Tuesdays are special not only because of Tuesday Tasks, but because in our home the day after Monday is called Nana Tuesday. My dad spends morning till late evening, hanging out with the kids while I utilize every minute of this God-given day to get things done.
There are moments when I emerge from my studio for a much-needed water refill, or bite to eat. Sometimes I go out and run errands and when I return, there’s a pause where I catch my breath before heading to my studio again. In those moments, I get to share some time with my dad and sometimes, over the din of the children, we exchange really great ideas.
Last week, he asked me, “So how does one know when they are doing what they are meant to be doing?” For once, I didn’t really have an answer, other then, “Well, you just know.”
Since Tuesday, I have been thinking a lot about his question. I had talked about it way back in this post. I believe we all have a reaction to our Truth. My reaction is obvious and physical. I tear up when something touches my soul – whether it’s a beautiful poem, the lyrics or the melody of a song, a story about someone doing something nice for another person. And when I talk about things that are really important to me on a soul level, I shake. Yup, I get the shakes like as if suddenly the temperature plummeted in the room and I’m caught in my summer dress. It’s not quite the same feeling as feeling cold, though. I’m just shaking. Blankets don’t help. The shakes don’t last long but they are noticeable and I have made that connection.
Am I just emotional? I mean, doesn’t everyone get teary-eyed at a really great humanitarian story? (You can answer that, if you want…I really am curious).
Another great place to “look” when you are trying to remember your purpose/passion is your childhood. Here are some more clues from my childhood that tell you more about me, the artist and the humanitarian.
- In my spare time, I wrote short stories, song lyrics and journalled.
- I also read a lot.
- One of my earliest book orders in elementary school was a book about Nelson Mandela.
- I gravitated to autobiographies of leaders in social change: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi and read them all in junior high school.
- One of my favourite classes was band; playing in a band concert was a rush for me – being a part of an ensemble that made music was awesome and so was being on stage.
- I sang non-stop and even dreamed of being on Star Search.
- I took flute lessons shortly after high school – just for fun.
- In gr. 9 socials studies, I had to write and read a piece from the point of view of a First Nations girl – the theme was something along the lines of the injustices this group has faced – and I had a lump in my throat the whole time I was reading. I had to fight back tears and then the teacher had to suggest I get a drink of water after I read. I was shaking.
- I wrote a letter to the founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation after I heard about this organization aimed at ending youth violence, asking what I could do to help. I was 15.
I could sit here all morning and find more examples but I don’t need them. If you look at the young people you know, and just pay attention to what they do willingly in their spare time or talk about excitedly or react to emotionally, you will find their clues.
What about yours? What are your clues? Do you have to look back very far or do you have an inkling? (I’m logging these questions as Writing Prompts.) Remember, we’re not talking about any deep, dark secrets here. Our passions are not elusive mysteries. They are very simply the things we are drawn to that make us feel happy. (From my points above, you can easily see that some of the things that make me happy are the arts and social change. There are others but these are top of the list.)
Another gauge for me is the amount of pull-me-out-of-a-slump power something has. For example, I told you about a night when I was drowning in my own anger near the end of my last pregnancy. I had to turn my thoughts around quickly and sharply enough to calm my body down. What was it that worked? Thinking about Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea and his projects. Nothing else would have done the trick.
What are your thoughts and experiences around this idea of knowing your passion?