“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”
This quote has been dogging me all month.
Imagine a world where everyone lived by this. Imagine yourself living by this—what would that look like?
I came across another Rumi quote the other day, leading me deeper into this thought-path: “Respond to every call that excites your spirit.”
I love running into those moments of this excited spirit in others—I love to see what makes your face light up when you talk about it. I met a guy in line at Starbucks who found a three cent nickel while digging in his garden, dated 1859. He proceeded to tell me the fascinating history around this era, so eloquently spoken.
That was his passion.
I heard on NPR the other day a scientist who has been studying how oysters and mussels make their “glue” that helps them stick to rocks…for 13 years! He said he’d love to invent that billion dollar idea for surgical glue, but it isn’t the end result he’s interested in—he loves the process. He came up with the idea while scuba diving, while he was being batted around by the waves on a particularly stormy day. He noticed the oysters, on the rocks his face was banging up against, were still staying put. And then he knew—that’s what he wanted to study. I heard it in his voice.
That was his passion.
I know another person who loves trees. He gets that spark in his eye and his voice gets animated when he’s explaining how a forest grows, or telling the Latin names of trees. His speech just flows.
That is his passion.
And there’s that word again: passion.
I’ve been drawn to this word since I first began having self-reflective thoughts. When I was little, I always—without a doubt—thought my career would have to be something I was passionate about. At the time, I thought I would be an artist; then later, a writer, after a brief stint with marine biologist.
What happened to that passionate child? And how did I end up exactly where I did not want to be?
I find myself moving towards her now. I started writing again. My fingers on the keyboard stirred the passion in my soul—writing excited my spirit. It gave my life meaning again. I could focus on something I enjoyed, instead of being consumed by a job I did not enjoy. It’s not even a bad job! I am grateful to have it, and I am helping people in it, but I don’t get that sparkle in my eye when I’m talking about it.
I really wonder, is this my calling? Is it my dharma?
I hadn’t really given much thought to dharma in many years. Life had just been cruising along. Then I stumbled across Stephen Cope’s new book, The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling. Like the Rumi quote, it spoke to me. Now I think about dharma a lot.
In the past, I had this idea that dharma is this nice, straight, paved path. You may have to bumble through the woods to get to it, but once you’re there, you can see clearly straight ahead for miles and miles. You just know it. It’s an easy walk, maybe it’s even one of those moving sidewalks, like in the airport.
It’s not that easy. Cope explains that sometimes our dharma can change. And, I think, it’s not really our dharma changing, but what we are doing with it. So, one job that suited your dharma fine for many years may not be any more. A few of us are blessed from a very early age with a gift, a drive, a straight-pathed dharma. Unfortunately, I think mine is a little winding and not so well-paved. There may even be some large boulders in the way.
So now what?
Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. In my morning meditation today, I had this thought—it is here. It is now. It’s already happening, don’t wait for it. Don’t wait around for that magic path to appear, act as if you’re already on it, even if that means stumbling blindly for a bit. At least you are moving. Stumbling blindly means you are on the path, even if you can’t see it through the fog, (or through that boulder you’re gonna need to move).
Catie Joyce practices and teaches Kundalini Yoga near the mountains of Western Maine. She is committed to sharing this practice in order to help others live a life of intension and discover their own unique dharma through following their passions. Find her blogging about yoga, life and healthy eating (as well as connect with her) through her website or on Facebook.
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Ed: K.Macku/Kate Bartolotta