There is no better way to be happy and content than making sure you do what you love. That’s what I think. I don’t just mean work-wise. I am learning more and more deeply that I’ve gotta do what I love the way I love it in every way. I have to parent the way it makes most sense to me. I have to love in the way that is most meaningful to me. The work I do in the world has to give me a sense of purpose in some way… I think we all have to do what we love. Cue in Burt Bacharach crooning “What the world needs now, is love sweet love…” Can you hear it? (Click on his name here if you want to)
As I see it most of the time we are nudged along by two kinds of motivation – fear and desire. Now forget for a moment about how all those wonderful Eastern philosophies tell us we are supposed to let go of desire and not let it drive us – because quite frankly they say the very same thing about fear. So bracket that, as is said in academic parlance, and lets focus on the fact that in order to actually get your butt moving in some direction or another you need to be motivated to do so. Right? With me so far? Or did I lose you in the Eastern philosophy section and now your mind has meandered to unearthly matters? Come back now, ground those feet.
Ok so, motivation. I don’t know about you but most of my life I’ve been either drawn forward to something or chased from behind. So there is something ahead of you that you look at and go, “Ooh I want that” and you walk towards it or alternatively, you look behind you at some beasty snapping at your heels and know that if you don’t do This, then That Thing will get you. For example, “I want to be connected to the love that is me so I choose to speak gently to my whining, irritating, clingy totally irrational child” (desire) or “If I don’t speak nicely to my whining, irritating, clingy totally irrational child I will be a bad parent” (fear). Get it?
I always thought desire was a good way to go. At least you are driving the cart and it’s a joyful ride. However, following recent events in my life I’m finding out – as those darn Eastern philosophies suggest – that there’s also a third and purest kind of motivation which simply bubbles up from the very center of who you are and guides your motion and direction without your full conscious agreement or even awareness. It kind of just happens, seems a good idea at the time, actually it seems like the only real idea at the time so you do it and if anyone asks you what the hell you are doing, are you crazy, do you know where this might lead you – more politely phrased as, “Wow, you are so brave”, the only answer that makes sense is, “It just is.”
Motivated from the center, whatever you do is effortless – even if you are putting a lot of energy into it. The motivation just sort of takes you over and when you come to from your exhilarated focused state, you are standing in a new place in your life and wondering a little how you got there and what on earth prompted you to go there in the first place.
That’s when the conscious mind – which up till that point was mesmerised by your subconscious, or your soul guidance, or whatever it was that took you over, with whispered promises of sweet nothings – starts to panic a little and say, “What? Where am I? I’m responsible for what?! Now look what you’ve gotten me into! What am I supposed to do now? Huh? You tell me that. I don’t know anything about the publishing world. How am I supposed to get a book published? Did you even stop to think about that before you just went ahead and wrote a book? Huh Missy? So inconsiderate! You just go about doing what you like and then I’m stuck with cleaning up the mess. Hmph! The places you take me. I never agreed to do this you know, it’s your thing. You get your own book published and leave me out of it!” Yup, that sounds about right. Panic. Sulk. Where were we? Oh yes purest motivation.
The funny thing though is that while you are in the midst of the soul seduction it all seems to make a deep, calm sense and you walk the path fearlessly. The pregnancy is blissful, discomforts are easily overlooked, adrenalin is the order of the day. Then you wake up one morning and you realise you are going to have to give birth. Yes you. And you can’t get out of it. It’s going to happen. Not only that, after you give birth you have to look after the baby and raise a child and be a parent. Moment of shock then a whole lot of swearing and cursing. Then shocked, silent, slowly dawning comprehension at the hugeness of it all. One day, years from that point, we look at our lives, totally unrecognisable from what we had imagined and we say something like, “I would never have done it if I’d known what it would entail but I’m so glad I did it.”
That is where doing what you love gets you. To indescribable, totally unforeseeable rich and wonderous places. Pretty much like parenting. A whole lot of it is scary to go through, definitely uncomfortable much of the time until you learn to relaaax and let goooo and enjoy the thrilling ride to yourself. Then it’s mostly fun.
I’ve learned if I do what I love, the people around me benefit from it. People who are doing what is bubbling up from their very center are so inspiring to be around. Think of anyone that inspires you. Do or did they do what they seemed called to do? I can see that when I don’t follow my true guidance everyone around me is the poorer for it – not least because I get grumpy and resentful.
Imagine if we all allowed ourselves to be true to our highest self? Let yourself tune into whatever is bubbling up from your center and let yourself live from that place? What do you think?