Thursday, August 8, 2013

Your element

At long last. I hope I've not hyped this too much but I did put a lot of thought into these words. I hope you enjoy it and maybe even relate a bit :). Here's to finding our joy. 

So I've been going through a lot of change lately. Some would probably characterize it as "sad" or "unfortunate" and for a long time, I probably thought the same. And, let's be honest, some parts of it have been really sad and hard and scary and frustrating; but now that I am coming out on the other side and the dust is settling, I am truly and wholeheartedly looking at this last year of chaos as the blessing that it has been; I am emerging a wiser, better adjusted and less anxious version of myself. And I like that......a lot.

During this time (and, let's be honest, it's not exactly over) I've been thinking a lot about my years up until this point (looking back at my past has never been my strong suit) and I've been reflecting quite a bit on the transitions into adulthood, how life doesn't turn out exactly how you think it will and how, in the end, as long as you find your element, your joy, that is all a-okay. 

I avoided the transition to adulthood for as long as I could. Really I did. I traveled for many years after college visiting and living in some far, and then farther, places of the world.  Driven by a sense of adventure and family history (I come from a long line of inquisitive vagabonds), I was immensely curious about the world and it was an exciting time in my life filled with seemingly endless possibility.  Looking back at all that movement now, I recognize that while it came from a place deep inside me that loves culture, adventure and experience, it also stemmed from a real resistance to settling down. Getting a job, being responsible, stable, and having to deal with some of the genuine challenges that come from modern life was something that frightened me in a real way. So that escape route worked pretty well for a long time until after many years of being out of my culture, away from my family and friends, I decided it was time to come home. I missed my people.

So I came back, settled down, got a(nother) degree, got a job and for a long time it was all of the things that I feared it would be: monotonous, superficial, claustrophobic. I had many breakdowns where I looked to move again, looked for another career, state, city... the list goes on. But then I started to settle more, find my rhythm, but I still had an itch. Something still wasn't right.

A couple weeks ago, I was listening to NPR a little later than normal and there was a interview with Sir Ken Robinson on the Commonwealth Club. Usually when NPR is on in my kitchen, I am doing something else and half-way listening; but as soon as I heard this "Sir Ken" start to talk (he really does go by Sir, he's British!), I sat down and just listened .....for 60 min straight. 

The gist of his message was simple. Find you talents = do what you love = be happy. Easy right? We all know how HARD it can be to find a career (ney calling!) you are passionate about, especially one that will pay the bills.  But as I sat there listening, I felt a real momentum starting to build around finally putting the effort and energy taking this concept out of my head and putting it into motion. 

We all spend so much of our time (and subsequently our lives) at work; so it makes sense that our time and energy  go into something we love. And as Sir Ken points out so eloquently, it is a shame that most of us don't do that. But we can try. And when it's all said and done, at least we can say we tried to find our gifts and joy to offer up.  Since it is as much a gift to others as it is yourself. 

So part of being back in this space is starting to own, further discover and then refine what my own element is. I feel it coming closer but getting there still feels far and, god knows, it seems hard.  But looking back on my last year of chaos, one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt, is that it's worth it to work on the hard stuff as they end up  being what saves you. 

So among many things in the coming months, I plan to read this book and this one and see what I find. I also plan to change this space and start the shop!!! But what I also plan to do is keep grounded, work hard, be humble and grateful for the things I do have. Discovering our dreams and passions are really only possible with the love and support in your current situation. Being able to achieve anything of significance means, in a certain sense, that we do not hold on to a particular version of what it might look like; allowing it to unfold moment by moment. Because allowing the joy of the present to manifest is where all the magic always happens anyway. 

So, I wonder, have you found your element?

Bottom and Top Photos via Indulge-in-reveries
Middle via Pinterest

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