Apparently, the videos I’ve embedded haven’t been coming through on email, so here is a link to a delightful woman who has been ballet dancing for over 70 years! Or you can see it here: https://quotablecreek.com/2018/01/16/do-what-you-love/
Do you ever feel pulled down by the people who tell you that you can’t do something? You should mouth the words when people are singing because you can’t carry a tune. You shouldn’t dance because your moves are awkward. Don’t write unless you are going to be a best-selling novelist. Don’t take up something in your middle years that you’ve always wanted to do because you might look silly. Don’t, can’t, shouldn’t–those kind of words.
Maybe it is you telling yourself those things, afraid to start something and be a beginner after you’ve spent decades learning how to do other stuff and have gotten quite good, an expert even maybe. We encourage children to try new things–to paint, to skate, to sing, to play. But something happens when we get older. We may even hear ourselves holding someone back, “Are you still doing that? If you’re not [insert adjective here–famous, discovered, wealthy, accomplished] by now, you’re never going to be. You should give up.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to lay down all that judgment and dance again? Or sing your heart out? Or write a love poem? The joy is in the doing, and how lovely it is to remember that and embrace whatever it is that makes your soul sing!
Freedom and justice are not won and done. Often the road toward freedom, justice, and equality twists and turns, full of progress and steps forward, but pitted with set-backs as well. We have made progress since Martin Luther King, Jr. led a movement for civil rights, but his work is not done. We cannot relax. Indeed, we need to preserve and build on those gains in every generation. We need to be shocked but not surprised to encounter those who have no desire for equality but would rather return to an era of overt discrimination. Theirs is not the right path forward for any of us, including them, and they must be defeated because as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
What are we here for anyway? What’s the point? Some people joke, ‘Life is hard, and then you die’, and there’s some truth to that. We are finite. We struggle. But there is purpose to life, and it lies in what we do for others. Andre Agassi says,
“Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting value or meaning. This is why we’re here.”
Others joke ‘The one who dies with the most toys wins,’ but those things we do purely for ourselves are vanity. Instead, when we use our gifs and talents to reach out and help others, we’ve upped the good in the world. We’ve made a difference.
We need to periodically take time out to laugh– for self-preservation and to enhance the quality of our lives. Things can easily get too heavy, too fraught, too dire. A good laugh can release the tension and help us to regain our balance.
To assist in the laughing department, take a look at this BBC clip ascribing voices to odd animal behavior. It’s a good one. 🙂
There may be those who want to silence you or refuse to hear your perspective. Perhaps you are afraid to speak your truth. Take heart. As Brené Brown says:
“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor– the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences–good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as ‘ordinary courage’.”
Can you remember what you were worried about this date last year? Often, we forget yesteryear’s worries. Even more often, what we were worried about never comes to pass. It was wasted energy. All those sleepless nights and anxiety were spent on the thought of something that happened only in our imaginations. And, studies show, constant worry is bad for our health, ironically, giving us more to worry about.
Today, focus on your tasks at hand. Today has enough worries of its own. We don’t need to pile on tomorrow’s worries or the next day’s. The more we immerse ourselves in concrete action, the less our minds have time to churn away on what might or, most likely, might never be.
Sometimes our eyes and hearts are focussed so far in the distance, that we fail to see what is right in front of us. The people we spend our days with, the beauty surrounding us, the opportunities we have to make a difference. When we zoom in to the detail, the richness of the particular moment can be astounding and surprising. What a beautiful, remarkable world we live in. So full of complexity. Each person we see is as full of contradictions and surprises as we are ourselves. Each living or created thing we see is so full of detail.
Long-term goals are great, but what a shame if we don’t appreciate each step along the way. We may work side by side with someone but barely know their name let alone what their hopes and dreams are. We may be so busy moving forward that we are blind to the heartache of even the people we live with. It is easy to speed through life with eyes averted like people descending in an elevator focussed only on the floor numbers.
Today take time today to enjoy the journey, the mysteries unfolding all around you, the people who share your path, and all the beautiful and startling things right here, right now.
Like, for example, who can not stop and be amazed at this little beagle shaking its jowls, its great ears flopping to the beat, its sturdy paws holding on in front but shifting with its wagging tail in back, the gorgeous landscape behind it? What a fascinating little miracle, right here. Just this.
We can gussy ourselves up on the outside. Or maybe change jobs or move. Or start over in our relationships. And yet something still eats at us. We have the same insecurities even when we reach our dream weight or buy a stunning outfit. We encounter the same obstacles over and over again, even in different scenarios. In these situations, we need to turn our attention to the inside. We need to consider what is bothering us or holding us back and do the work that needs to be done there.