Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the centre hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes that make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there
~ Lao Tsu, From Tao-Te Ching
Health brings life filled with activity. Illness empties time to its barest essence.
Health allows forward motion. Illness stops the wheel in mid-rotation.
It was the emptying, the resting, that brought clarity about the perpetual motion of my healthy life. This was the useful outcome of two months of illness; once I was able to get past the first heat of frustration and anger (at not being able to do everything I'd planned for myself), I began to see with vividness and gratitude the small things that could happen.
Back before I got sick, I'd planted corn from seed for the first time, started indoors before the soil had warmed, then planted out in early June. When the corn went untended, with little rain for many weeks, I gave up hope of growing anything more than bare stalks.
Even so, in late August I harvested a dozen perfectly formed ears of corn. The stalks where spindly and short, but they had overcome adverse conditions to fulfill their potential.
The lesson learned: Plant the seeds.
Don't worry. Just do it.
Within each seed is a powerful will to become.
Even if you're unable to tend it something will still come of it. If nothing else, you'll learn that you can plant a seed and watch it grow. You'll get the joy of experience. And you'll either learn what it takes to make it produce, or what can stunt it.
Knowledge is the most valuable harvest. It's yours to keep no matter what the outcome.
Ideas are an artist's seeds. An artists plants ideas by beginning the process of realization.
Even when the process of realization is interrupted, the artist may return to find the idea has produced something useful.
It's up to me to begin. It's up to me to do what I can. And I've also seen clearly that things can become what they're meant to be even without my direct involvement.
I can let go and my dreams won't fall apart.
At times, my role in the creative process must be simply to sit still and watch the seeds of planted ideas unfold and grow as they will.