Blog and Email for November 22, 2020:
Subject Line: What’s the point?
Inbox Preview: See “why we do things” with fresh eyes 👀!
Good morning, Gentle People😊,
I hope your Sunday is off to a good start. I have had a good week with some tremendously fun and rewarding moments and some periods of sadness, grief, and loss—all intertwined. Such is the way of life, it seems.
Author Kurt Vonnegut told a story that sparked the topic for today’s blog and email.
I LOVE WORDS and their POWER TO MOVE ME.
I guess since I’m an author, that makes sense! What you may not know about me is that I am both a VORACIOUS LEARNER and a WOEFULLY DISINTERSTED student. Let me explain.
How can I be both?
It depends on the subject matter!
When I am passionate about a subject, I GO ALL IN. Who are we? Why are we here? Who is God? Who is guiding our lives and how? How do we access ancient wisdom? How does it work in our lives today? How can we TRULY KNOW OURSELVES and how can we know and relate better to each other? What makes us happy? How do we find joy, peace, comfort, calm? HUMOR, HUMOR, HUMOR . . . make me laugh and I’ll be interested in ANYTHING.
Then there’s this:
How does a car work? How do you fix a broken toilet? Why is there erosion? How does an engineer design a structure? How were the planets formed? What makes volcanoes erupt? Blah, blah, blah. No, thank you.
Wonderful mechanic, please fix my car and make it run so I may get back safely on the roads. Gifted plumber, allow me to poop and flush without incident, and I’ll delightfully pay you to do what YOU love. No need to explain—just get me “back in business” . . . LOL . . . and I’ll be forever grateful. Thank you very much!
What’s fascinating is realizing that when I DO WHAT I LOVE, I often become viewed as an expert.
My last manager, the wise and rock-solid Denise, told me she wasn’t worried about my success with a project I found challenging because “you will dig until you figure it out.” She was SPOT ON. I will DIG DEEP in order to understand all the facets and nuances of a subject—if my heart is in it. If not, well, let’s just say, it doesn’t get done.
Back to Kurt Vonnegut and how my story is relevant.
Check this out and see if it blows your mind like it did mine:
“When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archeological dig. I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to know you” questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What’s your favorite subject? And I told him, no I don’t play any sports. I do theater, I’m in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.
And he went WOW. That’s amazing! And I said, “Oh no, but I’m not any good at ANY of them.”
And he said something then that I will never forget and which absolutely blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before: “I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.”
And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn’t been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could “Win” at them.
Holy Cannoli! What a novel idea!
Do things because we ENJOY them, whether we are “good” at them or not!
For much of my life I have not done things that I LOVE because I didn’t think I was good at them. For example, I’m an AVID appreciator of art and music in all forms, loving how the beauty, the sounds, and the lyrics move me and touch a place deep in my soul. But I have always called myself just that, “an appreciator.” I’m no artist nor musician. AND NOW I WONDER . . . What if??? WHAT IF I COULD actually MAKE art or music JUST FOR THE JOY of doing it????
BOOM . . . MIND BLOWN!
During my mental illness treatment, expressive arts activities were incredibly powerful for me. I did not find myself “good” at them, but releasing my feelings through painting, coloring, drawing, dancing, and making music was an instrumental (pun intended . . . LOL) part of my healing process.
I realize now that I NEED to make these expressions a regular part of my life to continue the healing. WE ALL need this.
As I said last week, we all have traumas and struggles as part of being human. And in a prior blog, I shared many ways for us to release our pain: talking to a therapist or trusted friend, meditating, exercising, being in nature.
This week, I’m adding one more tool to our toolbox of healing: creative expression. Writing has been one tool for me, and now I will happily add art, music, and dancing to the list—even if I’m not “good” at them.
Less-technological cultures than ours sometimes possess a deeper wisdom about spirit.
In some African tribes, the shaman might ask four powerful questions if you were struggling:
- When was the last time you danced?
- When was the last time you sang?
- When was the last time you told a story?
- When was the last time you sat alone in stillness?
The shamans believe that “such practices actually inspire the soul, and better connect us to the divine and sustaining forces of life.”
So write, dance, sing, paint!
And remember that, as a spiritual community, we can lift up one another by sharing our joys. Please share in the comments ONE THING you added to your life just because you love it—even if you’re not good at it.
Notice I’m back to being wordy after my shorter email last week. Being brief didn’t last long. . .LOL! My editor Susan said, “Long is ok as long as you’re saying something people need to hear.”
As my VORACIOUSLY LOVING and HILARIOUS Mama might say:
“Now, ain’t that the truth?”❤️😊
Wishing you peace, joy, and angel blessings😇.
With love and gratitude,
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Photo Credit: Work Your Light Oracle Cards by Rebecca Campbell with Artwork by Danielle Noel
 “Author Kurt Vonnegut On Learning New Skills,” University of California Santa Barbara Associated Students Media Center, Retrieved Nov. 19, 2020, https://mediacenter.as.ucsb.edu/author-kurt-vonnegut-on-learning-new-skills/.
 Steve Mitten, “When Did You Last Dance? Sing? Shamanic Wisdom To Give You A Boost,” The Coaching Tools Company, July 18, 2014, https://www.thecoachingtoolscompany.com/when-was-last-time-you-danced-sang-told-a-story-shamanic-wisdom-by-steve-mitten/.