“I was starting to wonder if I was ready to be a writer, not someone who won prizes, got published and was given the time and space to work, but someone who wrote as a course of life. Maybe writing wouldn’t have any rewards. Maybe the salvation I would gain through work would only be emotional and intellectual. Wouldn’t that be enough, to be a waitress who found an hour or two hidden in every day to write?” – Ann Patchett
When I first saw the quote above by Ann Patchett, I felt nearly knocked to the ground by its starkness and humility. At a young age, she decided that she was a Writer — even if she never published a book in her life, even if she never got paid for her work. She was so enamored with writing that she would have been satisfied to live and die as a waitress just for the sheer joy she found that hour or two a day immersed in her art.
How many of us can truly say that about our passions? Do we do them because we deeply love them and don’t care about future recognition or income? Or do we pludge through the Daily Grind and lament that we don’t have time to do these things, vaguely hoping that Someday the time will clear itself?
There is a deep and sorrowful resignation permeating our society – a grey hypnosis where people find themselves identifying with ideas of lack and saying things like “Well, you can’t have everything,” or “They’ll find out soon enough what the world is really like.”
There’s a corresponding idea that at a certain age, our passions need to be relegated to a proper time and place – that there’s no room in the Real World for whimsical dreams and those activities that we do out of sheer joy and love. The admittedly-important necessity of having an income has taken precedence over every square inch of our lives, as if we’ve spent over twenty years jumping through educational hoops so we can fulfill a rigid and linear destiny and ignore all the rest.
Think about a hobby you have that tickles your soul. When is the last time you actually integrated this into your day?
Many people say they are writers but haven’t picked up a pen in months or years. If writing is what helps you access that joyful place in your soul, the world needs your writing – even if you never get paid for it, even if your words only ever circulate to the people nearest you. The world needs your singing, your handicrafts, your dancing, your nutritional coaching – whatever it is that makes your own heart dance.
Postponing our dreams is the cruelest form of self-sabotage. Life is excruciatingly short, and plenty of moments are already frittered away by Daily Life – if we don’t take the time now to do the things that make us happy, when else is there?
Ann Patchett, working within the consciousness of doing what she loved even if she never gained recognition for it, is now a famous American author. It is absolutely possible to get paid to do the things we love, but Someday wasn’t going to sneak up on Ann Patchett and shine its magical light and make her a famous author if she never bothered to pick up a pen.
Energies shift when we make a commitment to doing the things we love. Even if we can only find fifteen minutes in our week to dust off the ukulele, to quaveringly write our Great American Novel, to brainstorm what our future coffeeshop will look like, these moments align our minds with a higher consciousness that can present us with boundless opportunities if only we tune in and give it a chance.
So unplug your television, get off of facebook, and stop sitting around with friends every night. Pick up your instrument or your paintbrush or your pen, dust off your old scrapbooking supplies or knitting needles or hula hoop, put on your dingy ballet leotard, and spend ten minutes tonight reconnecting with what makes your heart float.
Write now. Dream now. Create that innovative culinary concoction now – even if it doesn’t make you famous, even if you have to take years of small microsteps to get to the point where a project is complete. Stop worrying about whether you’re destined to make money from these passions and launch into them fearlessly from a space of joy and abandon.
When we begin living in the flow of what we adore, our lives glow with a sense of purpose and synchronicities unfold before us. Let’s begin now.