Chasing Down The Muse: Attaining a life of happiness

As we align our skills with our full creative power and vision, we gain access to mastery. In mastery, the target is hit before the arrow is released. — Beverly Cassell

The sunset cast its golden autumn light throughout the canyon as I drove home after a long day away. It always strikes me that each of these glorious sunsets seems so fresh and new…so unseen heretofore. Amazing!

These late autumn months do bring a different slant to all of nature. The sunset's warm glow of oranges and gold hues that seems to gild both the shoreline and the canyon trees are a not-so-subtle reminder of yet another passing season. Where does it all go so quickly?

The days are filled with so many things that press on one to be done, to be given due attention. How to set priorities becomes a priority in itself and one not to be taken too lightly. Still, so many things pull and tug in often opposing directions. Choices and decisions are made. Some are good; perhaps some not so.

The Greek definition of happiness is the "full use of our powers along the lines of excellence and lives affording them scope." When we make choices and decisions we would hope those decisions would bring happiness, would afford the full use of our powers along those same lines of excellence. But how to make the right choices? How to make decisions that give our individual powers full scope? Heavy — and heady — stuff, that's for sure.

For many years I was involved in a national network of artists begun by Beverly Cassell in 1983 — the Artist Conference Network. The members of this group were diverse to say the least, coming from many different art forms and making up a broad spectrum of achievement levels within their individual fields. They had one thing in common from the very start — courage and commitment to creative possibilities for themselves and for each other.

The format of the conference was empowering. Through coaching, breakthroughs occurred again and again and the community of artists prospered and nourished each other as they strived to attain greater mastery in each individual's own art form. I still hold strong and dear so many of the relationships that were built through the years of my active involvement in this process.

What does this have to do with passing seasons and choices and priorities? How does the fleet passage of time enter in?

It is about clarity. The basics of the ACN coaching process were about vision, goals, breakthroughs, and creative process. Non-academic, non-competitive, action-based, and filled with miraculous moments, this process demonstrated to me a commitment level from all participants toward empowerment like nothing else I had seen before or since. Choices and decisions made and priorities set with clarity afford us greater reach.

As the golden light brightened the afternoon trees and sparkled and gleamed on the shoreline, I was reminded of all this — the joy of it, the empowerment, the pure magic that can be. Choices and decisions, if made within this context of vision and goals, bring about the breakthroughs that lead to that wonderful thing we call "happiness." The Greeks had it right: Happiness is the full use of our powers along the lines of excellence and lives affording them scope.

With the light now lost and the sky filled with stars, I recommit myself to these tenets. They have long served me and so many others so well. I do not know if ACN is still alive and well anywhere. You can Google the conference, but I did and found nothing more current than 2009. Still, if any of this speaks to you, give it a try. It has changed and empowered so many lives. It could do the same for yours.

Cherril Doty is an artist, writer, counselor…always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the myriad mysteries of life…and joyful, always joyful. She can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.

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