Meet my astronaut.
He has been hanging out in the middle of the desk of my home office for the last few years. Despite standing just over two inches tall, he consistently calls me to greater heights.
His aerospace proclivities are aspirational and inspirational. A reminder to dream BIG.... JUMBO BIG.
My astronaut's lunchbox is a nod to the cover of Steven Pressfield's book, Turning Pro.
The meaning intrinsic to the lunchbox is spelled out by Pressfield in his "The Lunch Pail Manifesto."
We must find the work that brings our lives meaning.
We must strive to make our work purposeful, truthful, and authentic.
We must wage a lifelong war with Resistance and accept that instant gratification is an oxymoron.
We must not speak of our work with false modesty or braggadocio.
We must not debase our work for short term gain nor elevate it above its rightful station to inflate our ego.
We must not covet the fruits of our work, or the fruits of others’ work.
We must respect others’ work and offer aid to fellow professional laborers.
We must accept that our work will never be perfect.
We must accept that our work will never be without merit.
We must accept that our work will never cease.
Finally, my astronaut companion is standing upon a Memento Mori Medallion.
The creator of this particular medallion, Ryan Holiday, explains its symbolism in the following way:
"In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius wrote “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” That was a personal reminder to continue living a life of virtue NOW, and not wait. The French painter Philippe de Champaigne expressed a similar sentiment in his painting "Still Life with a Skull," which showed the three essentials of existence: the tulip (life), the skull (death), and the hourglass (time). The original painting is part of a genre referred to as Vanitas, a form of 17th century artwork featuring symbols of mortality which encourage reflection on the meaning and fleetingness of life. ...
The front (of the medallion) features an interpretation of de Champaigne’s 17th century painting and the back shows a shortened version of Aurelius’s timeless wisdom. The coin acts as a reminder to not obsess over trivialities, or trying to become famous, make more money than we could ever spend, or make plans far off in the future. All these are negated by death. It’s time we stop pretending otherwise."
So, now you have been formally introduced to my astronaut.
He has nothing to do with our work in rural Guatemala. He has everything to do with our work in rural Guatemala.
We aspire to dream big, traverse the chasm between where we are and where we want to be by showing up consistently and putting in the work to "turn pro," fueled by an urgency and clarity brought forth by recognizing our own mortality and the rapidity with which the grains of sand pass through the hourglass.
"Teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom."
~Psalm 90:12 (NIV)