Sometimes in life we need not be afraid to change our road map. Life is all about exploring our options and finding what fits us best. Not only what fits our needs as human beings... but what fits our innermost desires and passions. My life has been one of those kind of journeys. Having explored many options and many different types of activities (including athletics, Yoga, art, music, travel, leisure, and education) and many types of jobs (mostly within the hospitality industry), I have learned a thing or two about myself. Through every type of activity I have explored, I have learned something which makes me a more complete person... but also I've learned some things that I'm not.
This life is a precious gift we have received... and we need to make the most of our time on this planet. When we learn those things that we are not, sometimes it can push us closer and closer to our goal. For many years I have struggled with the idea of returning to college and finishing up a degree, thinking that somehow it will help me to achieve success. I did just that: went back to school to attempt to study computer science because I love working with computers and I also love designing things like web pages and site templates. At first it was really fun and interesting and it took my learning about computers to a whole new level. But eventually, it started to dawn on me. I'm 38 now, and there are so many computer geeks out there who have been studying all of their lives. I was feeling behind and a bit frustrated. But also, something deep within me yearned for expression.
I have been an artist and musician for all of my life. Since I can remember, my Mom used to get mad at me often for spending every last penny on records, tapes, then cd's. I would sit in my room for hours and hours and just listen to the sweet, sweet sounds coming through my stereo. Music brings me peace, and music also brings me life. The life of an artist is what I was always destined for. Nothing about me fits a mold of any kind.
It wasn't until I was 17 that I first attempted to play guitar. A friend of mine let me borrow his and I went to the library and picked up a book on chords and sat diligently learning them and would be so happy and proud if I could even make anything that would resemble a beautiful chord or sound. I spent about 20 years after that honing my skill and have learned many styles of guitar including Flamenco, Blues, Hawaiian Slack-Key, Classical, Surf, Reggae, Fingerstyle, etc. For many years I traveled around, mostly between the Hawaiian Islands and California. I spent lots of time in the water as I am an avid bodyboarder. I tried to keep music as my hobby so it wouldn't be influenced by any type of popular culture for the most part. I could just keep it my own and work on it in my spare time.
That seemed like a great idea and has worked for me thus far as I have nurtured my talent and have kept growing.... but the problem lies here: Having too many goals and interests... I had limited myself for so long.
My music suffered as a result. I should be much further along in my studies and I should be using what I am most gifted at. Listen here I'm not trying to toot my own horn...but sometimes we just know when we have been given a talent and it is our job to nurture that talent and make it grow. For some reason I always think of the biblical parable about 'talents'.... which we are often taught that they are money... but I see them as our God-given gifts and strengths... those that we nurture like a plant or a tree. One man went and buried his... and another went and invested them. When the master who had given them those talents returned.... he was saddened to see that one of the men misunderstood and wasted his talents. On the other hand... the other man invested his, and had received a significant return on his investment, so he was given more. That is in essence, is how I see life. We must invest in our talents. We must invest in ourselves, and capitalize on our strengths. It is also by utilizing our strengths that we will be most fulfilled.
So here I am now... once again at a beautiful crossroads. The whole school thing was a noble idea but it wasn't a proper fit for me. I believe it isn't a proper fit for many, many people who go because they think it is THE thing to do. In my honest opinion.... THE thing to do for those people who feel like a square peg in a round hole when it comes to academics and living life based on society's view of it.... is to knock down their house of cards and start building something concrete. Something based on that which their heart has been building via their passions and their strengths. If they stop and listen, their heart will show them the way.
The good thing is... sometimes we need to explore all of our options before finally realizing that we need to follow a certain path. It is like the process of elimination. Some people (I wish more were like this) have so many goals and ideas that nothing really ever comes to fruition. But if one by one, they knock down certain options.... they will eventually be left with their life's work and passion. For some it is much easier and they just follow it from the beginning and are amazing at it.... but for most this is not the case. We need to explore and find the things that make us tick. When we finally fall into alignment with our 'right livelihood' it is such a relief. It is like finally being home after traveling around the world. I guess in a way some of us are just looking for some form of validation and that is ok... but if we really really listen to our hearts... they will tell us which path to follow.
Here's to you following your passion and your life's ultimate dreams and goals. Don't give up whatever you do... and don't give in to the people who try to tell you that you can't do it. When we are passionate about something and believe in ourselves we can arrange for the proper circumstances for miracles to happen. Our heart needs a heart-shaped hole to fit into... and that heart shaped hole is our dreams. When we follow our dreams... and believe in them with all of our heart... we will find the keys to happiness and fulfillment. Life will always be a struggle in one way or another... but when we are fulfilled... it makes us feel full of purpose and vitality.
I cannot tell you the feeling I get now when I think of my future as a musician. In one way I have just started this journey because I have realized the one thing that I am best at and am passionately pursuing it every single day... but in another way this is just another step in the process. Life is beautiful. It is also what we make it... so stop wasting time and follow your passion. Focus on what you love, and more of it shall be added to your spectacular life. May you be blessed in all your endeavors and never give up on your dreams. Peace and Aloha my friends. Thanks for being their to make this journey even more extraordinary :)