“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”
– Howard Thurman
I wrote the following late last night (Thursday 17th Sept) :
Pretty sure I’ve posted these words online somewhere, if not on here, before. But I have been struck by a strong feeling right now how true this really is. I am not long back from working at an event for UGG doing live illustrations and I feel so happy that it went so well. I also feel so blessed that I get to do something for a living that makes me so happy. It doesn’t all the time… and that is why I felt the need to share this, because sometimes, including earlier today, I can be quite negative, and generally was not feeling too hyped about anything. This in itself is frustrating, but I know having ups and downs is just part of life, and I know everyone feels like this sometimes. I can’t help but think that if you are creative the highs and lows are possibly more extreme….? It just feels near impossible to snap out of it at times. And other times I can’t help but feel over the moon, and it feels like nothing can alter that state… but it always ends at some point.
I think part of the reason it frustrates me is because everything I am trying to learn about meditating and Buddhism is about maintaining, or trying to maintain, a steady, contented balance most of the time… without the rollercoaster. I think I need to accept that if you are creative, this is the nature of it, the nature of us, and maybe it is something I have to embrace. I just wish I could bottle the way I feel right now, and use it all the times when I’m not feeling so optimistic and grateful and generally have lots of energy. I try and remind myself of the times when I feel so happy and elated when I am not feeling so….but it can be so hard to make yourself feel something when you just can’t pick up the energy – I did write a previous post about things that I think can help lift you out of this way here. My point to all this is, tonight I was reminded that I really do come alive when I get to do something I really love. I was in my element, and any nerves I felt prior to it quickly vanished when I realised this is where I excel. There was loud music on all night. There was lots of people there. And I love meeting new people. And most importantly, I illustrated a LOT of people, mainly girls it has to be said. This being one of my favourite things to do, especially from real life people (as supposed to a photograph). And every time they seemed so delighted with the illustration I did of them, which just continued to boost this high. I know I am extremely lucky to get paid for it on top of all that. Afterwards I felt so pleased, and a tad relieved, that it had gone so well, and I felt so full of energy, which makes it so much easier to pass that energy on, to be grateful for everything and everyone in my life, to smile at strangers, and to generally be able to pass on joy, happiness. I really think when you smile the world smiles with you, but sometimes it feels so hard to be that way, even if you do know it is for the best. So, my probably long winded way of saying it… but I want to pass on this energy, this enthusiasm I feel right now. I want everyone to feel like this, because it is true, if you feel alive, invigorated by something, it is inevitable that you will pass on that feeling, you will inspire people, make friends, people will fall in love with you, you will exude energy. And this therefore can only be a positive thing for you, and via the ripple effect, for the entire world.
So please, if you can, try and find whatever it is that makes you come *alive. I am not telling everyone to quit their jobs, (although I would support that decision if you dread your job every day….) but even if it is something you can do in the evenings, or weekends, or volunteer, or online. It can be a small thing, or a collection of things. And if you don’t know what makes you come alive, keep looking, keep looking and try and give yourself proper space, as in head space, to figure out what makes sense for you. What wakes you up?
Pema Chodron, who I have mentioned before and will no doubt mention again, writes a lot about finding, discovering, (and making space to do so) what wakes you up and what makes you fall asleep.
“We have basic energy coursing through us. Sometimes it manifests as brilliance and sometimes it manifests as confusion. Because we are decent, basically good people, we ourselves can sort out what to accept and what to reject. We can discern what will make us complete, sane grown-up people, and what – if we are too involved in it – will keep us children forever. This is the process of making friends with ourselves and with our world. It involves not just the parts we like, but the whole picture, because it all has a lot to teach us.”
– Pema Chondron – ‘the wisdom of no escape’
I also want to add that what I did tonight was something out of my comfort zone as I have never done anything before where I am actually illustrating live at an event, and for a big company who of course I want to impress and don’t want to let down etc… so needless to say, the pressure was on, and the pressure to create very quick illustrations of lots of people non stop for 3 hours… but like I said, I was in my element. I barely had a chance to look around so I almost had no option but to focus, keep my head in the game and do my best… sink or swim. So my point is, another invaluable feeling is when you are scared, or nervous or anxious about something, and part of you would rather turn back and just stay comfortable, just stay at home and not do that thing that scares you. But what if that thing that scares you goes really well and you not only feel *exhilarated that it has gone well, but you are also filled with more courage and confidence to know that you pushed yourself and you succeeded. And therefore next time maybe it will become easier to push yourself further out of your comfort zone.
And one final point, I had a hectic day all day prior to this event, and nowhere near enough sleep last night, yet I kept going (and trust me I NEED my sleep). And I know we all need sleep and food to keep us going, to sustain us and give us energy, and there is no way I could function with little sleep every day, as that way you are effectively running on adrenaline, and that is not healthy. However, what this did make me realise, is that when you do something that wakes you up, that *invigorates you, in some ways this can feed you far more than anything else could, more than food or sleep.
Phew, as usual I did not intend for this to be so long, so if you read the whole thing – thank you! I promise I did try and edit it down, but that never has been one of my strong points…..
And on a side note, I will try and write a bit about/ share pictures from the actual UGG event… It is on my, permanently long, list of things to do…
1. To enliven; invigorate; stimulate
1.Give strength or energy to
2. alert and active; animated.