Most of us are busy. “Busy” means different things to different people, but by this I mean that a lot of us are operating at full capacity most of the time.
Do you ever feel like you’re just spinning your wheels, or is your busyness moving you in a clear direction? Is that direction somewhere you want to go? Did you choose it? Do you know why you want to go there?
The other day, I noticed that I felt off. It wasn’t quite sadness, so I wrote in my journal to try and sort it out. I realized that I was feeling a bit lost and disoriented, and it was really uncomfortable.
How could I feel lost? I’m very ambitious, I have lots of goals mapped out, and I know the basic steps to accomplishing those goals. I sat with the feeling a little longer and realized something that I’ve never thought of before.
Goals are nothing without purpose. I have goals, but that’s not the same as having direction. Goals are what we want to accomplish, but purpose is why we want to accomplish it.
I believe we all have a purpose in this life, and that mine is to have joy and share it with others so that they might have joy too. That’s what I try to do with my art and writing. I’m not talking about the joy you feel when you watch a funny movie, but the joy you have to work for and that comes when you know yourself and learn hard lessons and develop a deeper understanding of your own purpose.
When we have purpose, we can align ourselves with that and work toward our goals much more efficiently and mindfully. When we forget our purpose, our actions feel empty.
Finding your purpose is a deep life question, but I’ve found that with some observation of your actions and desires, your talents and interests, it’s actually fairly simple. I’ll leave that question for you.
I’m curious. What are your goals? Are they part of a deeper purpose, or are you still figuring that one out?
Every time I fill a journal, I feel like I’m closing a chapter of my life and embarking on a new one, even though nothing in my life changes other than the book in which I write my thoughts. Sometimes it’s crazy to realize that I’ve filled an entire book.
This last journal is a special accomplishment. I’ve never learned and grown as much as I have during the time recorded in my most recent journal. I’ve gone from overweight, depressed, anxious and nearly hopeless to grateful, joyful, conscious, and at peace with my body and life. I’ve reconnected to my creativity and I’m laying the foundation for a career that mirrors who I am.
I always wonder who will end up reading my journals and whether he or she will need the help of a handwriting analyst to do so. Probably my children and grandchildren. They’ll learn more about me than they ever wanted to know. Sometimes I worry about what I’ve written, that it will shame me someday. My journals are intensely personal, and I often cringe when I read my teenage journals; the love drama, disordered eating and thought patterns, over-dramatic musings over things that seem so trivial now.
What can I say. I’m an emotional person. I feel things deeply, and for a long time I didn’t know how to handle those feelings. I thought they’d eat me alive. Every unrequited crush, bad grade, pound gained or bad day felt like the end of the world, like it could swallow me whole.
I’m far from perfect, but I feel like I’m in a good place. I’m far more balanced now than I’ve ever been before, and I feel more alive than I did as a child climbing trees in the backyard. I think I have a healthy sense of perspective, direction for my life and career, a solid foundation for handling emotions and caring for myself, and my self-esteem is better than it has ever been. It’s sad that it took me 23 years to discover my own worth, but not unusual. Everyone hits this point at different times, and some never arrive at all. I may not always be this healthy either, I may have to rediscover this place a few times throughout my life. Now that I know where it is, hopefully it will be easier to find in the future.
I wonder if the word “journal” shares a root with “journey”. That’s what a journal is to me.
Most of my blog post start out as journal entries. Unfortunately, this means a lot of them end up sitting on paper for awhile until I get around to typing them up and polishing them to show you.
I just found this entry, and even though it’s a little out of season, I really wanted to share it with you. I wrote this on my trip to Lake Powell this last summer.
One of my greatest struggles in life is allowing things; letting things happen naturally instead of forcing them, being taught instead of plowing through experiences with a machete as if they were tangled jungles.
I’m an artist and a writer, and I used to think that everything should inspire me to write or create art. Too often I wouldn’t even do that because I was too busy waiting for the urge to strike instead of accepting what the situation gifted to me.
This trip to Lake Powell for instance. Most of the time I sit on the deck and read. I expected to write here, to be moved to sketch the beauty of the landscape or capture its grace in a poem. Instead, I’ve been hiking and swimming and kayaking, paddle surfing and wave running and cliff jumping. Neglecting my body’s hunger and fullness cues a little but sleeping like the dead at night. I feel alive. Amazing. Despite the sore shoulders and arms floppy with exhaustion, I’m invigorated.
This landscape inspires me to connect with my body, to physically explore the space around me and my own body and mind. I’m connected to my child-self, to uncover the long-buried imagination like an ancient artifact from a place I lived in another life. Were I here as a child I would have climbed rocks pretending I was a Native American, swam like a mermaid in my magical realm, that this houseboat is a ship taking us to a magical place to search for an unknown treasure, something I’d recognize once I found it. I build on this story each day I’m here.
I know this will inspire me to write or make art later, but now, in the moment of being here it inspires me to be and explore, and that’s just as beautiful and creative as art and poetry. I don’t think I’ll ever be the type of artist who’s inspired to draw every beautiful thing I see, or to write an essay about every sunset as it happens, but I’d rather watch them, be there with them and store those feelings and images in my treasure box, the well deep inside my soul that I dip into each time I create. The feelings will come out eventually in some form. They’re never lost.
I promise I’ll try to be more prompt with turning my journal entries into posts. The summery post is kind of nice while it’s cold outside though.
Well, the past few months have been crazy awesome busy, and hopefully I’ll be able to unveil my secret project later this week!
Also, with this underway I’m planning on posting regularly again, so stay tuned for regular spouting from McKella’s fountain of wisdom. Ha.
Ok, with housekeeping out of the way, it’s time for me to share with you one of the most important things I’ve learned in this year of tremendous growth. Just two little words, a special mantra I’ve used to keep my head on straight through stress and fear.
This is actually one of many mantras I’ve used over the past few months, but let me tell you why this one is special.
- It’s reminds us that we are the masters of our own lives, and that we are powerful. If something isn’t working out for us, if we’re struggling to overcome a harmful habit or if we feel trapped, we can always choose something else. We live in a free country where we always have options, and you can always make a choice to change.
- Knowing we have a choice changes our mindset. Instead of thinking in terms of “should” and “have to”, we can see our abundance of options. Instead of feeling overpowered to binge or let people walk all over us, we can choose to listen to our bodies, to stand up for ourselves. Having a choice sets us free.