Passion, Focus and Courage

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“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” – Yo-Yo Ma

Some time ago, I was grappling with focus, as in trying to focus on one thing I loved, instead of many. You see I have many “loves” or passions, that all pull me in their own respective directions. Unlike my neighbour who says she has no interests outside family and work, I have an encyclopaedia of delicious creative underlings all vying for my attention, from counselling and mentoring to writing, sewing, photography, gardening, the list goes on and on.

So how to focus and do “that one thing”?  I recalled some advice from a clever coach who asked his students to try and identify what I call the “time munchers”.  He used sensible words like, “identify those activities , those pursuits, where time seems to stand still and yet so much time has passed without you realising it”. I have to admit that all my interests are time munchers but there is one that seems to call more loudly than the rest and it is writing.

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When I’m doing the dishes and staring blankly at the foaming water, dialogue forms in my head, as though a secret little stash of ideas just sits, waiting to hitch a ride on a soapy bubble and float it up into my “head-o-sphere”. Or when I’m making soup, in a queue at the supermarket, or sweeping a floor. Ideas emerge from the ether with little effort or even a request on my part. And so, many hours are happily munched away as my fingers transmit the offerings into shapely things on a screen. And then they wait, and wait, and wait in cyber-land until I channel a brave archetype, and realise that it’s ok to share these musings. You see I, like many writers I suffer with the “good enough syndrome” – that debilitating state of mind that judges and critiques and compares and never seems to be satisfied.

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So, to cure this syndrome, I had to remind myself that anyone can call themselves a writer, there aren’t any prerequisites, no forms to fill in, no DNA checks required – you call yourself a writer because you love to write. I’m also a photographer and a crocheter because these are the things I do. I may not have a PhD in any of my interests but I make no claims to be an expert, simply a lover of creative pursuits. Creativity is like manna from heaven, a golden faucet allowing inspiration to flow and inspire, a poultice for a wounded heart or a frazzled mind.

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Twice today I’ve munched away my time doing something I love, and I sincerely hope you will too. Take courage and take the first step towards doing something that helps you jump on that space-time continuum, where you disappear into the “time munching” field of creation. Taking the bold step to follow creative urges, particularly when we are newbies, does take courage but each time you make a new beginning, you will strengthen your courage to step into the unknown, after all, despite all our cleverness, no one knows what tomorrow holds.

So to help you make a start in following your passion, I shall leave you with these beautiful words, from a truly expert wordsmith, the late and great mystic John O’Donahue, from his book “Benedictus”. John truly understood the divine act of creation and that we have to simply trust our own hearts and intuition, make a start and follow that which is already here.

“Indeed, our very life here depends directly on continuous acts of beginning; but these beginnings are out of our hands; they decided themselves. Beginning precedes us, creates us and constantly takes us to new levels and places and people. There is nothing to fear in the act of beginning. More often than not, it knows the journey ahead better than we ever could.”

So what is your passion?  Why not take one small step towards it today.

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Lunar Lessons in Time

Image courtesy: mnn.com
Image courtesy: mnn.com

The healing and rejuvinating process of sleep had been evading me this past week, possibly a cosmic side-effect of an ever growing moon. The night prior to the full moon, sleep finally descended upon me, but rather than sleep in, I was woken up by a brilliant silvery light that invaded my darkened room. I knew it was the moon enticing  me to join her, but at 5am, after being so sleep deprived, my brain protested. However, for a change, I obediently followed my intuition. I had a feeling that there was something important in this call to action.  With fluffy robe and bleary eyes, I walked towards my bright companion. For a moment I closed my eyes and bathed in the light, but it wasn’t the light I was called to witness, it was the passing of time.

Image Courtesy: donsmithblog.com
Image Courtesy: donsmithblog.com

You see, the moon was poised just above a small mountain near my home and as I stood watching, I could see for the first time, her relatively rapid movement as she made her way back down into the lingering hours of darkness and her light slowly dissolving from view.  With the stillness of the mountain as a marker, I had a sense of her movement which I hadn’t noticed before. When I occasionally glanced up at the moon, she appeared to be part of a magnificent still life, a painting of cosmic beauty, but with the picturesque mountain quietly standing its ground, I suddenly realised how quickly the moon moved across the sky and equally, how quickly her departure marked the end of yet another 12 hours, never to return.

Image courtesy: creationscienchalloffame.org
Image courtesy: creationscienchalloffame.org

I realised that this brilliant celestial body moved at the same pace she always has, ever since her creation, with a rhythmic and steady pace, the way that all cosmic bodies rotate and girate to the grand universal clock.  This bella Luna suddenly gave me a breathtakingly accurate picture of time.  I’d never stood long enough to watch day or night sky, otherwise I would have seen this magnificent procession, as it circled the planet with unbridled determination years ago.

Image courtesy: inspirably.com
Image courtesy: inspirably.com

For the first time, I saw our earth’s clock ticking and with it, my own time signature.  Suddenly I was hit with the realisation that time really waits for no one, the sun will rise and set, as will the moon, each day cascading into the next, an ever flowing river of time that cannot be halted.

The Lesson?  If there something to be done, don’t dwell on it, just do it. If there is something that ails you, try to find a solution and solve your dilemma so that you can get back into life and do the things make your heart smile.

Image courtesy: elmesky.com
Image courtesy: elmesky.com

As I write this now, the sun is now setting over the same picturesque mountain. It’s fiery glow was piercing my eyes as I began this piece and now as I conclude, it has already dropped into the awaiting arms of the night sky. My little mountain has become my new time marker. Who needs a watch when you have the heavenly sky?  So with time literally marching along, will I get that walk in that I promised myself, or do that creative course I keep putting off with lame excuses, or call my mother before she calls me again?  Will I do these things before the heavenly bodies settle too many more times behind that mountain?

Image courtesy: aquotes.net
Image courtesy: aquotes.net