29 December 2011

Signs of Mastery

I just read a draft of one of J_______'s newest poems and I am bowled over by the mastery of craft she achieves in a "draft." My son designed a "mock up" promotional brochure for me not long ago and I was amazed by the professionalism of his "thrown together" work.  A short conversation with a small circle of Fools the other day evoked tears of laughter and joy, warmed my heart, opened my eyes, inspired an artistic notion and renewed my spirit. They are very good at what they do, including

Aware of our judgments, we seek to meet people where they are through the arts, education, advocacy and accompaniment. (from their Mission Statement)

All three of these wizardly entities have been steadily honing their crafts for many years, showing up (as far as I can see) nearly every day, putting in time.  Now, every time and everywhere they show up to do the thing they do, something beautiful appears. It might seem that simply applying oneself consistently over time raises the quality of everthing overall. 

It may be true.

But, where "beauty" is concerned, the mistake in that perception is apparent in the frequent displays of slip-shod workmanship, near-fatal oversights and burnt-out insensitivity among "professionals," service providers, educators, artists and others who, for pay or not, show up nearly every day, putting in their time. Examples are abundant.

Beyond simply applying oneself, "diligence" is the alchemical process:  

dil·i·gence

noun
1.  constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.

Word Origin & History

diligence
mid-14c., from O.Fr. diligence "attention, care," from L. diligentia "attentiveness, carefulness," from diligentem (nom. diligens) "attentive, assiduous, careful," originally prp. of diligere "value highly, love, choose," from dis- "apart" + legere "choose, gather" (see lecture). Sense evolved from "love" through "attentiveness" to "carefulness" to "steady effort."
Showing up every day, putting in time will produce....well, something or other.


Showing diligence, putting in attentive, careful time, paying dues (due diligence), where the object of interest is valued highly, loved....chosen


brings one closer to divine perfection.


I'm looking for evidence of diligence in my own life.  What am I doing with unmistakably more mastery today than 10 years ago?

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