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  • Jesse Dvorak

The Art of Life May Be Passing You By

The sound was muted, but shout by shout I was being awakened.

I heard several, desperate voices calling my name. “Jesse! Jesse! Jesse!!!

But I was elsewhere. My eyes were transfixed on the tiny insect in my hands.

My little head was down in the dirt and grass. The tiny bug in my five year old palms, cupped into darkness for my wee eyes to peer upon.

Lost in curiosity. Lost in wonder.

But the dream was snapped awake by so many calling for my urgent attention.

My head jolted up.

My focus redirected at the other young boys quickly pacing right past me as the opposing team kicked the soccer ball through my team’s net on way to their victory.


I guess I was supposed to be holding down the last line of defense for my team (the Panthers).

I had forgotten that I was supposed to care who would win a soccer game on a random Saturday in Texas.

This is a story that has been recalled many times in my family. It informs my family about who I am in our dynamic and my particular characteristics.

But it’s also a story about all of our childhood.​​

Most adults these days struggle with some form of baseline anxiety.

There’s a tension between what feels alive in our soul and what must be done to survive the day.

We feel the stressful demands of the structures that have been built up around us. We have an endless list of tasks to complete. We have an ambitious cause to live.

Gotta work out!

Life itself feels like the crowd calling from the sideline to get in the game…

their game....

I was ambivalent about something that didn’t matter.

I was playing a different game.

Anyone who spends time around children understands the innocence they have, and how they teach us these lessons about the forgotten gift of play.

​As an artist, working and living in Los Angeles, it is so easy to forget that our craft is at its heart play from the soul.

No one gets into art as a “fall back plan” just in case the operations management path doesn’t work out.

​We love the life of play that is our heart’s calling.

It's also why people look to art as a source of wonder.

But when rent depends upon being creative, the attachment to survive becomes stressed.

For over 20 years I have talked with so many filmmakers, actors, writers, musicians who struggle with this tension.

I hear something like this almost weekly:

“I just want to create something great, but I’m barely getting by... living the dream!

I admit that when my bank account is scant, my cortisol levels rise, and I stress.

​Survival kicks in, and being creative can feel impossible.

​The gift that adults give to children is often the… SAFETY to play.

​When we feel like tending to our demands keeps us barely surviving, the playground of art remains closed.

​And our lives suffer.

So what’s the difference between the child who plays freely, and the adult who stresses to get a mere hour or 2 of play scheduled in the week?


The child intrinsically trusts food will be on the table.

They aren’t concerned with the shareholders or business growth metrics.

They live in unconscious trust. They assume the needs are met.

The true next level is NOT to just find some time to play in a busy schedule, but to experience ALL LIFE AS PLAY.

“The true object of all human life is play.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

Hopefully this message provides a shift of mindset with an attitude to embrace all life playfully...

but ultimately if your body and soul feel un-secure and stressed it won't make a difference.

That deep sense of safety to be playful must be felt, not merely mentally acknowledged.

So I have provided a short guided meditation that will bring you into the state of trust which will open this spirit up for you.

You can access it here:

Giving 10 minutes to this meditation will bring you into the sensation of trust.

The greater you are able to engage with life's myriad experiences as a curious, playful child...

the more vividly your life's artistry will unfold, revealing your true essence for all to witness.

I wonder if a single person from that soccer game in the early 80’s remembers that day as vividly as I do.

Does the winning team still care that they won? Probably not.

Maybe if I had paid attention to the soccer game we would have had victory on that day…

but then I probably wouldn’t have a story to tell.

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