Tag Archives: Fulfillment

Do What You Love – One Month In

11 Jun

It’s been a month since I started the 120-Day “Do What You Love” Challenge, in which I decided to write every day for four months.

After just two weeks of writing every day, I had learned a lot about the role of writing in my life, as well as my attitudes to it.

Now, after a month of writing every day – be it a poem, a description or a philosophical idea – one main thought occupies my mind: I can’t believe that I’ve got this far!

You see, I was scared of starting the challenge for fear of not being able to complete it.

Why did I fear not being able to do something that I love?

Well, I was scared that, were I to ‘force’ myself to do my loved activity every day, I would actually cease to love it.

I was also scared that I wouldn’t have the will-power to make time for writing.

Like all creative people, I was scared of discovering that I am rubbish at what I do.

And, I was scared of being so scared of all of these things, that my fear would block me from writing.

A month into the challenge, were any of my fears realised?

Fear 1: no – I love writing even more now that I do it every day.

Fear 2: yes and no – I have made time for writing, however, I did miss one or two days of writing because I have been putting it off to the evening, when fatigue sometimes overpowers creativity.

Fear 3: no – so far, I haven’t been judging what I’ve written; I have simply been enjoying the process of writing.

Fear 4 – no – once I’m writing, I lose myself in the process and forget everything else, including my fears.

Now that I know that I can and do write every day, and that I am enjoying it, too, the next step is to set aside more time for writing. As I’ve said before, I feel guilty spending time writing, which explains why I put it off to the end of my day. Therefore, for the next month, I will set aside thirty minutes to writing first thing in the morning.

As Peter De Vries said:

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning”.

120 Day “Do What You Love Challenge”

24 May

Two weeks ago I signed up to the 120 Day “Do What You Love Challenge”, choosing writing as my daily activity (this includes poetry, blogging, articles, short stories, songs etc.).

I decided to take the challenge for several reasons. Despite loving writing I:

  • do not write regularly
  • feel guilty spending time writing
  • do not consider writing as an ‘important’ or ‘useful’ activity

Yet despite all of this I:

  • wish I could spend more time writing
  • feel unfulfilled when I do not write for a long stretch of time
  • always have writing on my mind

Quite a paradox, isn’t it?

Just like Pollyanna Darling says – we often feel guilty doing what we love, because doing what we love has no goal apart from enjoying ourselves and feeling happy. We have become used to doing activities that bring a certain visual or material result, and we think that everything else is ‘pointless’ or ‘a waste of time’.

Indeed, writing won’t make the house cleaner and it won’t speed up the flat-hunting. Writing won’t give me a pedicureWriting in notebook on footsteps and it won’t find me a new flat. Writing won’t fill out the forms I have to send and it won’t buy me summer clothes.

BUT…it won’t get in the way of me doing those things, either.

I seem to have always had the false belief that in spending some time writing, I was choosing writing – a ‘pointless’ activity – over another – ‘useful’ – activity. After two weeks of writing every day, I realised that it is not a question of choosing one activity over the other, it is a question of making time for both.

Although I’ve only been spending ten to thirty minutes writing per day, I feel more fulfilled and calmer. I’ve seen that I have enough ideas to produce something every day and that every day brings new ideas. I’ve also started writing poetry again – something that I had abandoned for many years, giving the excuse that I was ‘not inspired’.

Perhaps it wasn’t inspiration I was lacking all along, but the courage to do what I love…

Love, Happiness and Stillness

8 May

I don’t know about you, but I need an excuse before I can ‘allow myself’ to do nothing – a cold, a broken computer, a problem with the transport. Paradoxically, these problems transform themselves into miracles as I think “Wow, I can spend the whole day doing nothing; I can spend the whole day just reading!”

Like most Westerners, I fill my days with many tasks and activities. And, unfortunately, like many Westerners, I am active because I feel like I should be active. I prioritise what I believe I should do, and not what I would like to do (and please note that should is not equal to must). I am like a wind-up toy: I can be Superwoman for a week, only to lose my powers and go back to being a drained zombie thereafter. I used to feel bad for not being able to keep my energy up, yet it’s hardly surprising considering that my energy is spent on things that give me no joy or fulfillment in return.

I know that I am not the only one in this situation. Many Westerners overwork, give themselves task upon task to do and prioritise action above all else. We are all driven by different motives, but I believe that our main motive is the yearning for love. We all want to be loved, and society now says that to be loved you need to be successful, rich and important. So we spend our time and energy doing tasks that will earn us more money and therefore more status and more recognition, with the false idea that these will bring love and happiness into our lives.

But isn’t it ironic that we are too ashamed to admit openly that what we seek is love and happiness? We rarely get straight to the point by doing something that would directly and immediately create love and happiness.

A home-made meal for two, an afternoon on the sofa with a book, a walk in the woods, an evening playing Pictionary with family, a hand-made card, a bright dress, making collages with friends, redecorating the house, drinking wine on the balcony, dancing in your bedroom…

Our capitalist world has made us believe that love and happiness can only come about from wealth and success, and therefore, from hard-work. Yet wealth and success count little for love and happiness.

Love and happiness are right in front of us.

In order to notice them, all we need to do is stop moving, stop rushing, stop doing.

Through stillness we will come to understand that happiness and love are not goals or ends, but states of being – here and now.

“When you rest in quietness and your image of yourself fades, and your image of the world fades, and your ideas of others fade, what’s left? A brightness, a radiant emptiness that is simply what you are.” ~ Adyashanti