As the calendar turns to a new month, many resolutions have been put away with the rest of the already-old, New Year activities. However, for many of us, it’s still a time of new beginnings. A new beginning, a fresh outlook on spirituality and, perhaps, a course for how it will affect our lives in the coming months.
Some of us are excited by change and can find the good in any down period. Seeing the brighter side of life not only benefits us on a superficial level, but also within ourselves. We have the ability to obtain the all-access pass to an enormous amount of inner creativeness that helps us to afford the luxury of happiness and peace of mind, heart and soul.
Usually the practice of tapping into our vital source of love and fulfilment takes a bit of work — you need focus and discipline. During off-days, it’s good for us to set aside time to unplug from the world and rely only on our senses to guide us. Enjoying simple tasks, such as quietly reading a spiritual book, relaxing through meditation, or listening to soft sounds, allows us to feel calm and figure out our true desires. Just sitting quietly alone in the sun with our thoughts is a good practice; it can also point us in the direction of our life’s purpose.
A friend Wang Qi from China came to me feeling down, a few years ago. She asked me for advice on how to find her purpose in life. She was a bit unsatisfied with her teaching career and felt something was missing. I couldn’t give her the exact answer as to why she was feeling lost, but I came up with ways to help her. First, I asked her, “What are you giving back to life at this moment?” This question usually helps pull a person’s mind out from ‘self’ and back on life as a whole. She was unable to answer.
We tend to sometimes become disillusioned with life, feeling that it owes us something, or more, for our hard work. We work in this universe as pieces to a large puzzle — our abilities and talents represent the unique shapes of one beautiful picture. But, when we forget or misinterpret our purpose we begin to compare our successes with others, or worse yet life becomes a tad dull because we serve only the purposes set aside by our influences — parents, media, or society.
The second activity involved getting back into shape [yes, exercise]. We generally feel good about ourselves when our bodies are in good shape. So, we started doing cardio three times a week. Jogging along the stream near my house also served another purpose: discussing her goals. Though our jogs were comparable to barely walking, we had fun laughing, sharing, and growing. We first talked about Qi's dreams of the past. Then, we discussed her hobbies, talents and things she liked to do for fun.
Next, we created a short list that involved creative activities like drawing, painting and craft-making, setting aside an hour a week to doing them. During these creative sessions, she discovered she was a talented artist. She was able to turn ordinary items into eclectic and intricate pieces of art. She turned soda cans into miniature model chairs with tables. She used shiny rhinestones broken from her sandals to create a falling leaf picture. She made beautiful accessories for her collages. She used her talent and made gifts for friends, sold hand-made jewellery at work and drew characters for one of my children’s book series.
PURSUE YOUR FLAIR
Up until this point, she never knew she was good at art, so she never pursued it. In fact, her talent was considered a waste of time in her hometown. Our casual 10-minute jogs turned to 20-minute runs where we would focus on her specific plan of action to achieve her dreams of fulfilment in her life. Gradually, she began venturing out during her creative hour to take pictures of the local people and shops in town. All this time, I was deeming myself as special with a camera — even purchasing an expensive Canon to prove my ability — albeit my skills held 'no candle' to her works of art called ‘pics.’ Even a simple picture of autumn leaves received favourable comments on Facebook. Her mindful eye paid close attention to detail and she found beauty in simple things that others would rather ignore. She felt in her heart that taking photos should be a part of her life as a career and, at once, she began to live her dream. Her once-frowned face glowed with excitement whenever she took photos, or made craft. We celebrated her new-found gifts as victories, since she not only found joy in life, again, she was also giving back to it. More recently, she was working on her Website each week, posting photos, and also published her children’s book with illustrations.
We all have something to offer life in the form of our inner potential and abilities. Qi’s Chinese roots were not conducive to a creative environment, so she ignored her gifts. But, without her talent, a piece of life was missing from the puzzle. Some of us may lie dormant with our gifts for many years. It is up to us to find out exactly what we can do to contribute to our journey while on earth. Don’t miss another opportunity, or moment, in life to start something new. Sit down in a comfortable room, turn off the electronic glitz for about an hour, and think quietly to yourself about what you really want. Find a new creative gift that might just help change your world in a small way.