Sunday, July 17, 2011

Difficulty as Opportunity

   "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."  — Albert Einstein

    "I sure hope the difficulties I'm experiencing are an opportunity disguised as a bunch of crap... And not just crap."  — Jen Rarey
   I'm struggling a bit this week. Maybe I have been for a while, but it didn't occur to me until two days ago. Call it a third-life crisis if you like. In a nutshell, I'm wondering if my life is on the path it's supposed to be on, and worried that I'm not going to accomplish whatever on earth I was put on this earth to do. I've talked to just a handful of people about it, and the funny thing is, I've been compelled to talk about it (it's a bit unusual for me to want to put my feelings into words), but not necessarily to those that I would have predicted I'd turn to. I naturally went to those who don't know me as well, but whom have deep life experiences.
   Patty, Kathy, Pam and Ben have all given me some good advice. They've said to take a good, hard look at my priorities, minimize whatever is distracting me from them, and above all, to take some time for myself. Kathy thinks I'm having a spiritual awakening. That perhaps my soul has broken into pieces and I'm in search of whatever might make me feel whole again. Whatever you want to call it, I'm suddenly feeling very unsettled, and I've never felt this before. My whole life I've thought I've known exactly what I was "supposed" to be doing and I've gone after it full bore. And I think for the most part, I've achieved everything I've attempted.
   When I said this to Patty I myself was surprised as the words left my mouth, as if I didn't know where they originated, "I'm worried that if I died tomorrow, I wouldn't have made a real difference."  I don't mean to sound like I'm taking anything for granted; I've been blessed beyond my wildest dreams and am very grateful for the opportunities and experiences I've had. But there has to be more...
   Maybe this type of thing is easier for those that have strong religious affiliation to lean on. Organized religion has never felt natural to me—the ceremony of it always seems to overshadow the meaning. But I consider myself to be spiritual, and I'm feeling a strong need to reconnect with that side of myself.
   I believe that everyone is meant to achieve a certain purpose; there is a reason for every being on this earth. It may be one big act, or many small ones. We are here to influence each other; to make a marked difference somehow. And perhaps I need to figure out what that is for me, so that I will know what I need to do to get there. I guess I'm feeling fearful that if I don't determine that soon, I may not realize my potential. And not achieving my life's purpose is about the saddest thing that I can imagine.
   At my core, I want to create something that is larger than my self, that will help others, that will meaningfully impact the world in some way. Consciously or subconsciously I've always worked toward that goal. But taking stock of where I am right now, I don't feel that I've been successful yet. (Maybe that's a great thing; otherwise, what reason would I have to go on living?)
   A lot has happened in my life, and the past few years have felt especially meaningful and challenging, sometimes very difficult, but equally rewarding. I've learned so much; but that seems only to increase my awareness of how much I have yet to learn.
   Change is difficult, but it is the only path to something significantly better. (That Einstein guy is pretty smart.) I've seen others go through some difficult times and emerge in a much better place. And whatever that may mean for me, I'm ready for it.
    By design or by chance, I've seen a couple of quotes this week that align well with my thoughts:
   "Passion will make you crazy, but is there any other way to live?"  — Howard Hughes
   As a creative person, I strongly identify with this. Following your passion and challenging yourself defines the creative mind; it may be easier to turn it off, but that is an alternative I can't imagine; nor would I want to.
    And my horoscope in yesterday's paper said, "Be aware of what you have to offer. Sometimes you look at yourself as less than you are." Too true. I know I'm harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. That can be a good thing, as long as I maintain perspective.
   Aside from being a vehicle to share my life with my family and friends whom I don't see as often as I'd like, I started this blog as an outlet for myself; to keep me writing, to keep me thinking, and hopefully to keep me moving forward. I don't have answers to the questions I'm mulling over, but writing about them has at least helped me quiet my mind temporarily... a tough thing for me to do these days!
To be continued...