Choreographer Agnes de Mille wrote a book called The Life and Work of Martha Graham, which I had never heard of until I read the quotation from it in today's post at the blog, First Sip. If Wikipedia is to be believed on this, de Mille "confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be. Martha said to me, very quietly, ...
'There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.'"
That is exactly what it feels like. The "divine dissatisfaction" is, I think, what keeps people from going further - artistically or even as people creating lives for themselves. To get away from the tension, people look for a thousand answers and gather up habits, or things, or distractions so that staying still will feel better. To live unresolved - to be willing to be dissatisfied - it is not easy or even enjoyable most of the time. It is simultaneously glorious and wretched to be on the right track, always hearing the call to come further - never getting to the source of the sound. Never really being There. The longing never goes away if you are in pursuit; yet it stops if you stop. Rotten, holy, amazing, sublime dilemma! Satisfaction might blow across the track sometimes, but in order to be satisfied, we have to stop moving.