God has uncanny timing. I’ve been feeling restless– like I’m not doing what I really want to be doing.
Then my business partner gets hospitalized with a massive brain tumor and I’m stuck trying to hold together that which I don’t really want held together. It’s like I finally have an opportunity to make a change, to get out, but circumstances are such that I can’t really bail–not right now when he needs me most. And I don’t think I want to be 100% out because I truly love the creative work I do, but I do want to cut back on my hours and carve out some time to pursue my own passions. I feel too much a slave to my company–sometimes I want to scream–or sleep. . . ha ha, I think I really just need more sleep.
And then I wake up to an email from one of my favorite spiritual gurus, Wayne Dyer. It’s like he’s speaking to me from the dust–he passed away years ago–and yet his message lands perfectly in my inbox at this pivotal time. His words pierce my soul:
I’ve always had a knowing that whatever I’ve found interesting or exciting or passionate or moving or motivating, there’s a way to make a living at it. It doesn’t make any difference what it is. My son, Sands was passionate about surfing. He was attending college at the University of Central Florida and doing fine, but his whole life was about surfing. He’d get up in the morning and check where the waves are all over the world. I’d tell him he didn’t have to get a business degree now; he didn’t have to go to college in his 20’s. He talked endlessly about surfing—the feeling of being on a surfboard, riding that wave, being at one with the ocean.
I told him there was a way to make a living while following his passion. Imagine yourself there, I suggested, teaching people to surf, working in a surf shop, starting a surf shop, making surfboards, studying oceanography, being a boat captain who takes people to surfing locations. There are endless ways to be connected to your dream, to follow your bliss.
And it doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been doing something. When I share this in talks, men in their 40’s and 50’s tell me, “I can’t change professions now. I’ve been doing it for 25 years.”
I ask, “Who decided you would be an engineer or a doctor or a lawyer?”
“I decided when I was 18,” they say.
“And now you’re 50? Would you go to an 18-year-old for advice on what you should be doing with your life?”
That always makes them stop and think.
“Not unless that youngster tells you to listen to your bliss!” I remind them.
Joseph Campbell explained it perfectly when he said, “The person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money and not for purpose or passion, has turned himself into a slave.”
I think that is a really important lesson for us all.