“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.” ~Rumi
You know what it is; you’ve always known. Maybe it’s been just a shadow in the fog, or it’s crystal clear in amazing Technicolor before your eyes. Either way, it’s there, sometimes stinging you with a numb sense of denial, sometimes scratching at your skin like a bad case of poison sumac.
It’s existed since the day you arrived on earth with a cry and a gasp.You knew it already when you were small, when you drew pictures with crayons and finger paint, when you learned what a ruler was and how to multiply by three. When you found out that nouns were followed by verbs and that seeds, planted right below the surface of the dirt and given water to drink, would sprout green just days later.
You knew it then, and you know it now.
So many things vie for your attention. Job, kids, house, yard. Family, friends, the blessed computer. But your special thing sits right under the veneer of frenetic busy me, counting the days, the hours, the minutes, the seconds for you to finally take notice and accept its sacred presence.
When you see someone else doing something that remotely resembles your special thing, you might react in a panic.“Wait. Her. She’s living my dream!!” But it’s not someone else living your dream that brings on the racing heartbeat; it’s that you are not living your dream yourself.
Your special thing is your work. It’s your purpose. It’s the goodness that you produce from the center of your heart. You might already be doing it without completely realizing it. You’d do it without having to be paid for it but if you could make your living from it, what joy it would bring.
When I first started to heed the call of my special thing, my husband and I were working as hard as we could, thinking there would never be another way, wondering how long it would take for us to just burn out and disappear.
There was something in the distance, though, a chance thought. It was engulfed in mist at first, but emerged into the light as an opportunity.
In a short span of time, my husband’s and my professional situations changed, and the possibility to buy an abandoned farm in Italy presented itself. We sprang on it, knowing it was the right thing to do at some deep level.
It required us changing countries, diving into a language we didn’t speak, and integrating into a culture we didn’t understand. What developed over time, with a huge amount of physical and emotional restoration work, was a little bed and breakfast.
I thought that was it, that I had, with a great expenditure of effort and energy, found what I was meant to do. But that was just the beginning.
Once the old stone house was renovated, up and running, and filled with guests from around the world, I started a blog about our experiences. That blog has now turned into an ebook about courage and change, and an about-to-be-published novel about the Italian wine country.
I now see that my relationship with life change has allowed me to experience something much more important than rebuilding a house from rocks and cement.
Mentoring people through words touches me in a deep place. Whatever I’ve put out there has come back to me thousand-fold, as people, after reading what I’ve done, share with me their stories, their dreams, their hopes and fears. This old house was simply the stage I chose from which to create my own opera. My calling is clear.
After years of digging and restoring, both literally and figuratively, I had opened the door to my special thing. And I’m just getting started.
It might be drawing buildings with computers; it might be raising clay high from a metal wheel. It could be talking to mothers in trouble or to kids without mothers at all. It might be bringing meals to the elderly, running in marathons, painting murals on the sides of walls.
Whatever it is, if it’s still just a shadow in the distant haze that you can’t quite yet fathom, there are a few things you can do to coax your special thing into the sunshine.
Learn to say no for the purpose of freeing up energy for your special thing.
Refusing to take on commitments that exhaust you and pull you in too many directions will give you pockets of time to focus on what you love.
Take ten minutes of silence without thinking every day to clear your tired mind and make way for new ideas.
This can be a form of meditation, or you can simply call it your quiet time. Sit by yourself and imagine your thoughts floating by and away as clouds. Stick with it for at least ten minutes each day, in a place where you will not be disturbed.
Surround yourself with mentors who understand the things you’re drawn to.
You’ll find there’s no room for jealousy or insecurity when you actively engage with people doing work similar to work you would like to do. Ask questions and show gratitude for the answers. More often then not, if you open up to people you respect, they will help you on your path with generosity and joy.
Know that you already know what’s right for you, because you do.
You were given that knowledge before you could even think. Now all you need to do is access it, call it forth, make it happen in the three dimensional world.
Once you’ve discovered your special thing, embrace it.
Love it and absorb it as if it’s part of you, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a reflection of your soul in its sparkling, individual glory. It will open the path back to who you really are.
Once you start, there’s no stopping. Your energy, your determination, your love will be contagious. Giving yourself over to the thing you love will open new channels of healing for your soul.
And maybe most important, you’ll become a mentor yourself someday, for someone whose special thing is just a shadow, hiding in a thin shroud of fog.
Photo by Undazir