Living a Making

Living a Making November 2, 2020

When finding my way as a young man, I came home from college to have a classic argument with my father. Over dinner the first night, I declared to him with excitement that I was a poet. I hadn’t yet written anything but knew it was true. He was incredulous and frustrated and loudly asked, “How are you going to make a living?” I’m not sure where it came from in me, but I looked at him and said, “I’m going to live a making.” I confess that I’ve spent much of my life learning what that means. And it is living a making for so many years that has led me to the place of true meeting that waits under all our struggles. 


I have learned that making a living is how we survive, but living a making is how we thrive. We need the strength and resilience to do both.


There is always a tension between surviving and thriving, and between making a living and living a making. Part of the journey of individuation is withstanding the tension of both until they work hand in hand. 


It’s humbling and inspiring that, no matter how many years I’ve been devoted to the craft of perception, I still wake every day with a sense of starting over and a yearning to get as close to the pulse of life as possible. And I admit that, whether aware of it or not, I write about what I need to know to draw my soul into the world. So, my books are my teachers. Once I understood this, I found more joy in writing. Now I welcome this vast unknowing. Each book leads to the next. Questions unravel into deeper questions. And here I am: following one question to the next, book by book. The truth is that I barely understand half of what comes through me. The other half leads me.


All this to say—only you have the wisdom, waiting like a seed inside your heart, and your conversation with life will reveal that personal wisdom to you, in time. The only oracle to consult is what feels ultimately true for you in any given moment.


All this to say—the more you trust your heart and stay in conversation with life, the more deeply life will speak to you, as you live. And when you feel overwhelmed, remember that your heart is stronger and larger than any one feeling it may experience.  


Hear Mark read this piece from Drinking from the River of Light:


A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a friend or loved one, describe an experience in which you found yourself living a making, where your engagement in a detailed process of creating, building, or repairing brought you more alive. How did your immersion in the process affect your outlook and behavior? 

Join Mark for a 3-session webinar on Finding Inner Courage: Our Walk in the World, January 24, 31, and Feb 7, 2021. Register at

*Photo Credit: Janko Ferlic

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