“Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing”
I find it hard to describe what I’m passionate about. I often hear “if you find your passion you’ll never work a day in your life”. I think this is true. But what is my passion?
I love to travel. I love visiting new places, seeing how other people live; I love to experience the culture, cuisine, music and art. I love learning about family dynamics and history of the people. I enjoy reading – I used to do a lot more of it-but now I have to carve out time for it. My favorite place to read is at the beach under an umbrella with the soothing sounds of the waves crashing ashore and hearing the happy squeal of children attempting to ride the waves. I love going to shows of all kinds. I love spending time and laughing with family and friends. I enjoy writing.
But can I make any of these my passion?
Probably. Does following your passion have to mean making a profit from it? That’s definitely nice. But is it ok to just do things you enjoy solely to feed your soul? If it brings you peace and satisfaction isn’t it ok to passionately do it and not gain monetarily for it? I’d like to say so.
What are some of your passions?
How about unfulfilled passion? Do you have any?
I have one: dancing. I remember being about 6 years old and walking pass a dance studio and asking my mother if I could take dance lessons, especially since I had a cousin who was taking dance lessons at that time. She said no. I can’t remember if she gave me a reason but I do remember not pushing the issue and taking no for an answer. I’ve always regretted that; I should’ve been more persistent. Till this day when I go see a dance show I dream of being on stage as a seasoned dancer. Sometimes I even get angry with myself for not having followed my passion. Then I comfort myself by enjoying the show and dancing at every party, in my living room, at concerts, with friends…basically any time the spirit moves me.
So if you can’t easily pursue your passion what can you do?
Well for me I put on my dancing shoes.
“Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution”
Have you ever been in such a state of mind that you can’t calm down or think straight? You’re full of anxiety and stress? You can’t rest your mind, sleep through the night, eat healthy – you either over indulge in junk food or not eat at all? Then you decide to talk it out with people who “understand” your situation. In the midst of garnering support you find that you’re more upset and unproductive. Why? Harping on a problem rather than strategically mapping out a plan to address it makes the situation worse, and being fueled by others with negativity prolongs your misery.
I feel a good solution to combating negativity is 1) staying away from more negativity – including people, 2) taking time to breathe and gather yourself – clearing your mind will help you gain a better perspective of the situation, 3) counting your blessings. Show gratitude for the smallest blessing: like breathing.
When you come up with great ideas and you share it with others and you’re not met with excitement, rather discouraging words – all the reasons that you shouldn’t or can’t pursue your dreams, ignore it. Don’t be discouraged by the naysayers. Pursue your goal, go for it. Whether it takes you time to achieve it and you have to revise along the way, or you achieve immediate success, or even if ultimately it does not work out. You’re not a failure. Having ambition and putting in the work itself is success. Now any wins along the way are extra blessings.
Keep going, even if the road seems a bit lonely. You’ve got this!
“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing”
It was dark by 6 pm, but pitch black by 7 pm. At first I read a few pages of a book by flashlight. When that got exhausting I played with the flashlight by creating different shapes in the shadows with my one free hand and voices to go along. I amused myself for a while. This power outage brought into sharp focus how dependent we are on electricity – being without tv, smartphones/tablets, and especially the Internet is hard. As I relaxed in the dark I imagined what people did before the days of radio, tv, and Internet to entertain themselves.
After a while I caught myself smiling. Why did I feel so happy though I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything? I was brain exercising. I was reciting stories and songs I learned as a child; “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong came to mind so I belted it out loud as if I were back in the 5th grade in my elementary school auditorium with my music teacher on the piano; then I was in my neighborhood park jumping rope, swinging on metal swings with my friends, eating 50 cent ice pops. I thought of people I hadn’t seen in years, I wondered how they are? I thought of some people I need to check up on, send cards to, or visit. I made a mental list. Finally, I remembered a few good things that I have been blessed with. All these memories and thoughts brought me joy; that’s why I was smiling.
In the still of darkness I sat still long enough to remember the beauty of living. In spite of the daily chaos that comes with life, if you pause long enough and disconnect from the news, social media, tv shows…you may come to realize the beautiful moments you’ve lived through, the memories you’ve created, each person who left a footprint in your life. I’m sure there are some great ones you could share. Take time to do so. There’s nothing like the human connection.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
Have you ever felt you were running out of time? Have you felt a sense of urgency to get something done? How do you reign in the galloping horses in your mind and get to setting a plan to achieve your goal?
I have many thoughts and ideas but find it hard to concentrate on one thing. I work on this a little bit, that a little bit… but this isn’t always productive because it takes a long time to fully accomplish one thing. So I think what I will focus on doing now is setting goals and creating timelines of when I want to accomplish a task. I’ve been told for years the importance of setting goals; in my mind I set things I want to accomplish but rarely have I put them down in writing: to make it real, concrete.
For example, I want to publish a book. I haven’t decided if it will be a children’s book, a fictional novel, a first person documentary, etc. What I’ve been doing wrong is playing out stories in my mind but not putting them in writing, or starting on one story but not working it all the way through. So what I’m determined to do is create a writing schedule and make time to complete a book. This I know will make me happy.
What are some of your goals? What steps will you take to reach your goal? Where will you look for inspiration?
“You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself“
Can you imagine facing tragedy, heartbreak, or pain and not having anyone to support and comfort you? That would make the obstacle that much harder to get through. So can you be that friend, brother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin… that others can turn to for comfort and encouragement?
Recently a friend lost her mother, another lost her son, and another confided they’ve been battling depression and frightening thoughts. And still if you watch the news your heart surely aches for all the tragedy in the world. I know I can’t solve the world’s problems nor do I always have the right words of comfort, but I think what means most to the sufferer is my presence. Being genuine and understanding that they feel pain, and though I can’t remove it, I understand and I’m suffering with them. That’s what empathy is. Being able to feel what the other person is feeling then showing compassion. We were created with this divine quality so we could add color and love to one another’s lives in this cold, dark world. It helps makes trials bearable. We can face them with courage knowing that our loved ones encircle us ready to carry us through.
I hope you have empathetic friends in your circle. I hope you’re that empathetic friend in return.
If you don’t celebrate success it won’t celebrate you.
Sometimes we forget to be proud of ourselves, to celebrate our accomplishments. We get wrapped up in setting up/ meeting/ exceeding the next goal we forget to enjoy the present one. Or we focus on what we haven’t accomplished, what weighs us down, daily responsibilities…kill joys.
But I have so many friends who are achieving goals and I want them to know I celebrate them, I’m proud of them, and they inspire me. Some are taking charge of their health by meal planning, eating clean, exercising. Some have started their own businesses, while others have moved on from un-supportive employers to ones that meet their needs. Others have moved places to follow their dreams. Many are raising successful families – some as single parents; some have written books, while others courageously face the world each day despite illness and anxieties.
What I realize all of these people have in common is faith and the belief that they deserve happiness and peace. So they set goals and take action until they succeed. It’s such a good feeling when you attain a desire. This joy could be fleeting though if you don’t celebrate your accomplishment because you feel you must find something else to do right away. Of course it’s good to keep growing and learning and progressing. But it’s just as important to pause and reflect on your successes. You’ll feel a sense of gratitude, contentment, pride, and motivation to keep pushing forward. If not, it will be a never-ending rat-race that will sap your energy.
So take a moment and reflect on how you showed up and showed out. I bet you killed the game. Now I bet you’re beaming with pride.