This post came to me while I was out with my Baxter 💕 Now, Baxter is the sort of pooch who walks very slowly, stopping to sniff each and every pebble and blade of grass. So needless to say, I often use the time to daydream or meditate on the move.
On this afternoon’s amble to the park I was thinking about a video I saw on Instagram earlier. It was Kyle Gray the renowned angel expert performing an extremely impressive yoga sequence (p.s. I’ve posted it at the end of this post, you should check it out!).
Just playing with the ‘what if’ for a moment, I wondered – because he seems so good at yoga (to my untrained eye anyway) – what if he were to shift his focus from angels to yoga, and yoga becomes his thing?
Lets imagine this scenario: Kyle Gray decides to focus on yoga from now on and will be doing no more angel stuff. Yoga is IT for him now. Does that make his angel work less valid because he decided to prioritise yoga? Does it make his yoga less valid because he used to prioritise his work with angels? Will people criticise him, or think him foolish for ‘getting it wrong the first time’, or make fun of him for being ‘indecisive’ or ‘flighty’?
Of course not! We would still be thankful that he shone the spotlight on angels and gave us so much useful information. There would be many more thousands of people in the world who would come to discover his angel work and benefit and be inspired by it, even though he would not be producing new work on the subject. Fans of his work on angels would have their eyes opened to yoga through his example, and vice versa for the people who meet him first through his yoga.
We would just accept that his soul purpose is calling him to travel down a fork in the road which, to the average observer, looks very different to the path he’s walked so far.
OK so that’s a hypothetical scenario featuring Kyle Gray. But why is it any different for the rest of us?
It’s not, is it.
And yet, so many people are afraid to follow their hearts, for a myriad of reasons revolving around how others may judge them.
Here is something I think I know, after many years of soul searching:
Our soul purpose is not our career: it is living and breathing and loving as our authentic self.
It is allowing ourselves to experience the lessons we are here for, and to follow our passions, no matter what others think.
And this applies both to the people who haven’t yet found their passion, or those that have found their passions but are scared about putting themselves out there.
Let me tell you this:
There is no shame in putting your heart and soul into something and then realising it is not right for you.
There is nothing wrong with starting a career in one thing that inspires you and then shifting into something even more inspiring.
Because it is your authentic self which is the inspiration. Every time you have a change of heart, learn something new, discard something old, “make a mistake” – THAT is you living authentically, and THAT is your soul purpose, and THAT is true inspiration that you are gifting the world.
People think they must get it right the first time, and MAKE IT WORK, otherwise they are a failure. But that is simply not true.
I finally learnt this lesson in my early 30s. Having wanted to act all my life, I was distraught and lost and prideful at the very notion that living an actor’s life – the rejection, the frustration, the jealousy – was something I should put a pin in for the sake of my mental health, and try something else. It wasn’t until someone very wise pointed out to me that anybody of any profession – from actors to doctors – can study or train or practice for years and then realise it isn’t right for them. It DOESN’T make them stupid or a failure. It just happens.
It has taken many more years and the discovery of people like Marianne Cantwell of Free Range Humans and Emily Wapnick of Puttylike to discover that my ideals and values, my dreams, my desire for variety and purpose, and my inability to handle a job I hate “like normal people do”, were actually valid qualities that I should be proud of. Not be ashamed of and bury them as deeply as I could manage.
That, my friends, is how you can end up really ill and unhappy (as detailed by many previous posts on this blog).
So I’m hoping that anybody who is where I was, when I was looking into the gaping hole where my acting dreams used to be and I was frozen solid with fear of failing again, will hear me when I say: you are already living your purpose and no matter what you do next it is your purpose to do it. That knowledge should free you from the crushing burden of needing to know the Exact. Right. Next. Move.
But to be really inspiring to the world, show us your authentic self. Live by your passions and shine your light.
And now for the video that kicked this all off!