Growing up, I was very clear on what I wanted to do with my life. My friends and I used to talk about the dreams we had for ourselves. Over the long weekend, I thought about this a lot, and reflected on some of the heavy situations that we’ve all had to endure. There have been many divorces, children to raise and several traumas, which none of us could have predicted, but… such as life. I know we all wanted to be mothers, so mothers we became, but what about all the other dreams we had?
So often we manage to overcome our greatest obstacles, yet we leave behind the desire of our hearts along the way. What if these obstacles were placed before us as guiding posts toward our goals, rather than being forks in the road to throw us off course? Personally, overcoming my addiction brought me closer to my genuine self, which has been a great reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I knew as a child that I was a writer. Nothing has changed. Through my recovery I’ve simply been directed in a specific direction with my writing. Where I was once confused about what I should write about, now I am sure of myself. I’m more refined, and my writing is more organic. I don’t have to fight with my pen, or struggle with the keys every morning because I know which way I’m headed.
When I was a child, it occurred to me that all the animals were genuinely playing out their specific role here on earth, and each role balanced out the overall ecosystem of the planet. The lion never acts like a bear and an eagle never flocks around the ground like a chicken. It’s very clear that mother nature is incredibly balanced, and each creature is true to their specific purpose. Yet the humans seem to be extremely unclear about their role here. The difference between the humans and the animals is that we have egos, and we also live in a monetary system that keeps many of us in survival mode. Rather than thriving in our purpose here, most of us are struggling to stay above water. If we are strong enough, we become competitors with the other humans, and if greed has got the best of us, we take as much as we can without concern of the balance of the planet. Then there are some of us who don’t care at all. We are lazy and consumed with remaining entertained, instead of serving a purpose while we are here. And while most of us are concerned with the state of the world, we continue to consume, compete and survive.
I used to have this fantasy that everyone who worked nine-to-five jobs would just STOP all at once, and walk away from their offices. I imagined the insurance adjuster loosening his tie and picking up his dusty guitar, and the CEO of an ad agency kicking off her heels and dancing along the street. We leave behind our dreams to pay our bills, but at the end of our lives, how many of us regret not writing that book, or traveling the world with a symphony? We are basically artists playing the roles of robots. It would be so cool if everyone everyone would STOP in the tracks of their busy careers – all at once – and pick up where they left their childhood dreams. This has always been a fantasy of mine, but I can only live out my own dream. I can’t force anyone else to live out theirs.
I’ve had friends come up to me and say, “Oh my gosh, you’re really doing it. You’re writing books, and you moved away from our hometown.” It occurs to me that this is not a common thing, and it strikes me as silly. “Of course. What else would I be doing?” It’s not an easy life I’m living, and I don’t have a lot of things my friends have, but I am happy. I’m fulfilled. If I died tomorrow, I could honestly say that I have no regrets. Even if I haven’t traveled the world yet, I’m well on my way, so I can’t say that I didn’t try. I’m always trying to get where I’m going. Even my career has eased up enough to allow me to follow the path of my dreams. I can wear jeans to work. I don’t get in trouble if I’m late, and if I have to leave early – or take a day off – no problem. This is the life I’ve created because I’m following my own innate purpose. If I would have bought into a belief that it was too late for me, or my addiction got the best of me, or I’ve got children to raise so my life needs to be placed on hold, or I have to keep up with my friends, or I can’t move away from my family… I would be working a corporate job, and miserable. That just isn’t me. Maybe that’s for some people, but I’m very clear that I’m supposed to be writing.
I guess the point I’m trying to make, is that if you follow the path of your dreams, the world will open up for you. It truly will. You may not own the largest TV, or have the nicest car. You may not get to own a home, but you will feel completely fulfilled and mother nature will do her part and provide exactly what you need, at the exact right time. It’s a little bit like free-falling and trusting that a parachute will be provided, but once you realize that you ARE the parachute, the fear and doubt will vanish.
This is a lot to take in, but the bottom line is that there is a natural balance that occurs when each of us serves our innate purpose in life. It may seem impossible, or too late, but that is just a lie we tell ourselves as an excuse to remain comfortable. I tend to think about the day I die. I realize that there will come a day when I look back and review what I’ve done here while I was alive. If what I’m doing right now, doesn’t add up to living out my role here and serving my purpose (or living out my dreams), then I chuck it aside. It’s real easy to see the distractions when you are clear about your purpose. The giraffe doesn’t end up in Antarctica due to a hook up with the penguin. It just doesn’t happen because nature knows it’s role. We all came here with an innate desire to be something. Stick with that. Find your way back if you’ve gotten lost. Ditch the water bird, and get back in your African groove. That’s all I’m sayin.’