Define your own ideals and parameters. Believe in yourself. Change, by all means, but do it with your own flow, or rapids, as the case may be. Keep your style. Don’t fall prey to external pressures that don’t synchronize with your own rhythm. That would be a different struggle – theirs; trust yours! Take responsibility for it as joyfully as possible, as honestly and openly as possible, so that someday you may say to someone else, with a knowing pride and deep integrity: Trust your struggle!
Updated October 2014
About the author:
Whitney Sparks wrote her first published essay, on the subject of mythology, for Freedom Challenge, a book about African American home-schoolers, when she was 9. Since growing up and going to school (completing a Bachelor’s degree at Yale, a Master of Fine Arts in Switzerland, and becoming certified yoga teacher), she has roamed the world, dealt with heartbreak and loss, and now lives her dream as an artist in Berlin. She still retains an over-active imagination and wild spirit, which she likes to express in her visual artwork as well as her writing.