“Everybody gets everything they want.
I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave it to me.”
-Cpt. Willard in Apocalypse Now
Are we ever satisfied with what we get? In Buddhism it is explained that suffering results from 3 basic categories which all fall under the umbrella we call ‘suffering’. they are often called; Greed, Aversion, and Ignorance. These facts are all around us, but due to our having closed eyes to the real world, we fail to see them and over and over make the same mistake, suffer the same suffering.
All I ever wanted was to be busy at work. In fact, I distinctly remember saying to myself many times “Man, I wish i was busier, All i want is to do enough tattoos to not be sitting on my ass all day!” When business was slow in the past (which was most of the time heh heh) I would draw and paint, I am convinced that all this ‘practice time’ paved the way for me to tattoo the way I do these days. It might not be the best, but it is a damn sight better thanhow I used to tattoo!
Anyway, I wanted to be busy, and for my sins (to paraphrase Captain Willard) they gave it to me. Now every day is booked for about a week in advance. I like this, its enough booking to feel secure, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed by a years worth of shit booked ahead.Still, Im beginning to understand why some of my tattoo heros retired from tattooing,( not that I ever plan to!) But Chris Conn, Dan Higgs, Mike Giant all did and these guys were (are) all amazing and unique tattooers! Perhaps they looked down that long road, looked at an appointment book overbooked for years ahead and thought, “Holy Shit! its like being trapped! i didnt get into tattooing to work in a factory!”
I dont want you to get the idea that im complaining, in fact every time I get to do one of the really fun tattoos that make up 90% of what I tattoo im IMMENSELY grateful to whatever part of the universe is smiling on me! But Id be lying if I said that sometimes I dont get a little smile when an appointment cancels and I get to draw.
Its fun work, actually I think that tattooing might be the most fun you can have with your clothes on. But its still work, and these days I dont have any time at work to draw and paint for fun (and practice). Im drawing stuff for customers, but even that is taking longer as my ‘free time’ at work gets eaten up. I used to pride myself on getting drawings done, even big ones, in a day or two. But these days I need to tell customers that it might take me weeks to get back to them. . .I cringe when I say it too. The solution, I suppose, is to come in earlier and get an hour or two of just-for-fun art time in. I plan on making this happen. But that means getting up earlier and going to bed earlier. Time may be relative, but there is only so much of it you can play with before you need to sleep.
I can hear you saying now “why dont you do that stuff at home?” I dunno, I tried! I really did! I have a nice little art area, all the supplies I need, but I just cant fucking motivate myself to do art at home! I think its the same reason that bakers dont go home and make a wedding cake on their day off for fun. You need a sanctuary from your day to day world and my little apartment is my refuge from art. Even the walls are free of art at home while at work my walls are covered with a riot of art of all kinds.
So, I was slow and it stressed me out, now im busy and it (only a little) stresses me out. Almost everyone I know has the same story! They want something, and it makes them sad not to have it, then they get it and it brings its own new sadness. Are we doomed? Are we forever stuck on what is called “the wheel of suffering” (Samsara) in buddhism? Nope.
If you read the above paragraphs the one constant is the word ‘I’. ‘I’ wanted to be busy, ‘I’ got stressed out, ‘I’ felt like there wasnt enough time. . . “I”. Those events simply occur, im busy, im not busy, both happen and there is no emotion in the event at all. Its not until I decide I like or dislike what is occuring that the suffering begins. I thought being busy would always feel good when i didnt used to be busy, now i am and It doesnt always feel good, how many other things in life go this way? Sometimes we feel like if we could only be with a particular girl or guy then we would be happy, if it does happen then guess what. . .sooner or later it stops being fun all the time. We really want to get a car and if we finally do then the payments, worry about it, and gas prices make it not so desirable anymore. We do it with everything. Its human nature. its also OK, Im not looking to be free of all desire or ego or whatever, i dont want to be a robot (unless I get death rays. . . ) but I would like to suffer less, just like everyone else.
The good news is that, like most things, once we actually see what is going on that the seeing alone seems to make it 50% better. If we then do a little work on appreciating what we have in each moment instead of worry about what we want, dont want, or dont have then it gets even better still! Does the suffering ever go away altogether? I really dont know, but getting it to the point where its no longer smacking you upside the head because you’re unaware of it is a hell of an improvement!