Follow What Lights You Up
I was never one with a strong creative passion. I would hear others say that they’ve always known what they wanted to do since they can remember. If they love music, for instance, the very moment they picked up their first guitar was when they just knew, KNEW that they’d be a musician one day. They would play every chance they had; all day, late at night, and haven’t stopped since. You hear these stories a lot and for people like me who didn’t find their “thing” at a young age, it could be disheartening. But I think that we all had things we loved as kids. If we look back on our childhood years, there was at least one thing (or many) that we loved to do. It’s just that many of us were discouraged—by well-meaning adults or society—to not pursue these things for one reason or another.
I do recall being very drawn to art at around age 4. I loved drawing and it just came naturally to me. In Kindergarten, I made a poster of children forming a semicircle around the Earth and my teacher hung it up for our music show, “We Are the World”. That was one of my fondest memories and I smile at the fact that many years later, I’m back to drawing children and pairing them with uplifting messages. But it took me a while to get back to art. Somewhere along the way, I had completely tucked it away.
The funny thing about our passion, though, is that it never leaves us alone. We feel it as a tugging as we’re going about in your “safe” careers. We feel it in those quiet moments as a whisper that says “there’s something more.” We’ll notice a palpable sense of incompleteness, that something’s missing but can’t quite put our finger on it. But our passion eventually works its way back to us. When we decide to take that first step into the lives we were meant for, we will see a small flicker of light to show us the way.
For me, that flicker of light came in many ways. It came in the form of a dream where I saw myself blissfully painting away. When I woke up that morning, I set out to buy my first set of paint and brushes. It came when I was driving by an art studio and I found myself with the sudden desire to sign up for a class. It came as ideas and visions that I had while showering, while driving, or after a good yoga session—when my mind was quiet, when I was open. These inner urges were so strong and synchronistic, I just knew I had to follow them.
It’s not always easy to follow our light. Many of us have obligations, day jobs, kids, or jam-packed schedules and we’re merely trying to make it through the day. I have two kids under 5 and I run a design business (my day job) so I know what it’s like to be strapped for time. But I also know that following my light, my inner guidance, is imperative for my soul’s health.
We can do the smallest of things like taking 10 minutes a day to do what feels good. It could just be drawing a single sketch or reading a few pages of your favorite book. It could be singing out loud while driving to work or cooking your favorite meal. It could be stopping by an antique store on your way home. It could be as simple as scrolling through Pinterest to see what catches your eye. It’s taking a brief moment during our busy lives to just breathe and be truly ourselves, to be delighted. Children do this all the time; they just follow their curiosity from moment to moment. Everything they do is about bringing themselves pleasure. So for 10 minutes each day, we can be childlike.
And when we venture down this path, the Universe recognizes that we’re trying to get back to our true selves and it will rush in to help. It will throw us more clues, more ideas and more “aha” moments. It will open doors and even bring people to us who will play important roles in helping us find that thing we’ve longed for.
It takes a lot of work and perseverance as we hone our skills, face our fears, put ourselves out there, fall down, and get up again. But to me, there’s nothing that’s worth denying our own passion, denying ourselves. And I believe that the light that was once a flicker gets brighter and brighter each day until it’s radiant like the sun, our own personal sun that fuels us and gives us life. And before we know it, we’ll be lost in the bliss of doing what we love, what we’re made for.