Day Three of my blogging challenge, the assignment: to write about my objective when I first started this blog. Well I cheated and looked back, it was 2007 when this blog was started with a long hiatus right after. But I see my objective hasn’t changed much, though it’s certainly a lot clearer. Back then I’d no idea where I wanted to go with this blog. I started with a poem from William Henry Channing, “My Symphony.”* Its essence is still very much what I’m about today, though I wasn’t too clear about that then. Essentially it speaks of living from one’s essence, one’s inner, intrinsic ideals, not from outside impetus, or externals. And that’s probably what I wanted to blog about.
Over the years I’ve wandered around North America and a bit beyond and found many people living from a strong sense of personal purpose, but many who aren’t and it would seem many of the woes of the world stem from people operating with good intentions but from unclear ideas about what would work best for them regardless of what others are doing. So, lots of unhappy, sometimes successful people, oftentimes not. And a messed up world in consequence.
While it isn’t for me to tell anyone how to design their roadmap, I would certainly suggest the need to at least have one, something to fall back on when things fall apart, which they often do. That little map reminds why we’re doing what we’re doing when things get wacky and don’t seem worth it. I see that I’ve kept close to my inner compass even when it seemed I was making a terrible mistake because I wasn’t doing what everyone else was doing, or getting some of the things everyone else had that seemed attractive, like fame and fortune for example. But, as someone told me when I was complaining, I’d been true to myself, hadn’t sold out. In many ways, I’d been protected, possibly because my inner compass was working when I didn’t know it.
There was the time when I didn’t get a big job on Wall Street, apparently because people like me were virtually unknown there at that time, people of color, and women. And I’m both! The Wall Street firms were tripping all over themselves trying to figure out how to deal with us. In the end I was not one of the few from those categories who got hired. Another time I did get a big offer and found myself turning it down because my inner voices were saying No! At the time I was disappointed, it seemed unfair that I should lose out on money and prestige. In later years I realized I’d been protected from a world with very different principles from mine where I wouldn’t have thrived.
I’m just not driven by status or fortune first. I’ve always had a desire to make a difference. I’m happier as Channing points out, with intangibles like refinement and elegance rather than luxurious digs, bling as they now call it; worthiness rather than status, or respectability. Making the world better. More money would of course have been welcome, but I seem to have my limits, when it comes to what I’ll do to get it.
What I want to say is many of us don’t take the time, or aren’t fortunate enough to get the guidance to learn what we’re made of, what makes us tick, what makes us thrive. What soil we need to be planted in. Some are miserable in desk jobs with big mortgages and college tuitions to plan for, along with paying off their own student loans when they discover too late they’re living a life out of sync with their internal core. They discover after the fact how much happier and more productive they’d be tinkering with tools, or working in the outdoors, playing guitar, or teaching kindergarten. Or, some who are teaching kindergarten realize they’d be happier with the excitement and demands of running a large state!
So, my blogging is about finding out what makes us happy, what makes us thrive, and in so doing, makes the world lovelier.
In truth, I think it’s never too late or too early, whether one is 16 or 60, somewhere before, after, or in-between those numbers, to take five and ask the right questions. Read our internal manual. We all came with one, just as our gadgets do. It’s written in our spiritual DNA. Our code. What we care about in this life, our personal, private values, our personal passion? Is it fortune, family, nature, integrity, fun, challenge, excitement, creativity, helping other people, being on our own? What? And coincidentally, the more each of us is operating properly, the better the universe appears to function!
Wandering around without reading our inner roadmap and sticking to it, can lead to lots of unnecessary heartache. Even without, so far, some of the things I’d like to have, or thought I wanted, the bling, I can’t say I wish I’d neglected my inner compass to get them. I’ve learned a huge lesson about what’s important in life staying focused on my spiritual journey, more so than getting all the stuff I was raised to go after, accomplishment, achievement, symbols of success, or even a failed marriage, preferable to none at all my mother suggested. But I disagree and see my stubborn resistance has made sense. It’s just me.
But that’s my path, my symphony I’m writing, not necessarily anyone else’s. Here’s hoping I blog about something that helps others write their own.
William Henry Channing: