Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What Stirs the Soul

If I’m to believe my Huffington Post Facebook widget little counter thingy (yeah, that’s how descriptive I can be about technology), I have just gotten the most “likes” on anything I’ve ever written for HuffPo in the past four years! There’s a parade being planned for me somewhere right now, I just know it.

It was for a CD review (, which was followed, in 2nd place on the little counter thingy, by the piece I wrote about gun control legislation right after the Connecticut school shooting ( ). And there you have it – my life in a nutshell. A dichotomy between music and politics, and I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one wins, because in my odd perception of things, at their best, both can make the world a better place and my desire runs deep for doing that in any way possible.

Someone recently pointed out to me that I didn’t have any “normal” friends. And though I’m sure my friends are all thrilled to hear that, what she meant was that all of them have careers and not jobs. I had never really thought about it before. My friends are in every area of the arts as well as actual artists (like with paintings in galleries), or they’re doctors, lawyers, college professors, and journalists. All of these are professions dreamed of, worked towards, strived for, and ultimately about making a difference. And I suppose, because I am, undoubtedly, as “normal” as my friends, I can’t imagine life being about anything other than what stirs the soul and ignites passion. I mean, why bother otherwise?

I have a friend who had a job for 28 years that she just left to go to culinary school to become a vegan chef because that’s what she always wanted to do. (She swears the food’s delicious and I’ll love it. If she can accomplish me going vegan, she can have a third career as a miracle-worker, which frankly, I wouldn’t put past her.)

I think it would be a completely different world (in a good way) if people would stop and consider what stirs their soul, or at the very least, what matters most to them. I think we’re a society of largely (and large) unhappy people because we stifle that voice inside us that knows exactly what lights our fire, or trips our trigger, or any other cool metaphor you can think of. I think we know. In fact, I know that we know. But to look at that would require making that shift of taking actions that align with what we know in our hearts. And for most of us, that’s a scary proposition. Most people are not like my friend who left the only job she knew in her adult life to live her passion. Most people never go there.

So here’s what I’m proposing for anyone who wants to take me up on it – baby steps. Figure out what you’re passionate about, and do one thing in that direction that you’ve always wanted to do. (I’ve got a friend who’s taking Ukulele lessons…and she’s not a musician.) Do something that gives you a sense of joy and purpose, even if it’s once a week for an hour. Joy is insidious and will seep into other areas of life.

And sure, I’m freely bandying about advice here, but time is short and the world is in need of every last gift we have to contribute. Why not do that and be happy in the process? I love a good win/win!

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

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