The purpose of the weekend isn’t so we can forget about how much we hate our jobs on Monday through Friday. Free time is for having fun, yes, but what is more fun than taking advantage of opportunities to create a lifestyle that doesn’t require us to wait until Friday night to have fun? Instead of making “Thank God it’s Friday” our mantra, we should be saying “I can’t believe I’m experiencing this much meaning and fulfillment on a Monday.”
It really breaks my heart to see us live in misery for 5 days a week while we look at our free time as nothing more than a chance to drown away our sorrows and rest up for the next week-long train ride through hell.
Time is our greatest asset. Time is where our power to create a new reality lies. Why do we give it away so freely to the things that don’t improve our ability to live more freely? Is it because we believe this is all we have the right to hope for? Is it because we believe that 2 days of fun and enthusiasm are all we deserve? The Psalmist wrote “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” What if we treated our dreams and creative potential with the same respect we offer to our jobs? What if we treated the possibility of leading a purpose-driven, passion-filled life with the same level of commitment we offer to our places of employment? What if we saw ourselves as having a duty to our destiny that’s no less important than the duty we feel towards paying our bills?
I met an executive producer who told me that 20 years ago he stopped watching so much TV because he decided that he wanted to become the guy who decided what other people would watch on TV. What are we willing to give up in order to give ourselves a chance to see just how powerful, influential, and inspired we can be? This isn’t about not watching TV or not going to the bar on Fridays or not sleeping in on Saturdays. It’s about remembering to make space for something that’s far more exciting than any TV show or party: your ability to be the predominant creative force in your own life.
Please don’t let another weekend get away from you without giving some time to that idea.
I am blessed to have had adults in my life who saw my dreams and creative impulses as something other than objects to be feared.
I am grateful for those mentors and teachers who taught me to own my eccentricities and curiosities rather than seek deliverance from them.
I often wonder how much of our glorification of the known, the familiar, and the so-called “safe” path, is a projection of the tension and unresolved anxiety we feel from our own ignored callings, our own stifled longings, our own youthful doubts never conquered or outgrown?
To those who are younger than me, I pass along to you what was graciously entrusted in me:
You have the whole world before you. And there is much you can learn from those of us who have been around for more years than you. But none of us can know the secret of your being. None of us can know the path that wears your name. Delve deeply and daringly into the treasures of your soul. We can give you advice on how to navigate the terrain, but the capacity to descend into the heart and discover the meaning of your own existence is yours alone.
For what it’s worth, that’s my two cents.
“Dignity/ˈdignitē/ noun…The moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do…” ― Shannon L. Alder
There is a saying, “Don’t kiss @#$. Kick @#$.”
The fleeting pleasure of receiving “brownie points” from people you admire can never compare to the sense of peace, purpose, and power that stems from doing the work your nature demands of you with the respect that you know it deserves.
To hell with pursuing a mere pat on the head.
Choose a life well lived and a work well done according to your own standards instead.
Erica Jong wrote, “Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.”
In entrepreneurship, the “dark place” is sometimes called “the dip.” In spirituality, it’s often referred to as “the dark night of the soul.”
Whatever label we may use, the experience is universal: the process of actualizing our potential is inseparable from the pain of exorcising our demons. In order to discover what we’re truly capable of, we must be willing to enter and embrace the dark realm of questions we cannot easily answer, phenomena we cannot easily explain, and challenges we cannot easily resolve.
The spotlight is what summons us. The darkness is what shapes us.
In order to stand in the spotlight, we have to be willing to walk through the darkness.
And by “spotlight,” I don’t mean “fame.” I mean “the brilliantly shining light of self-awareness that nothing can extinguish.”
May you remember the dreams of your youth.
May you allow their energy to speak to your heart again.
May you ask them to teach you how to marvel again, how to aspire again, how to play again, how to bring enchantment to the everyday again.
May the spaces left empty by your unfulfilled longings be filled with delightful new forms of wanting.
May every piece of every shattered dream become a seed of hope that sprouts wide and wildly in the pastures of your imagination.
May you find the grace to forgive yourself for what you have not accomplished and may you discover the faith to reinvent yourself into the author of a daringly different narrative.
I’m optimistic about some things and I’m pessimistic about others.
I’m pessimistic about the idea that life gets better independently of the changes we cultivate in our own thoughts and actions, but I’m optimistic about the idea that we can gradually increase our experience of freedom by challenging ourselves to think more critically and creatively.
For me optimism and pessimism go hand in hand. You can’t be optimistic about the things that can save you until you start being pessimistic about the things that can’t. Hope, if we wish to distinguish it from wishful thinking and self-delusion, must be rooted in an honest acknowledgement of that which has already revealed itself to be hopeless.
Until we’re liberated from blind belief in the people, systems, and ideas that are unworthy of our faith, we will always struggle to see the more promising possibilities of our own nature.
that promises you a life of never having to wrestle with puzzling questions.
Photograph by Erik Johansson