What are you doing here…? What would you rather be doing, and why aren’t you doing it now?
Until the last ten years or so, I couldn’t really relate to these questions.
I’m one of the lucky ones. For most of my life, I’ve made my living doing what I love. For many years, I performed professionally in musical theatre, then gradually moved into choreographing. Eventually, I began teaching dance. I was also a dance critic for more than a decade. For a while, I was performing, choreographing, teaching, and writing all at the same time, going from early morning til late at night—and loving every minute. Later, I started my own business, designing and selling my own line of eco-friendly linen and hemp clothing.
Then life happened. My husband and I divorced, money got tight, and suddenly I had to get a “day job”. Although I was grateful for the work and the income it provided, every day that I had to go to work and be somebody that I really wasn’t chipped away at my soul a little. I was used to my life and work having meaning, even if it was only to bring a little beauty and joy into people’s lives. I was proud to have touched so many lives through dance, especially those of my students. I was glad to have educated my customers about the ecological benefits of hemp. So it was a big change to go into a job day after day and not feel that I was having some sort of positive and meaningful—and direct—impact on the world.
But I believe that everything we experience contributes to who we are and helps us on our journey, wherever our path may lead us. I believe that nothing we encounter is wasted. The day jobs I’ve had these last few years have served their purpose. My divorce was extremely difficult for me, both emotionally and financially, and my steady-income day jobs have allowed me to get back on my feet and get established in my new hometown, to buy my wonderful little cottage, to heal. At the end of the day, though, doing a day job just because it’s “safe” isn’t being true to who I am, and if I’m not doing that, then I’m not giving my best to the world. So it’s time to reconnect with my passion and find a way to make a difference again.
At the moment, I’m standing with one foot on each bank of the river—working part-time at a day job and part-time doing something I love, teaching dance. I’d like to work my way back to making part of my living writing, and this blog is a step in that direction. And I want to get back to designing…only this time, I’d like to create things for the home using recycled materials—like the kitchen island I built a few years ago from wood that I bought for $12 at the Habitat Re-Store. I haven’t quite figured out the particulars, though…so, for now, straddling the river is okay. It’s progress, and it’s giving me time to get a little clearer on exactly what I want to do.
So…I’m spending a lot of time these days thinking about the quote above. And I’m working to find my way back to that place of trust I used to live from (and took for granted), the trust that I would be carried along my path by the momentum of my desires. It always used to work that way for me—almost magically—but somewhere along the way, I lost touch with that knowing, that complete confidence that I would, in fact, be led—that I had always been led—by what I deeply desired.
I really do believe it’s all about the journey, and if the journey is slow and winding and even halting at times, perhaps that’s exactly what’s needed, as frustrating as it might be in the moment. It’s a lesson I’m still learning.
Sometimes, there’s nothing to be done, no action to take. At those times, all you can do is sit with the questions and wait for the answers to appear.
What would you rather be doing…?