Painting in my office.
This weekend, Andy and I went by the DeYoung Museum’s new exhibit of Impressionist paintings that are from one of my favorite museums in the world, the Musee D’Orsay, in Paris. Ohmigosh. So, so, so very beautiful.
I left the museum that afternoon feeling something that I feel every time I leave a museum: With that delicious feeling of, “I wanna do that!”
I call this following your “inner YES!”, that feeling inside that knows it wants something, craves something.
Some of us are people who have a LOT of inner “YES!” feelings, and then the challenge becomes knowing which ones to follow. I am one of those people. There is so much beauty, so many beautiful things that I’m attracted to, that in the past I have frequently found myself thinking I needed to figure out what my calling was, and stick to it.
I used to think that passion and play were not “the serious stuff,” that what I really needed to focus on was something like getting my life all “pulled together and balanced.”
It was only after my coach challenged me to make a joy list and do at least 2 things on that list, daily, that I realized how much resistance I had to passion and play. I had plenty of experience with anger and sadness, but my childhood and subsequent early adult years had not provided me with a lot of training in how to have a really fun, joyful experience. Sure, I laughed and made jokes. But did I walk around with an experience of real and true deep inner joy?
And the side of me that was in need of a lot of healing told me that it wasn’t “practical” to expect that I would feel a lot of joy during my day. It wasn’t “realistic” to expect to be joyful within. And besides, weren’t those joy-filled types the ones who got made fun of as cheesy and ridiculous? I wouldn’t want to be one of those people.
Or would I?
There’s this thing that happens when we start tapping into more passion and play in our lives, this really cool thing where we start realizing first that the more unhappy one is, the more it is a choice. And second, that there’s an immense amount of compassion to have for anyone making that choice (not pity–compassion. True acceptance that that’s the choice they make, it’s painful, it isn’t easy, and that they’re making the choice for good reasons, while holding space that at any moment they’ll choose to shift out of that).
Choosing passion and play in my life has turned out to be the most practical of choices, the choice that strings life together in a completely different way. And yup, it is even practical to believe that one can occupy that space a good amount of time (the part that gets people into trouble, usually, is when we expect ourselves to be that all of the time, to never struggle, and then we want to give up at the first sign of setback. I totally get it.)
Also, the joy-filled types do get made fun of–and that’s okay. I’m choosing the experience I want to have on this earth, and others are choosing theirs. Why not simply accept that they have as much right to choose theirs as I do, my own? I’m fully behind my choices for my life. They serve me.
It’s a Story that there is just this one thing we are meant to do with life, or that there is a “Jack of all trades, master of none” thing going on. I think that it’s totally possible to dive into following your Inner YES! with abandon, and that all sorts of lovely things come out that way. I also think–and this is important!–that all of the bits and pieces of our lives need not be perfectly aligned for joy to come in.
We can start now, and start small. I don’t have an artist’s studio. My “studio” is a 2×3′ table purchased for $20 from IKEA. Many of my supplies are stored in a disorganized and haphazard fashion. I have to pull almost all of them out if I want to create anything. I remember the days when I told myself that I needed “a space” to create. I also no longer believe that one needs lots of “time.” Twenty minutes a day can go a long way towards connecting you with your passion and play.
This is one of those areas where the question must be asked: To what are you more committed, your vision or your resistance?
It’s okay to be in a resistant space. You’ll still be loved. Just keep noticing what you’re more committed to, moment to moment, and be prepared to make a leap when you’re ready for something to shift.