I had a really lovely Monday this week (my Monday is akin to most people's Saturday) where I stayed home and cleaned and reorganized some things in my space. So important to do - to love the space where you live, where you sleep, eat, read, write - whatever it is that you do. It should make you feel happy.
But that's not what I'm writing about.
I rearranged my bookshelf and in doing so found a great deal of pleasure reflecting on my book collection. I buy books pretty often (bought 3 just last week) and have a pretty long list of others that I'd like to acquire; I also had a pretty serious addiction the the Brooklyn Public Library for a while there...
What jumped out at me was the theme that strung through my current collection - lots of healing, empowerment, and of course, yoga. I thought it was such a great representation of me and what I'm truly interested in and PASSIONATE about.
But I remember a time when I didn't know what my passion was - or, I thought I didn't know what it was. I had lost interest in my former career and worried that I'd never be really excited about working on anything again. I saw friends who'd voluntarily stay up late and sacrifice a lot of their personal time for their jobs, and I just didn't see that in me. At all.
What if I have no passion?! I thought.
(*note: this feeling was also around the same time my back went out, as referenced in the previous blog post)
Fast forward a few years later and there's not enough time in the day to read all the books. Sometimes I joke that I wish I could just inject all the info into my head. Furthermore, I have a looong list of trainings I'd like to attend. Just yesterday I told a friend that it's a serious toss up between saving money for a training or saving money for a vacation. As of late, the training wins. I am hungry for more. To learn, to hone my skills, to share what I can with who I can.
But, just a few years ago, I had no idea what I cared about. So how did I get from A to B?
I just started. I picked up a book that seemed interesting at the time. I spent hours online perusing articles. I followed any little glimmer of interest - and I had to let go of the HOW. I couldn't always think about how reading a book about having faith in the universe was going to turn into a full blown passion or much less a job. I embarked on yoga teacher training, financially backed by my mom (thanks again, Mom!), and felt the need to reassure her several times: I won't really be able to make money teaching yoga, I don't know where this will lead (in other words, no promise on that ROI). But I went, following the interest (it's worked out okay).
Almost a decade ago I was on a vaca with my mom and sis in California. Sis had just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed and handed it to me and told me to read it. And so I did. The book is about marriage - in different cultures and generations and how it's changed and what it is and what it isn't and how different people make it work. Having just ended a serious relationship, I took a great interest in the topic as I'd never really stopped to think about what I wanted - marriage, kids, white picket fence? After Committed, I found another book, and another, and another. Suddenly I had read and thought through the traditions and modern approaches and women's roles in family and in career and I even read a book unfortunately titled Marry him: the case for settling for Mr Good Enough. (Yeah, I did NOT read that one in public. Yikes.)
Coincidentally (or not?) I made a few friends around that time who needed help navigating their relationships - deciding to stay or to go, considering what they really wanted, what really mattered. I put them on my book-reading course (I still have the reading list if you want it). My one friend called me "the break-up coach." I'll take it. I love helping people break free of whatever's not serving them.
Anyhoo, my point in all this is that I found a topic that struck some interest and I followed it. I learned so much that year about relationships, and about myself, and I was able to help people with what I gleaned (both those friends are now happily married to people they met almost immediately after they left the jerks they were with when I met them. Just FYI). And these past few years, I've learned so much through books and trainings and amazing instructors and just about every person I meet, because I'm hungry for more. Because I followed that little spark of interest and I continue to follow any spark - whether it seems related or not, because my personal variety of interests is what makes me and what I can offer unique.
So if you're feeling stuck- or even if you're not - maybe pick up a book? Or enroll in a course? Or ask someone to lunch who seems interesting to you and you want to learn from. There are a million ways to always be learning. Don't worry so much about how it all adds up - it adds up to YOU being YOU.
What is something you've always wanted to learn? What was the last conversation or topic that got you really excited - talking all fast and not paying attention to the time?