Friday, November 21, 2008

its calling.....and calling.....upon reflection.

You know when you've found a gem of a book when the introduction speaks to you. My daughter asked me to look for a copy of The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho for her to read during English class. Being the good Momma that I am, I complied and then promptly sat down to take a quick glean only to slide right into the story. Right away, a light bulb blinked on.....and not one of those annoying environmentally friendly dull ones. A big bright halogen BLINKED. And let me say, it's about fecking time my head hit the switch.
For ages I have struggled with why I feel so stuck, unable to move forward with some logical plan in my life with respect to my writing. I keep churning the stuff out like a banshee on fire, but I have yet to do anything concrete with any of it except post it here. Up pops a new thought and pling, it spews out of me. (eeeewwww, I now have Regan from the Exorcist in my imagination....hmmmm.......maybe writing is like an exorcism?) The words flow and flow through my veins and out my fingertips. For the life of me, I can't do more than that except give it an unfocused attempt to take the next necessary step.


"We all need to be aware of our personal calling. What is a personal calling? It is God's blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth. Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don't all have the courage to confront our own dream?"

These are the words that thunked me in the head. Not new words, but perhaps timely words. Paulo Coehlo then identifies the four obstacles that inhibit our attempts at following our own legend......

1. We are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it's still there.....

This one doesn't fit for me, but it does for many..... I was one of the lucky ones who had parents and other family members who consistently told me I could do whatever I set my sights on. This message continues.......and includes my husband and my children and close friends. I've had good wonderful mentors in my past too who also passed on this message.... Yes, I am very lucky to have so many in my court. It's not something I ever take for granted because I know of so many who are pushing their legend carts uphill alone.

So.....I read on.


2. "We know what we want to do but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream. We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent us going forward. (AT this internal light bulb begins to turn on.....) We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey. "
This is where I was hooked.....because I had twisted this in my thinking. I was bending and leaning on this bizarre assumption. Of course the people who love us and support us want the best for us. Why was I using the thought that I would push over the family apple cart if I switched gears in order to pursue my writing? Big adjustments have already been made around here, which I am eternally grateful for. It was my husband and my children who gave me my laptop. It was my family.....who encouraged me to take a trip last spring to fly across the pond to meet a very special emerald friend.

It also makes me wonder..........if there was an important person in my life who only purposefully wants to make me unhappy, then why would I continue to have this person in my life?

I continued to read...

Fear again.....rejection, rejection.....

3. "Fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn't work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse "Oh well, I didn't really want it anyway...." We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in the journey."

Defeats are necessary aren't they? Mistakes are made and it's alright.....if you continue to learn and allow them to stretch you........ Easier said than done!!!! THIS IS WHERE I'M STUCK! I have to get past the idea that swims in my head............"What if I reach for my dream.....of writing and publishing and I fail? What then? What if my attempts to live my legend falls flat? What if I push and pull and try and then I'm left with a handful of feathers and nothing else only to have dragged my family through the carnage??

The suffering we feel when we don't pursue our personal calling is far greater than if we try. This is the key. THIS is what I must remember. It is not the end product, it is the process of living, trying, doing, crying, dreaming, DOING, pursuing, stretching, falling, jumping, yelling, dancing, praying, wondering, creating, creating, creating, talking, sharing, caring that matters!! Not a new lesson, but a timely, timely one. Reaching towards our personal calling most definately will include suffering, but it is also includes that life affirming euphoric moments which is sorely missing in our lives when we remain stuck, stalled and soulfully sore. I realize now this is where I am. I'm not as stuck as I think I am. I am going down the path of my calling. It just includes a few potholes I have to climb out of. And a re-jigging of the gameplan. I can do that.

ps. The last obstacle?? It has something to do with "what happens AFTER the dream is conquered? Then what?" Well, I'll drive across that damn bridge WHEN I get to it. I'm not there yet.....


Rainbow dreams said...

Of course we are going to fail some of the time... hardly anyone gets anything totally right first time, but supported we can do most anything and climb out of any of those damn potholes... I thought the council were supposed to fill them in.. ??

but what if you never tried? That wouldn't be being true to yourself.

We have to try ~ when something inside us screams out, we have to try and when has there ever been a timne when another bridge didn't spring up in front of us? There will always be another bridge to cross, of that I am certain..

Keep living your dream Dana :)

much2ponder said...

(((awareness))) I am so with you in this. These are similar words that I have spoken to the men I teach. It is a little early in the morning to digest your words because they are exactly what my heart has been feeling concerning the fulfillment of a few of my own dreams.

One of those happens to be writing and my approach is much like yours. I truly have no excuse except for lack of time. I have done quite a bit of writing over the past 8 years and it is like you say... the words run through my veins and out of my fingertips.

