From: The Inner Suburbs of Brisbane, Australia.
Subject: Thoughts From A Balcony and Coffee Shop.
Right now I am sitting on the balcony of a beautiful home deep within the city of Brisbane, Australia.
The home belongs to a well-travelled couple that have turned their house into a place for people like me, who are passing through and looking for somewhere to rest.
Every wall within the home is covered in art, banners, photos and memories from countries all over the world.
There are no fluorescent lights either.
Only salt lamps that produce a dull orange glow, making for a very relaxing environment.
People from all around the world are currently staying here, but out on the balcony and hiding from the heavy rain – I am all alone with myself and my work, listening to classical music and contemplating the adventure to come.
My headphones are noise cancelling so I can only just hear rain falling onto the tin roof that is above me.
And the air is cool too – much different from the world that I woke up in this morning.
Breathing it into my lungs is making me feel more alive than I have felt in a long time, for the air back home is filled with dust from a long drought.
Around ten hours and 800kms ago – that’s exactly where I was, drinking coffee with my mum and saying my goodbyes before hitting the road once again.
Rain was falling there too, but not in the quantity that it’s falling here.
Now during the long drive, I found myself contemplating a number of things as I battled against heavy rain and flooded roads.
I thought about how fast the six weeks that I was home went – and it feels like only a moment ago that I went back to visit.
I thought about my intentions for this coming year.
I thought about the girl who I spent the night with under the stars before I left home – the smell of her pretty hair and soft skin still lingers in my memory.
I thought about many things on the drive here.
But what I thought about more than anything else, was the conversation I had earlier in the week, with a fellow Artist and Martial Artist.
This individual is an internationally collected Sculptor, whose works sell for prices as high as five figures.
And he is also my brothers training partner.
With both of us being fighters and Artists, we hit things off immediately and spoke for quite some time on the phone.
During our conversation we covered many topics ranging from dealing with doubt, physical training, overcoming creative blocks and how to take care of yourself as an artist.
Now it is this last point that I pondered for hours as I travelled earlier today.
I used to think life as an Artist would be a peaceful and simple existence, where I woke up in bliss every single day, without a worry on my mind.
And while this is partly true of my current life, it is far from the whole truth, because I wake up every single day with the same worry on my mind.
What is that worry?
My work, my message, my craft.
Whenever I am not working I struggle to find peace and relax, which prevents me enjoying from my life and embracing the wonderful experiences that I find myself within as I live my life.
Whenever I am working, I feel great and everything is blissful.
For me working is as easy breathing and it brings me great pleasure – it’s taking time off that I can’t stand.
And so when I find myself sitting on a beautiful balcony, in a lovely home, deep in a magical city – like I am as I write these words – I can’t just kick my feet up and take it all in.
I have to get to work. I have to produce. I have to create.
And this is exactly what the sculptor and myself talked about:
The impossible art of balancing art and life as an artist.
For many artists including myself – our work is so deeply connected to our lives that it is almost impossible to separate the two, making it very easy to forget about life itself as we paint, write, sing or sculpt away in our own bliss.
I can’t stop working. I don’t want to stop working. I don’t want a vacation. I don’t want time off.
All I want to do is write, every day and every night.
My work is my life and my life is my work, so if I wanted to stop working that would mean I would have to stop living – which ain’t happening baby.
And so arises the question of how we can balance our work and our lives.
How can we create our work, leave our legacy and enjoy life at the same time?
I honestly don’t have a clue.
Neither the sculptor or myself had an answer to the question – and we ended our conversation questioning whether it was possible to separate our art from our life, when art is our life.
I thought about the question while driving here and I thought about it when I first sat down on this balcony to enjoy the wonderful sound of rain falling into treetops.
Shortly after sitting down though, I gave up enjoying the rainfall to write this piece.
Even the other night while under the stars with a beautiful young lady missing her clothes, I was thinking about my work.
And so I’ve concluded that at this point in my life – I have no idea how to enjoy life itself.
I have no idea how to wake up and feel bliss as I watch steam rise off my coffee.
I have no idea how to really make the most of time as it passes me by each day.
All I can think about when I wake up is my mission.
All I can think about is building this blog into something that adds value to millions of men around the world.
The sculptor has experienced the same struggle.
When a piece is finished there is satisfaction for a short period of time, but then the urge to create more comes bursting forth from deep within.
Now while he could not tell me how to balance my life and my art, he did tell me how to enhance my life itself – as I lived it and created my art.
