Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ebb and Flow


And so it goes that I failed miserably at my goal. The thirty post fizzle, I like to call it. In consequence, I had a small revelation this past week, inspired by my defeat and urged along by this painting. Nothing profound, that's for sure, and something that most people already know. But sometimes you don't really feel it till you swallow it whole.

A little over a year ago, I became really lazy at updating my blog. This weighed on me, because I viewed it as a personal failure and lack of discipline on my part. I'd think, "Why can't I keep it up, I really like writing" or "I used to be motivated, what's wrong with me now?" I played this game for a good long time, blaming it on being busy, but inwardly believing that "life" was just an excuse. If you honestly have a passion for something, it'll take more than a bit of chaos to kill it. And that's what bothered me most. That writing was just a phase, not a passion, and when it's sheen lacked luster, it was forgotten and replaced by the next shiny bauble. This was disappointing since I've waited my whole life to discover a passion bubbling beneath my surface, like a geyser that can't be contained once it sets itself free. I've always envied people who have a force working inside of them so strongly that it changes their lives, gives them direction, and sweeps them up in a way that nothing else can. Is this what I intended for myself with an ambition like that? A regulated attempt to inspire myself? Did I think that by force feeding myself thirty posts, I would ignite a sleeping passion that would gush forth and grow exponentially once my goal received it's checkmark?

In Ken Robinson's book The Element he talks about how most people never discover or pursue their passion because they ultimately feel they must set their true desires aside for financial reasons. Or, if they do pursue them, they eventually give up when they encounter disapproval or become fearful and discouraged along the way. I read that and thought, "Bingo?" I remember being in 9th or 10th grade, and though I was sort of shy, I was very funny and witty. My secret idol was Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live. I would watch her skits and think "that is me." I could absolutely relate to her and knew deep down I was capable of doing what she did. I could pull the same faces and let myself go in a wild, uninhibited way. I was good at impersonations and never felt better than when I was making other people laugh. I recently connected with a very good friend of mine. He and I were very similar in our personalities and certainly had an appreciation for each others' wit. One of the first things he said to me in his note was, "are you still the funniest girl I ever knew?" My heart sunk just a little as I thought, "not even close" but typed back, "of course!" Or what about the comment from my creative writing teacher that has pricked at me since June of '88. "Oh Jennifer! You have a writer's eye and an angel's heart. Don't ever stop writing!" Thank you Ms. McGarvey. You really inspired me to... hmmm... what? I'm not really sure. Start a blog 20 years later?

I sometimes imagine what it will be like in the next life when I come face to face with the real me. What will I conclude when I see myself in all my natural glory (perish the thought) and fully cognizant of the person I might have become. Will I understand that if I had only taken the right turn as opposed to the left, or seized a moment I dared not catch, that I would have placed myself on my authentic path? The path which lead to a vast world of my own personal passion? That line of thinking doesn't last long, however, because then I remember it probably won't be my own hand I'm shaking up there in the clouds, but Jesus's, and he'll greet me with "Have you done any good in the world today" and "Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?" I doubt he'll ask, did you "take your passion, and make it happen?" until a good thirty minutes in.

While I like to believe Mr. Robinson is on to something when he says "finding your passion will change everything" I can't help but think of Cicero. Not the real one, but the servant from Gladiator, with the scar on his face. His telling words have run through my mind countless times. To set the scene, Maximus (my love) has just been asked by Marcus Arelius to succeed him as Emperor of Rome. Maximus is conflicted and distraught because all he wants is to go home to his family and live a simple life. He asks the humble Cicero how he personally resolves the conflict between duty and individual desire and Cicero replies, "sometimes I do what I want to, but most of the time I do what I have to." And therein lies the epiphany.

When I first saw the painting, "The Dance of Ebb and Flow," I imagined the swaying rhythm and whisper of the ocean music with it's promise of an endless dance that would neither stray nor rest. The ebb and flow of the tides. The increase followed by the decrease; the decrease followed by the increase. The rising tide knows she must reach as far as she can, for in that moment of deepest extension, the ebb is always there, drawing swiftly back and taking her place.

11 comments:

Lauralee said...

LOVE this... thank you for writing it down.... you are amazing to me- how you collect your thoughts and express yourself so well... thank you!

jessamyn said...

You should be writing a book!

Anonymous said...

Thanks you, Sweetie. You speak to my heart and soul. I love everything about you. I am down the road a little farther than you and can remember very well the phase that you are in. Mothering was so satisfying for me and I loved most of it. But, it does end. I kept praying for a "career", but it never came. I worked forever; but, it was just "work". Then it happened. I was open to "whatever" when I returned to Utah and it did happened. I became a landlady. I know most people hate that profession; but, I loved it. I could say at the end of the day that I had done some good and I had helped some people. Now I am in another phase with a few "wonderings"; but this too will have its special meaning. Just be open and keeping being "you". You will always have a full life. Aunt Nancy

Fletch said...

very inspiring passage to read, i think it's safe to say it applies to us all. one quote my mom always told me is 'what you love you make time for' and that's something i try to keep in mind with my own photo business & in general every free moment. it parallels what your saying & i echo jessamyn's remark that you should publish! xox

partii said...

If you could just change your passion from writing to, let's say house cleaning, cooking and serving your man, we could have a win win.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog post, person. I read it twice. Some parts thrice. I'm leaving this comment as a carrot.
I hope it works.

VEGAS VIC said...

One never knows what their kids are really thinking. It was great reading some of what makes you tick.
You do have a great way of expressing yourself, on and off the paper. Keep nourishing your gift.

KM

Mrs. Organic said...

Lovely, absolutely lovely.

Anjie said...

Hello to the carrot. You are such a cutie pie too! Well written my dear.

Eva said...

You may not even see this since you posted long ago, but I just want to reassure you that you have been making differences all along. I remember when you were my Sunday School teacher as a newlywed, and then in YW! And you taught a bunch of us in YW over the years. It may not be writing, but shaping people surpasses shaping words and ideas in my book :).

kamille frey said...

LOVED THIS