I hit a speed bump 2 years ago when I went through a surgical procedure that left me feeling much like a different person; Confused, unable to focus, fatigued, depressed, etc. It seems I have been dealing with a surgical menopause of sorts. These last two years have been such a drain on my ability to persevere. I do not have the support system you speak of so fondly, however, I do have a spark inside my spirit that tells me I have something worthwhile to share.

Coming to terms with my new "normal" has taught me much. I am thankful the Lord did not give up on me when I almost gave up on him. In this current season of my life I am taking the opportunities to peruse other dreams. Dreams I had ideas about and thoughts of how they should be have become something else entirely.

Working with incarcerated men has opened doors to share encouragement about the very things you have written about here. As I work with the men I too am fortified and propelled. It's all part of the process you speak of.

This was a very good post. I am taken back a little by the parallels between you and I at times. Perhaps a little reminder that we are all connected in some way and this world is not as big as we think. I will encourage you in prayer to continue on your journey as I continue on mine from miles and miles away.

Niki said...

So many people have recommended that book to it is my mission to find it. (In a charity shop because I'm broke)

Awareness said...

Katie. Most people don't try and I find that very thought tragic. Most people just go through life with their head down suppressing their calling. And when you are one who wants to "follow you legend" to use the author's term, the ones who aren't often will look at you like you're crazy....why? Because they are threatened by the fact that if makes them reflect on their own life? Because they see a calling as too much of a's easier to live life on cruise control?
So often I have heard in this place of work that I should just put my head down and be grateful I have a job. Honest to God, this has been said to me. My desires and my open expression of wanting to be doing more and be challenged etc brand me as an ungrateful who is willfully obstinate about going with the flow. I'm a scary scary free thinker?? It's a struggle not to start believing that bs.
I guess I may not have heard such stuff growing up or in my own home, but I sure have had it expressed to me a lot from other important avenues. It has been playing on my confidence more than I ever realized.
However, having written that, I know they are WRONG! hahaha! I need to undo the hurts first and I think this is why i'm stuck right now. I look at my writing as an escape and as therapy to hide in and more for my own benefit rather than the gift that may be the ticket to unlocking my legend.

love that legend concept.

m2p....I do see a parallel definately. Even with the work we do...and I'm pleased to read your comments to know that what i write about you can completely relate to. Our struggles may have a different flavour on the surface because of our individual circumstances, but the yearnings are very similar. It does reinforce in me, like you, that we do share much with folks all around us.

Persevering is energy draining that's for sure....and I do understand this from my own personal experiences. I'm not good at persevering because i lack patience. My friend Charles (the crazy man blogger who often leaves comments that my blog is touchy feely??) He told me this week that I need to be patient...that good things happen.....that there are reasons for things....he's always telling me stuff like that, though he is a big gruffy grouch when he leaves comments. :)

he's right.....easier said than done though, but perseverance, though difficult and somes very painful, is part of the learning on the journey.

Niki.....I wish you well finding the book. Try the library. They probably have a couple of copies too. I know you'd really enjoy the story and could relate to the Shephard as he embarks on his journey. Let me know when you've read it. I'd love to know your perspective on it.

Rainbow dreams said...

I just ordered that ook - could be my next unputdownable read :) thanks

Charles LeBlanc said...

Better pics than mine!!

Good work!'s a very rough ride!!!

Asked my Priest to perform a exorcism on today < You know remove that darn Scottish blood >

He almost did but he told me that he likes me the way I am!!

Someone got to do the fight!!!

May as well be me! No kids < no God for that and many are also thankful >


A person very stubborn with way too much time on its hand!!!

So the exorcism was a no go!!



You running a Ann Landers blog in here???



OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What happens? Another dream will happen---you can be sure! Meanwhile, it is really putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying 'the process'...Enjoying the actual creation! Because ultimately THAT is the real payoff....Everything else is Gravy!
At least, that is what I think and believe.

Anonymous said...

you are frustratingly prolific - i can barely string a sentence together these days...

always a gem

Awareness said...

katie...let me know what you think. it's not a long read, but a powerful one.

Charles...i'm glad you're around the rough ride. You make it much more interesting the way you shake things up and drive people nuts.
I'm sorry your priest chose not to exorcise you, however he's right. Embrace your Scottish-ness and go buy a kilt. trying....

Paul....i just read a paragraph this morning from Beauty that sums it up pretty well for me. Scary how well it sums it up.
"The wound has left an imprint....labour and discipline of creativity refines our blemished seeing, and gradually an unexpected gift comes to light.....nothing is said directly in creative work; it is obliquely suggested. Perhaps creative expression is a way of telling something indirectly that we could never tell out straight...."

love in riddles?? :)

I write to breathe...

Marja said...

Love your banner Love your post. I think many of Coelho's messages are recognisable Happy you pursue your dream Bless you.
Dana I must share this I went to such a magical garden Have a look at the pictures You will like it

Anonymous said...

You remain a constant source of inspiration to me. This wonderful essay confirms that. What would I do without your wisdom and insight?