I encountered the quote above the other day while surfing around on You Tube.* I immediately fell in love with it. Gabrielle was talking about not being afraid to listen for your calling and then doing everything you can to pursue it. I loved it because I always need a good kick in the butt reminder and I also loved that the quote uses dance as metaphor. For a future blog entry, I'm going to apply the quote to dancing itself, but for now I'll stick to life purpose.
Lately I've been getting a lot of people who, upon finding out what I do for a living, comment on how great it is that I get to do what I love. I agree. I am absolutely in love with my life right now.
The thing is, I also get the sense that some of the people congratulating me, don't think they could do the same for themselves. There is often this implication that I'm somehow braver, crazier, luckier, younger, older, fill-in-the-blank comparative.
None of that is true.
Everyone has a reason and a purpose in this life on this planet. Deep down most people have an inkling about what their purpose is, but many shy away from it, thinking it's too scary, risky, or impractical to do. Worse, they think it's selfish.
Anyone who has known me for a long time knows that I used to be terrified of the idea of dropping everything else and just doing my art for a living. I was surrounded by people who were great examples, who were in love with their lives, and I too would say that they were somehow braver, crazier, luckier, younger, older, fill-in-the-blank comparative.
Comparisons are what keep us stuck. What keeps us going and truly in tune with our life's purpose is to remember that we are all the same and we all deserve happiness and therefore we are all capable of pursuing and achieving that same happiness. We just need to remember that we each have our own path to get there and so we can't compare our path to someone else's. If it seems it took us longer, who cares? That was our path. Who knows what the speedier person went through to get to their destination so quickly? That was their path.
I didn't really become a Flamenco soloist until I was in my 30s, long after most other types of dancers have retired (one of the reasons I love Flamenco is that it actually values the life experience of the dancer). I finally got over the "too old" excuse because I realized everything else I was doing was taking energy from me, rather than feeding it to me. I felt most nourished when I danced. That nourished feeling is the feeling of being happily alive.
And as for being selfish, forget that. I have always been grateful for seeing a beautiful piece of art or having a teacher share their experience with me. It is more selfish to not answer a calling that would inspire others.
So what makes you feel happily alive? Is it being a writer or an artist, being a mom or a dad, being successful at business? Whatever it is that gives you energy, focus on that and "dive in fully".