Are you a free spirit? You can take this short quiz to find out. And what you will discover is that the definition of a free spirit is based entirely on one thing: the experience of being fully alive (EBFA)! You are already familiar with this experience. In an EBFA, you are so immersed in the moment that time stands still and you literally lose yourself. All distractions disappear, and the only thing that matters is the sensations you feel: passion and inspiration, love and joy, bliss and ecstasy.
For a free spirit, nothing is more precious than the EBFA. Most of the artists I have met and interviewed qualify as free spirits because they have made such experiences their highest priority. They have devoted their lives to their art, even when it has meant financial struggle and a lack of recognition. Most would agree that an artist’s life is not easy. Like everyone else, artists have bills to pay, and they have heard the modern-day gospel of “security and stability.” I can’t imagine there are very many artists who have not been encouraged at some point—by a friend, parent, spouse, or lover—to settle down, find a more practical career, and start thinking about their future.
Given these challenges, why would anyone pursue the path of an artist? Perhaps some hold onto the dream of future success. But many more know that the moment they delve into their own creative process, they have already achieved success. When you are devoted to the EBFA, you can never fail! The magic that happens in the creative moment is infinitely rewarding. That is not an exaggeration. I know that it has been for me. When I write, I don’t think about what will become of my words. Will anyone read them? Will anyone care? It makes no difference. There is a moment when I “lose my fingers.” Those fingers almost seem to have a mind of their own. They type words on the keyboard of their own accord, and I am a fascinated reader waiting with baited breath to find out what will appear next on the computer screen. That’s magic!
The more I immerse myself in that moment, the richer and more satisfying it becomes. There is so much unfolding right here, right now, in this precious instant. I connect with something infinite and eternal. Suddenly, all things become possible. An expansive universe opens up to my imagination. And nothing—I mean, absolutely nothing—is missing. My personal mantra, as an artist, is: “Here and Now, Baby!” These words draw my attention to the perfection of this moment: Everything that ever was or ever will be is here right now.
I just came across a story about film director Steven Spielberg. Early in his career, he had a studio boss who assured him, “I will support you as strongly in failure as I will in success.” These words gave Spielberg a sense of freedom, allowing him to be bold and imaginative without fear of failure. What a wonderful luxury it would be to receive such words of support from a boss. But I have an even more liberating message for my many artist friends: You cannot fail. If you know the intense joy that comes from creating, you are already a success. No matter what else happens in your life, you can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt: I MADE IT!