What he said was along the following lines:
“You must slow down, enjoy the process and hone your observations – for that is what art is all about. Pay closer attention to daily life, live more deeply and savour your life.”
Those words have been ringing in the back of my mind since he spoke them and they are still ringing in my mind as I sit in the corner of a busy coffee shop.
That’s right, I’m no longer on the balcony listening to the rain, that was last night.
During the writing of the first half of this piece – an old couple who are staying where I am staying, returned home from a night out and joined me on the balcony.
We talked for many hours.
So I decided to put the computer away and continue working today.
Now this coffee shop I am sitting inside is no regular coffee shop – because almost five years ago I sat exactly where I am sitting right now, lost and confused and a long way from home.
As I sit here writing and sipping on my coffee, memories of that trip are flooding my mind.
Life truly is a magical adventure and when lived well it becomes better than any movie made by man.
Now let’s go back to the balcony last night.
This couple were an older pair, gypsies who live on the road.
Currently they’re on the way to Europe and have been all around the world.
Now I noticed something very interesting about them, whilst speaking to them.
What was it?
Their minds were free of the dogma that infects the minds of normal people.
Over the hours that we spoke there was no talk of any of the normal shit that normal people always talk about.
How they hate their job, wish they were free, can’t wait until the weekend.
Instead they asked me what my interests were, if I had travelled, who I wanted to become.
While I said nothing of the blog, I did tell them about my plans to become a novelist and travel the world doing that.
Their response was very different from the response that I usually get from Average Joes who do nothing but honour the expectations of society.
The Average Joes just ask me what I do for money, or what job I want to work, even after I tell them that I’m a writer.
Like I always say:
Normal people will never be able to imagine or comprehend living an abnormal life, a life of total freedom and joy spent creating your own work instead of being a slave.
If you’re not a normal person and you are frustrated because normal people don’t understand your desire to do something outside the box, you need to realise that you will never change their minds or make them see what you see through your eyes.
So don’t bother.
Go the path alone and take only what you need, don’t look back or slow down either – and you’ll eventually find people who are similar to yourself.
Just like the old couple who I met last night.
Unlike most people they acknowledged my dream and told me to never quit.
Both wanted me to succeed because both of them are happy and fulfilled people living exactly as they want to live.
They don’t dream of a better life because they don’t need to.
And I felt their joy as I sat across from them.
Shortly before they went to bed, the woman got up and put her hands on my shoulders and said:
“With a name like Maverick Brenton, you’re destined for success. Keep going and never give up. Hopefully we’ll see you on television one day.”
I smiled, knowing that she was damn right.
When you wake up every day thinking about the same thing and you go to sleep every night wishing you could stay awake to continue working on it – you’re going to win sooner or later.
After they went to sleep I was left alone to continue writing, but I decided to listen to the rain instead.
While listening to that rain I thought about what I learnt from them.
And I compared their life to the lives that most people live.
The majority of people get on the treadmill of society and never get off because they make stupid choices with money and fail to question the assumptions made by the masses.
So they never really do much, they never really see much, they never really create much.
Then there’s the minority who are smart enough to see the traps and who decide to avoid them completely – like this pair.
Neither of them we’re concerned about owning bullshit or trying to look rich and appear successful to other people.
They only cared about making the most of their time and seeing as much as they could before the end.
And their eyes glowed with joy, wonder and excitement as they sat across from me.
So as the rain began to grow heavier, I found myself lost in thought.
Maybe I never will be able to relax completely and forget about my work as an artist – maybe I’m on this path for good.
And maybe you are cursed with the same awesome fate.
Whatever the truth be, there is one certainty regardless:
We can make some great memories, meet some very interesting people and experience many amazing things along our journey – whilst we do our work.
If you’re an artist like me, don’t worry about missing out on life because you work all the time.
Your life probably is your work.
And just as I turned last nights conversation into my work, which you are reading right now – so can you turn the events of your daily life into rich experiences that fuel your work, if you simply pay attention.
Too often we convince ourselves that our life hasn’t yet begun, and we get this idea in our mind that only once we achieve this, or accomplish that – will we begin to live.
But it’s a foolish mistake, for life is shorter than you know.
So let us in our pursuit of success, be like those two gypsies on the balcony.
Let us not worry about balancing our work and our life, but instead embrace the two as inseparable components of our being, while savouring every moment that we experience along this journey.
Let our own eyes glow with excitement and wonder.
Let our lives be filled with many adventures, to serve as the materials of our work.
And let us live with ferocity – for there is no better way of which I know.