So here we are at the end of January and I have just one question for you: How are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along? By now I have a feeling that your early morning trips to the gym have already dwindled down to maybe once or twice a week – if that – and that novel you started hasn’t made it past Chapter 1. However, of all the people I spoke to about what they hoped to accomplish in this brand new year, the majority of them said that what they wanted most was to find their passion and follow it. So how’s that working for you so far?
I have to admit that I did find myself in the above mentioned group. It’s not that I don’t know what my passion is because I do: writing. The issue continues to be what to write. Somehow that one thing that usually inspires my work just isn’t there, or only puts in an occasional appearance. So I spent some time going back and reading those texts and writers that, even though I’ve read them dozens of times, will always, upon yet another reading, tell me something new or remind me of something I’ve forgotten.
The first book I picked up was “The Great Work of Your Life,” by Stephen Cope, Director and Senior Scholar in Residence at Kripalu Institute in Lenox, Massachusetts. One of the first quotes to hit me came from The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas:
If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.
Wow! Talk about getting to the heart of things! As I continued to read, I followed the stories of regular people just like you and me who weren’t bringing forth what was within them. They did what they thought they should do, or what people told them they ought to do (like well-meaning parents and friends). Yet deep inside was a deep longing and a burning desire to just walk away and follow their bliss as Joseph Campbell suggests. The funny thing is, even when we think we don’t know what that is, somewhere deep inside we really do know.
Each person has been made for some specific work, and the longing for that work has been put into every heart. – Rumi
No one, I don’t care how famous they are or how much money they have, can live an authentic life if they are not doing the work they were put here to do. Even if that work consists of being a fantastic mother, or a super volunteer at a soup kitchen, or building homes for Habitat For Humanity, or sitting at the table and painting pictures with a 5-year-old. All it takes to find that work is to get curious. Get really, really curious. Ask yourself what peaks your interest? What catches your attention when you’re out and about, or reading? What hobby have you always wanted to try? If, when something floats to the surface of your consciousness, you feel an inner “ding” – as Louise Hay called it – take it to the next step and start looking at it more closely. Research it. Take a class on it. Check out YouTube to see if there is a video about it. Just don’t let it sink back down to the bottom. Hang on to it like Ahab and the whale!
Elizabeth Gilbert tells a great story in her book “Big Magic.” She was having a dry spell, or what is known as writer’s block. She just couldn’t get herself excited about anything. Even if she pushed herself to be a good girl and plant her bottom on the chair every day, faithfully writing something … anything … what came out got tossed out. So she decided to do what she always did when that happened. She looked around for something that interested her, something completely unrelated to writing. What she found was gardening. She had moved to a small town and had a yard that just begged for flowers. She not only didn’t know anything about gardening, but had rejected all of her mother’s attempts to teach her when she was a child. However, this time for some unknown reason, she was feeling that slight little nudge that said, “why not?” So she started researching what the native plants were to her area, and then started researching where they had originally come from, and then started researching the origin of those plants, and in a few months her desire to garden had turned into a novel: “The Signature Of All Things.” The blocked writer had found her work to do by deciding to plant some flowers. As Gilbert herself says about the writing life: “It is a strange line of work admittedly. I cannot think of a better way to pass my days.” Follow you inner ding!
Finally, the last quote that reminded me what I had forgotten came from psychic medium and spiritual teacher, Colette Baron-Reid:
What is yours will not go past you.
What is meant for you will not get lost. It may take a few wrong turns and may even get stuck in a rut from time to time, but it will not leave you. It will stay with you until you see it, get curious about it, and bring it forth, and then it will save you … and the authentic life it was meant to create.
This week over on the Home Page our writing assignment is going to challenge you to get curious. As always, have fun with this and remember to just keep writing.
Peace and blessings.