Sunday, July 11, 2010

What Makes You Come Alive

A friend of mine e-mailed a quote by Howard Thurman which has been rattling around in my mind for the last few days. It says, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

I think about this quote in terms of my writing; I test it and see if it stands true, and I find that it does. The path that brings us to what makes us come alive can be straight and simple, as in the child who dreams of being a fireman and grows up to become one, or it can be winding and complicated, with many stops along the way to finding our dreams and having the courage to pursue them with reckless abandon.

Before this year I dreamed of writing and working in film, but it was never as close to being a reality as it is now. I know it may still be a long and circuitous road. By no means is my dream realized, but I am moving, a little every day, in the direction I want to be going in, and there is a deep satisfaction imbedded in that.

Different things provide meaning at different times in our lives. I loved many of the jobs I held at various points in my career to this point, and I felt satisfied with the progression I was making in my HR/Communication field. I think progression is the key. Moving forward and not sitting still. Sometimes the progress is painstakingly slow, but it must be celebrated as progress, for it's every inch we gain that helps move us toward our goal.

I know that goals are meant to change and adapt, based on our age and our life circumstances. If we only had one goal, our life would be very sad when we accomplished it. We all have multiple plans happening at any one time, which keeps us from the twin enemies of boredom and unfulfillment.

Starting on one road and moving to another is all part of our life experience. To quote the philosopher Forrest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get." I like that mix of the unexpected with the hoped-for and planned. Where they meet we find fulfillment and joy, and layers of meaning that our lives are missing before we find what makes us come alive in this moment and season we are living in.

An article I wrote on the performance art of silent acting and mummers came out recently in UPPERCASE Magazine, a visual culture publication which is distributed worldwide. It's only available in print, but the website gives some idea as to how interesting the quarterly magazine is. This is my biggest credit to date, since it is international and also in print form where so much of writing is moving solely to an online version. I'm grateful to my film class professor for pulling my student papers out of the crowd and asking if I wanted to write for her magazine. My answer was an enthusiastic, "Yes!" and I'm so grateful for the opportunity.

1 comment:

  1. I like your suggestion of using the Thurman quote as a litmus test for whether we're really doing what we should/want to be doing. When I find myself questioning why I'm going back to school with two kids, I come back to that - writing is what makes me feel alive. :)