Thursday, December 29, 2011

Having a Purpose

This post is a few months in the making. :) It was set in motion by a call I got from a lovely friend, who wanted to talk about a behavior her son frequently exhibits. He is autistic and seems to really enjoy shredding leaves. I didn't hear the phone ring, though, and she left a wonderful message, and at the end of the message she said that she just wanted to know that the leaf shredding had a purpose, but then she paused and questioned why she needed that. And at that moment I felt a zing. Both for her and for me, because feeling through that zing brought me to the realization that "lack of purpose" has been holding me back a lot in my life! That before I do anything, it needs to have a purpose. Or at least a purpose that others will recognize/accept so they won't accuse me of wasting my time. So many times I've had these strokes of inspiration about things I could create, but stop because they have no "purpose" (that I know of), no "acceptable outcome" other than the experience of creating, so I'll go into thinking how I can turn them into a product to be sold, and then I get overwhelmed by the whole selling aspect so I stop and never do anything. There are so many things that I feel so strongly in my heart that I need to do, that I need to create, but because the direction is coming from my heart (which speaks in feelings) and not my head (which speaks in words), if someone asks me WHY I am going to do or am doing something, I just have nothing to say. Which, as you can imagine, tends to go over real well with most parents and teachers. It isn't until recently that I've been feeling that it's okay to say "Because I feel like I need to", and most of the time I'm not even brave enough to say that. So I have a glorious, amazing feeling that is directing me towards something, and then I try to come up with justification that my head will accept, and I can't, so I do nothing. I just spin around and around and accomplish nothing other than suppressing what is trying to come through me and sticking with doing the "acceptable" things, like housework and cooking and doing things with my kids. Because, after all, I can't justify doing things that I WANT to do, that have no "value" when there are responsibilities to be done! But by the time I've finished those responsibilities, I have nothing left to create with. And then I start the next day over again at the same place, but feeling a bit more defeated every day.

So I was slowly feeling through this, paying attention to the ways in which I let a lack of purpose that others will understand stop me, when I was directed to a blog post by The Organic Sister entitled "Why Am I Choosing "Productive" over Actually Producing?" And WOW, there it was!

"Is this:

1. Feeding my soul,
2. Feeding my greater vision and purpose in this world, or
3. Feeding the souls of others?"

THAT'S the purpose that most matters. Not money, not power, not "looking good", not the "purposes" I THOUGHT I needed to assign to these urgings of my heart to make them okay. The purpose that matters most is being in the light, in the love, that allows me to feed my own SOUL, and if it feeds my soul, most likely it also feeds the souls of others, if only from the permission that comes from seeing someone else do for their own self what your heart yearns for you to do for yourself. And if just DOING what my heart urges, without knowing what will come out of it or if it will accomplish anything "worthwhile", if DOING it feeds my soul, then that's all I need to know! That's a purpose in and of itself!

And then I felt that tug again. My heart was communicating to me in sparks and swirls of joy. "How lovely to have those words as a reminder, right where you can see them. Go paint." And for just a second I stopped and looked at the dishes that needed to be done, the laundry that needed to be switched, the fact that I WAS about to go call my niece and wish her happy birthday. And then I took a deep breath and got out some paper, and my paints, and a jar full of water.

And an absolutely wonderful thing happened. I didn't like it, lol. It was too small, some of the letters bled together. . . it was nice, and it felt wonderful to paint it, but I WANTED to try again. And yes, that may not sound like a big deal, but it's been a big thing holding me back. What if I mess up and it looks awful? What if I waste materials and time and don't even like it? And I WANTED to try again, but not because of any judgements about how it wasn't good enough- I learned that I need to space my letters, and that I didn't like that background and that I wanted it bigger. It wasn't wasting at all, I learned through the experience of creating, and those materials were integral to the process of learning. :) I WANTED to try again, but not because anyone outside of me TOLD me I should (in fact my girls were oohing and aahing over it.) So I did try again, and this time I loved it. So I scanned it, and then I put it in a frame and sat it on the island in my kitchen.

This COULD be the end of this particular story, but in fact there is more. After I read the blog post, I commented on The Organic Sister's facebook page about how much I loved the post and how it encouraged me to birth the beautiful things that were trying to come through me. And she replied back that she hoped I'd share what I'd been birthing. Yes, zing again! So, after I scanned the painting, I sent Tara an email with the painting attached. And she replied back with lovely, positive words, and asked if she could share it on her facebook page with a link to my blog or something. Wow. I said yes, but could she wait until I blogged about it, because I really wanted to share the process that led to it's creation? She said yes.

So, you'd think I'd get right on that, wouldn't you? My stomach was all butterflies, I felt warm and loved. I reached out and did something outside of my comfort zone (shared a part of me with someone Important! and Famous! and much bigger than I have allowed myself to be!) and it went really, really well!

Well, if you look at the date on her post, and the date of this post, you can easily see that much time has passed. Being one who enjoys pondering (have you noticed that? lol) I sat with "Isn't it interesting, how I have been unable to blog about this and get back to her?" And one of the fears that came up that I was very aware of was that if I DID get back to her, then more people would be directed here. Which was scary because I've really been operating under the assumption (hope!) that very few people actually read my words. Which is kind of silly, I know. Why have a blog that you hope no one reads? But it felt safer that the only people who read here are people who know and love me already, so they will be more gentle and caring with any comments they may leave. It felt safer to be small.

The biggest thing I noticed from my pondering is that this has been a pattern in my life. I'll learn or do something awesome, stretch my experience boundaries a lot, people will respond positively, and then I'll go into hiding for awhile. I recognize now that, for me, doing this awesome thing outside of my comfort zone feels like being so filled with joy that I just run and run, feeling the wind blowing through my hair, feeling free and powerful, and I burst through some veil or curtain out to where people can see and there is applause and then I realize "HOLY CRAP I'm standing on thin air!!!" and my legs and arms are spinning in the air like a Loony Toons character, and I manage to get back behind the curtain and stay there for awhile, panting and shaking, eyes huge and panicked. Until finally I calm down and remember just how wonderful it felt out there, and decide to take a peek, and maybe try to edge down the cliff to that new place waiting out there.

Well, this time, after pondering and realizing what was going on, I have decided to run through the curtains and jump. I'm not sure what that will look like exactly, but I am ready to go. I am ready to play big. I am ready to be powerful. And I trust that, even when it is not comfortable, it will be exactly what I need. I am ready to live my truth and live it out loud. Wooooooo. Feels kind of breezy and teetery up here. But I am ready. So here I go. Anyone want to come with me?

Three. . .

Two. . .

One. . . .