Words to Work By, Part 2

UT Austin senior and Conservatory summer program alumna Courtney Mazeika brings us this week’s words to work by.

When I get caught up in the whirlwind of life, this prose poem helps me to find the ground.

By: Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in
silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the
ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare
yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career,
however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let
this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and
everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in
the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress
yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the
universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever
your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be

Strive to be happy.


Words to Work By

sfcd showcase kelvin

A significant part of training at the Conservatory is not just working hard but, more importantly, improving how to work so that development and breakthroughs are simply the byproducts of a self-sustaining artistic practice.  At times, this meta-working process is quite heady and overwhelming.  When I feel neck deep, I find wisdom in these words to work by:

First, advice from poet Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue.  Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day to the answer.”

Second, John Cage’s “10 Rules for Students and Teachers”

RULE 1: Find a place you trust, and then, try trusting it for a while.
RULE 2: (General duties as a student) Pull everything out of your teacher.  Pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE 3: (General duties as a teacher) Pull everything out of your students.
RULE 4: Consider everything an experiment.
RULE 5: Be self-disciplined.  This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them.  To be disciplined is to follow in a good way.  To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE 6: Follow the leader.  Nothing is a mistake.  There is no win and no fail.  There is only make.
RULE 7: The only rule is work.  If you work it will lead to something.  It is the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch onto things.  You can fool the fans–but not the players.
RULE 8: Do not try to create and analyze at the same time.  They are different processes.
RULE 9: Be happy whenever you can manage it.  Enjoy yourself.  It is lighter than you think.
RULE 10: We are breaking all the rules, even our own rules and how do we do that?  By leaving plenty of room for ‘x’ qualities.

Always be around.
Come or go to everything.
Always go to classes.
Read everything you can get your hands on.
Look at movies carefully and often.
SAVE EVERYTHING.  It may come in handy later.