What makes you come alive?

Image from peaceandprojects.com

Don’t ask yourself what the World needs

Ask yourself what makes you come alive

And then go and do that

Because what the World needs

Is people who have come alive.

~ Howard Thurman

Last night I was talking to a friend about art.  It comes easily to her, and she’s so good at it – and getting better all the time. A sketch can pour out of her pen in under ten minutes.  A few more of those moments to shade in some colour and she’s done. When I met her she was writing.  She struggled with the flow of her writing, although she enjoyed it. But writing never lit her up the way art does.

Often the things that come most easily to us, the things that we enjoy and find rewarding are also the things we value least in ourselves, precisely because they DO come easily.

I have another friend who is totally passionate about restoring old cars. He’s an accountant by trade, and loathes his day job.  He only comes alive at weekends, when he’s out at swap meets or car shows, or tinkering in his back shed. People seek him out for his knowledge, and are constantly asking him if he’d custom-make items for them. He usually says no because he doesn’t have enough time to do their work and his own. He’d never consider leaving his day job. There’s a certain security for him in being an accountant, even though he hates every minute of it.

I made a discovery a few years ago.  Life is precious.  Life is also fragile.  We never know when this crazy wonderful ride might end.  We certainly can never be sure how much time we have left, or when something we value and take for granted might be taken away from us.

These days I live with some clear priorities in mind. I write.  A lot.  My blog, an assortment of book manuscripts, and my spiritual and psychic courses and workbooks. And I cook, hang out with the ones I love, and squeeze travel into the gaps.  All those things have made me come alive again, after feeling burned out and nearly dead for longer than I care to remember.

Sometimes I get to combine all the good things – travel to a cafe, be with people I love, eat tasty treats and drink tea, write!

So now I have three questions for you. It’s okay if you don’t have an answer straight away, although you might. Here they are:

What comes easily to you?

What are you naturally good at?

What do you enjoy more than anything in the world?

If you truly don’t know, ask the people who know you well.  Weirdly, the people we love can often see the things we are blind to. (You know it’s true!)

If you still can’t work it out then dedicate time to finding out – consider it your personal quest. Sometimes life and the thing that will make us come alive finds us!

 

Case in point: I have another friend who is a successful farmhouse cheese-maker.  He did a weekend cheese-making workshop back when he was a schoolteacher, at a time when he was feeling dissatisfied and directionless in his life.  That weekend changed his life. He found out that he loved the entire process of making cheese. (And he’d only taken the workshop to avoid a wedding he didn’t want to go to on the same weekend!) Over time he did more and more workshops, travelled overseas to learn about the art of cheese-making, and finally stepped away from his day job to follow his new-found passion.

Image from aoap.com.au

There is something in the world that makes you come alive.  There is something, that when you give it room in your life, will let you shine.

Find that thing. Live that thing. Life’s too short to waste it on pursuits that will never make you happy.

Image from indulgy.com

33 thoughts on “What makes you come alive?

  1. It’s true that when you choose to do what you enjoy, rather than what you’ve just got into the habit of doing, life feels more worthwhile, every day, not just at weekends. Sometimes you need to be patient though, because when you choose a new direction there are hurdles to overcome and it can take you a while to make the most of doing what you really want to do. For years I wanted to write a book, and now I’ve done it, but I’m having to face delays at the printer, hassles with things not being done as or when I want them, a feeling of uncertainty and slight anguish because for the past few months I’ve been spending money not making it, and all of these things take the shine off how I feel about having completed the book. It can be a real gamble choosing to do what really excites you, and I can understand your accountant friend not taking the plunge to leave the security of his job. I do agree with you, however, that life is too short not to take that sort of risk. Where I’m at just now isn’t the best bit of the journey, but I’m sure that when these hurdles are overcome I’ll feel glad I made the life change. You have to take the long view, I guess, and when you’re as naturally impatient as I am that can be tricky!

