Don Paglia | Marriage and Family Counseling. Constellations Workshops


Tip # 15:

“Calling Fly Fishing a hobby is like calling Brain Surgery a job.” 

                                                                            Paul Schullery

 Those individuals who make what they do look easy, do so because they have achieved a significantly high level of mastery. They have this level of mastery because they’ve never stopped learning how to do what they do. They continually practice the rudimentary basics of their discipline each and every day, as well as strive for continual improvement. The Japanese have a word for this called: Kaizen – meaning: continuous improvement.

 I don’t care if you are a master pianist, a master carpenter, or a martial arts expert, these individuals each practice their specific area of skill constantly. These are the NBA super stars who still show up early for practice and then stay late to practice some more. They are the writers that write each and every day whether they feel inspired or not.  They are those individuals who remain open to the possibility of learning new things no matter how accomplished they have become. They are people who, regardless of their level of achievement, are always tweaking and fine tuning their skills and competence.

 These are also people can be described as life-long learners. In fact they love learning so much that they are curious and inquisitive about all sorts of things. Not only are they curious but they constantly see connections with seemingly desperate things. While they have a theoretical basis from which they operate, at the very same time, they are not locked into closed minded or rigid thinking.

 Another way of saying this is they are not so dogmatic and thus blinded, to be merely content with incremental improvements they’ve gained over time. There is nothing wrong with incremental gains, of course. But these people are also open to breakthroughs and paradigm shifts and are willing to see newer prospective that may refute any or all prior ways of seeing and doing things. They are also people who do not see themselves as so much as masters, but as students of their life profession – and of life itself.

 This way of seeing one’s life is available to all of us. We each are to become masters of our own unique life. Whether we know it or not we are creating our life; we are inventing it and making it into a very personal and unique work of art. This includes reframing so-called mistakes as part of our learning opportunities, and often a source of new pathways for growth and wisdom.

 Several years ago Julia Cameron wrote her book, The Artist’s Way, subtitled: “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” In it, she makes the case that such a journey is not exclusively for so-called Artists. And that each of us is an Artist – a creative being. Cameron encourages us to tap into this artist within – this creative part of oneself. She presents some daily rituals and weekly practices in order to foster one’s artist self.

 It’s easy enough to dismiss such an idea. “I’m not an artist.”  “I don’t draw or sing or play any musical instrument.” But all have creative talents and abilities. An attorney has to tap her creative aspects in order to help be the very best for the client. A plumber needs to use creative thinking to route new piping into a pre-existing structure. Each of us must utilize some creativity and imagining throughout our day.

 An intentional treatment of oneself necessitates a self-respect and honoring of the divine within – the Creator that we are made by/of. It is not about boastfulness or being self-indulgent. It is true humility to live out the calling one has been given, and to see it as part of your unique artistic expression.

 Allow me to segway back to the above fishing quote. It seems a bit presumptuous to pit fly-fishing to brain surgery. But looking past this and picking up the notion of a hobby vs. a serious career, there is something helpful here when we consider how our calling requires: our very presence, an intentional persistence, and lots of practice. 

 No brain surgery is ever the exact same procedure. There are certain, fundamental, and necessary skills that must be utilized each and every time. And then there is also artistry required, as well. In order to meet whatever unique differences and distinctions that are bound to arise, the master surgeon – as does any master – needs to use that creativity cultivated over a life time of learning.