I recently re-read the book Plain and Simple: a Woman's Journey to the Amish by Sue Bender, an artist who sought among the Amish wisdom and groundedness she lacked. I love this conversation she had with a non-Amish friend:
"'What counts, Sue, is not the results," said Tino, my dear friend from Sardinia, a sculptor, a poet, a wise man. "Final products are never satisfactory because the potentialities of a person are never realized.'
'Then what is satisfying?'
'It is the enjoyment of every step of the process of doing: everything, not only the isolated piece we label art. If accomplishing is the only goal, all that it takes to reach that goal is too slow, too fatiguing--an obstacle to what you want to achieve. If you want to rush to the accomplishment, it is an inevitable disappointment. Then you rush to something else. The disappointment is reaped over and over again. But if every step is pleasant, then the accomplishment becomes even more, because it is nourished by what is going on.'
I needed to hear his words.
'All the stages of one's work have a poetic nature," he continued. 'No-one gets paid for keeping his own tools cleaned. It is an act of real art; otherwise you don't have a rapport with the tool; then it becomes a rebellious servant, not respected, not properly handled. If you don't appreciate its weight and be aware of the balance, one day or another it is going to hit your finger.'" (pages 84 and 85)