Like many I imagine, growing up, I harbored a vision for my future that warmed and enlivened my spirit whenever I contemplated it. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do or be back then, but by my teens, I knew that I wanted to do something related to the arts. But in the way that we often do what we think we should do and get programmed to lean into what we should want, the life that I wound up creating for myself turned out being a very far cry from the dream I’d held in my heart. Not that I blame myself. Because hey, the pathways that led towards that vision looked scary as hell. And confusing. None of the paths that led in the direction of the dreams I held had the appearance of security (which in so many ways is almost life’s holy grail), and absolutely no sense of predictability (which to me only translated as a greater likelihood of failure). Also, quite honestly, these paths required a level of confidence from me that I simply did not have. On top of which, there was absolutely no one around me, no one I knew who was heading in similar directions. So, I took the path of least resistance instead. And I settled for making do with the preset framework for life that I was given– college, job, mortgage, marriage, kids, retirement. In other words, the present-day template for living life. And rather than cultivating my own creativity, I focused mostly on being a lover and consumer of it instead. Until somewhere along the line, I realized that satisfaction, joy, and purpose had completely disappeared from my daily life.
Totally unmotivated about continuing on my present course, especially since so far, all it had yielded was an okay job, with barely decent pay, I began to allow myself to listen to that soft voice buried deep inside that knew my life could be different, that knew I could create something better. Even if my logical mind didn’t quite believe it. Eventually, as I gave myself permission to take action on what my soul was urging me to do, my life began to change. And somewhere along the line, as I began to learn that the dreams I hold in my heart have a divine purpose to them, my courage grew. Actively listening to that soft voice within me, one step at a time, I’ve placed myself on a path that feels more like the me I’ve always wanted to become. And as my life continues to change, as I change, I am beginning to experience how heeding my soul’s desires will be the very thing that will allow me to unfold into more of who I really am. And slowly, over time, in the midst of all of life’s inevitable ups and downs, the satisfaction, joy, and purpose I’d envisioned and longed for, is not only beginning to become a part of my life, but the foundation on which it is based.
*Freedom feels damn good, but it came with the cost of losing things I thought mattered. And while the process has not been without its pains, it has been so very worth it because not only have I gained the sense of freedom my soul was longing for, but a deep respect for my own power and the unfolding of gifts and strengths I didn’t even know I had.
*It’s so much easier to say no to treats and luxuries when my day to day life has a rhythm that feels good to me, that feels natural, allows me to thrive and experience a sense of freedom.
*In the midst of chaos and confusion, in quiet and stillness, God speaks the wisdom I need to feel safe and okay in the present moment. The more chaos and confusion, the more I need stillness and quiet.
*Releasing judgement about the challenges and obstacles in my path and doubling down on faith allows blessings to arrive from the most unexpected places.
*Staying connected to what or who nurtures my sense of possibility or illuminates the way forward in some way is vital; like the sunlight energizing and growing our earth. If I can’t access this in real life, then I must do so virtually.
*Family and friends don’t owe me support and encouragement. And not getting it is absolutely no reason to doubt myself. Besides, one or two believing mirrors that I trust and admire is really all I need.
*It’s okay that I may not be able to see clearly the way ahead, as long as I remain deeply aware of what my soul really needs. Stay in tune with what makes me feel authentic, purposeful, connected to God, and continue to navigate in that direction.
*There is no failure – only learning opportunities framed in setbacks and sidesteps. When living and growing on your own terms, there are only learning experiences, the concept of failure is a judgment that undervalues learning and discounts the wisdom only experience can provide.
*Fear and uncertainty have become my companions on this journey. They simply go along with living this life I’m creating on my own terms. And so, my challenge cannot at all be about avoiding fear and uncertainty, as I’d become accustomed to doing in my earlier years, but how best to get along with them. It’s all about trying to understand and appreciate what their presence means in my life.
Stuff that is sparking resonance, excitement or wonder for me right now….
Artist, Cheyenne Sookoo
The idea of PaperGraphics
Eggplant in Asian Sauce (my own improvised creation)