My last eight days have been filled with good teaching and community. First The Circle Way Practicum. Then immediately following, Soultime, a men’s weekend retreat. Both times were rich with story telling, with tenderness, and with the learning that only comes from having ample time together. I love the non-linearity of learning that arises in these two environments. It is the sensation of not just living, but being lived. If it were meditation, rather than breathing, it would be the sensation of being breathed. If it were writing, rather than me writing words it would be the sensations of words writing me. To discover, even glimpse what is beneath the surface of perceived reality — that’s gold. To do that in community — that’s priceless.

This morning, I’m peeking my head up at the home of Chris Corrigan and Caitlin Frost. Chris and I just had coffee at his kitchen table. Shared a bit of breakfast together. Caught up. This kind of friendship is also priceless. It’s a gift.

And with that, I’m loving Chris’ words from an earlier blogpost on Artistry. What I learn in deep experience together of the ilk of the last eight days, is that I crave the artistry of practice and living. The dutiful mechanics of practice and living have their place. As in, really important place. But, the impulse of artistry — well that touches the being breathed, being written, being communed part, doesn’t it.

Enjoy Chris’ words. I did. And the coffee. And the breakfast. And the friendship.

The 14 steps of the artists journey to mastery (based on the last 30 years of my experience)

1. Cultivate the desire to create beauty
2. Discover a medium for doing so
3. Seek the teachers who can teach you how to use the tools of your medium faithfully
4. Use the tools faithfully to make simple things.
5. Ask why things work and why they don’t
6. With that knowledge, modify your tools to do what needs to be done beyond simplicity.
7. Discover the limitations of your tools.
8. Become a tool maker
9. Take on apprentices and teach them to use the tools faithfully to make simple things
10. Take on apprentices and help them reflect on why they are succeeding and failing.
11. I don’t know…I haven’t got there yet
12. Unimaginable to me, but I see it.
13. Wow.

14. The unrealized ideal master that I aspire to become, should I be given more than one lifetime to do so.

Along the way, be aware of the following:
* self-doubt
* errors at different scales
* mistakes and regret
* joy and surprise
* the desire of others to learn from you
* the feeling that you have nothing to offer them
* times of steep learning and times of long periods of integration
* waxing and waning of inspiration
* Rule 6a applies at all times.

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