I recently read that the hands of a human embryo begin as webbed, spade-like flippers until cell death sculpts individual little fingers.

Nature is a master sculptor.

Another master sculptor, Michelangelo, was once asked how he had created his masterpiece, David. His answer: “I looked at the stone and removed all that was not David.”

Writers do this, too. We pull details from the infinite and organize them in linear form to tell a story. Even the world’s oldest bestseller gives a nod to the creative process when, in chapter one, the Divine Architect fashions earth from the “formless and void.”

There is a powerful lyric from the Avett Brothers “Head full of doubt/Road full of promise,” a song introduced to me by my friend Sheena when I was still struggling to transcend the straitjacket of my criminal past and evolve into something more. It’s this: “Decide what to be and go be it.”

Simple yet powerful. That’s what’s up. As much as we try to convince ourselves that we are fixed and stagnant, that this is just the way we are, the way we’re wired; the truth is we are really the waveform in particle physics existing in a state of pure potential, primordial sludge, unwritten music, blank sheets of paper, unchiseled stone, works-in-progress tricked into believing we are finished products. It is our mission — and our inheritance as offspring of the Original Creator — to go forward and create our best selves.

In the timeless words of James Allen, “The oak sleeps in the acorn.”