The Words by Alan Watts that Woke me Up Last Night.

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Last night, last sunset at this place

A post shared by Sara Kärpänen (@sarakarpanen) on

“I’m a bit scared about the change,” I wrote to my friend.

I am about to move to a new home—again. I am about to leave an artist community behind that I had lived in and loved for four years.

But, I need a change—I’ve needed it for a long time now. So, there I was having all these nervous and exciting thoughts about the new place and the bittersweet memories of the past after packing all my belongings in piles of boxes and bags.

His response was, “Search, ‘What do you desire,’ on YouTube.”

Intrigued by such straightforward advice, I did it. “What do you desire” is an amazing speech by Alan Watts.

After watching the video, I immediately had to write.

I already knew. The answer was there—I had the answer myself.

“Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it—you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it.” ~ Alan Watts

What would you do, if money was no object? Because really, that is all that matters in life. That is a meaningful life—a creative life, if you ask me.

I can’t force myself to spend 40 hours a week on something that doesn’t make me happy. I acknowledge how privileged I am—and, quite likely, if you are reading this on your laptop or iPhone, in your room or office or on a bus, so are you.

It is a choice—our choice to live our lives as we want to.

It doesn’t matter if, “Art doesn’t make money.” It doesn’t mean f*ck all.

I wrote this article about the suffering artist syndrome two years ago. Because I was—and still am—sick of artists complaining how hard their lives are.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about money, but your life is already rich if you do what is your heart’s desire—if you do what you really want.

It’s not easy, but you’ll be guaranteed to feel alive.

So ask yourself now, “What do I desire?”

“Don’t worry too much. Somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will.” ~ Alan Watts



Author: Sara Kärpänen
Image: @sarakarpanen & Renegade98 / Flickr
Copy editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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About Sara Kärpänen

Sara Kärpänen is arts and culture specialized editor on Elephant Journal. She changes her hats as a writer, curator, and an artist depending on the day. She is also a passionate amateur yogi and a crazy cat lady. Connect with Sara on her website, Instagram, and Twitter.


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