We are verbs, not nouns

I’m quite a fan of Austin Kleon’s noun/verb model, which he originally explained three years prior:

Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. They want the job title without the work. …

Let go of the thing that you’re trying to be (the noun), and focus on the actual work you need to be doing (the verb).

Though, as the linked post demonstrates, and in a very Kleon style, this idea is hardly original to him—many others have shared similar models. An interesting one that Kleon raises here is the difference between “religion” as a noun and as a verb. I like Mary Karr’s explanation:

“It’s a practice,” Mary Karr says of her own faith. “It’s not something you believe. It’s not doctrine. Doctrine has nothing to do with it. It’s a set of actions.” I remember once, when asked to make a case for religion, she replied, “Why don’t you just pray for 30 days and see if your life gets better?

On the subject of practicing religion, I’m reminded of Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day” (excerpted from the full poem):

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day. …
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

8:38 am on December 22, 2018