    • Lorna, don’t be despondent about your beautiful Tearooms Book project. It’s kind of like being in labour, and then the labour hurts more and takes waaaay longer than you’d mentally prepared for. But soon you’ll hold that precious baby in your arms, love will blossom, and even though there might be a few more sleepless nights ahead, you’ll have produced something deeply satisfying and wonderful. I have so much faith in you and your book, so hang in there!!! ♥♥♥ xoxo

      • Thank you Nicole, I appreciate your kind words. I know you’re right, it will be great when I actually have it in my hands, and you’ve picked a good analogy. I’ve handed over complete control to the ‘midwife’ and ‘medical team’, and not being able to do anything but wait is trying to the nerves! While I wait I’m trying to occupy myself with other things and keep my pecker up, and your comment does help, thanks.

  2. Hmm!! Tricky one!! My kids, my dreams!! I’ll have to get back to you I think.. My life is Just beginning.. 🙂

  3. beautifully written! i am a dancer by trade, and have just discovered drawing…it seems to come easily, but then again so does dance…writing too…hmmm…i need to think about this some more:) excellent food for thought!

  4. bless petal, you’re inspiring me to re-structure my life, lol! i go away, have all these insights, then come back and find your blog a touchstone in sync with me – hahaha!! hope you’re smiling and joyous and same for everyone who touches your blog! sweet cheers sx

  5. I just had a similar conversation with someone this week. She was showing me pictures of some of her paintings, which are truly stunning, and yet she struggles with feeling that they are not worth much as painting comes easily to her. She puts on music, picks up her paintbrush and magic happens.
    What comes easily to me/ – writing poetry. I sit down and the words flow through me.

    What are you naturally good at? writing.

    What do you enjoy more than anything in the world? writing

    And the answers to these questions are why I will soon be leaving my day job and begin earning my living by offering my writing services to those for whom writing does not come easily.
    This was a great confirmation for me today so thank you so much for this post.
    walk in beauty.

  6. I’m naturally good at singing, but it’s not something I want to make a living out of. I love helping horses in need (I was terrified of them 7 years ago!), and I can see that will be something I do when we eventually have our farm. I would love to be able to communicate with animals more effectively so that I can help them on their healing journey. I seem to be able to link in with the pain that abused/neglected/terrified horses are going through, and I want to help them overcome it.

    Hopefully one day I can do this!

  7. Difficult to choose one thing but I think it is writing. Everyone nags me to go back to the university but I don’t want to. I want to write but I also need to generate an income.

  8. OMG! What would I do without the blogging community? I’d still be lost and walking adrift… Posts like this one help me return to the right direction. Thank you 🙂

  9. as always Nicole…beautiful written – both precise and concise. such an important for all of us-we all go through periods when we feel we cannot “afford” to do what it is we are good at and enjoy-for many reasons…some people never get past that place. Others of us do, but we certainly pay a price for it, in many different ways. Very often the decision comes down to deciding what price you are willing to pay for you to be able to live as you truly desire to. BUt once the decision is made, no matter difficult it may seem at times (love the idea above about giving birth), it is always worth it in the end.
    much love light and JOY as always to you – 🙂

  10. Thanks for another inspiring post Nicole. I love the quote at the end, one that I wrote down in a journal when I started learning to follow what makes me come alive. When we can do what it is that calls to our soul, then we are truly living.

    • And if we don’t our Soul is always dying a little. In the end there isn’t much sense in not following the calling of our Soul. I love knowing that so many brave people are heeding that voice inside and making room in their lives for what makes them happy. Much love to you {{{HUGS}}} xx

  11. Great reflection and awareness Nicole,

    What comes easily to you?
    Creativity, it’s my core universal human virtue; a ‘student’ of The Maestro of Creativity, Leonardo da Vinci; takes the form of thinking (have 3 planets within 1 degree in the 12th house of my western astological chart), and writing and drawing/painting and initiating new ‘designs’ for infinite possibilities to build capacity integrating the new Aquarian paradigm (personal to collective) for liberation and freedom and joy and bliss and grce and reverence

    What are you naturally good at?
    Researching and writing and coaching and mentoring

    What do you enjoy more than anything in the world?

    The company of good ‘loving soul mates’, good real rich conversation, good home grown simple healthy tasty food, good lemon tart and cream, good coffee, good music, in a good homely farm house on a rainy winter’s day with an open fire and slow combustion wood stove

    Much GratitudenAppreciationnLovenLightnBlessings to you Nicole, from
    PhillipTMorley

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