There are countless people who go about their day doing exactly what they please. If that sounds like a foreign concept to you it is because you, at least on this subject, are part of a very large group. You may have unwittingly joined the ranks of, “THOSE People.” You know, the people who, for whatever reason, do not do what their hearts tell them to do, mostly because they fear the perceived judgment that comes with what others call “putting yourself out there.” Which, in today’s social media and internet-crazed world, may appear to be a fate worse than death. But is it? Could it be that you’re not living the life of your dreams because you’ve been living someone else’s life and that’s what makes you miserable? I ask you to consider that the feeling and reality of living a life of being and doing you, exactly as created, might mean living the happiest and most accomplished life you never imagined.
Think about it. Let’s say you’ve wanted to sing songs that maybe you even wrote, in front of an audience your whole life. But you’ve been surrounded by people in your community, maybe even in your family, that discourage such behavior because you have a steady job and should, in their unsolicited opinions, focus your efforts on your steady gig. But since you were a small child, maybe even a fetus in your mama’s womb, singing has been the thing you’ve wanted most to do.
How could it be wrong for you to do literally what MAKES YOUR HEART SING? But you trot yourself, your soul, spirit (you decide what you wish to call your inner-most guiding being) off to the desk at your sensible job, seething because everyone and everything in your midst makes you feel as if the life is being squeezed out of you—moment, by each excruciating moment. And day after tireless day, you find yourself even more unfulfilled than those days that came and went before.
Sound familiar? If it does, know that the person who penned these words stands with you. This too, was my story. More on that as we build our relationship here. What I will say to you now is that I’ve always known what I wanted. I believed my mother, who told me so as a 4 year old and I’ve since confirmed for myself that she was right. But I’ve also learned that just because you’re lucky enough to be born with clarity doesn’t mean you’ll always be supported in your pursuit of what you want by those around you. And here’s the really tricky part. If you ignore your heart’s desires and suppress that which you may have come here to do…your soul will die just a little, each day you ignore your truth. That’s right, you can be ultimately responsible for killing your own soul’s desire, therein killing your own soul. Let that sit there a while and marinate.
It is a sobering thought, yes! But the remedy may not be as difficult as you may think. I’m not advocating that you give up your job without an income to live on; we are all responsible for our own lives, our own pursuit of dreams, and our own happiness. But the fact is you too, can be as happy and as fulfilled as you want to be.
Let’s take those songs you’ve written, or the book that you’ve been telling others around you that you were going to write, or maybe the dance lessons you wanted to take, but allowed the busyness of life and other people’s problems to interrupt your own pursuits. Whatever the reasons or story you’ve told yourself, you are in control of what happens next. That is a fact!
The blessing and the cool thing about this gift we call life, is that we can change the course of our own at any point in time. Today, this moment now, you can decide to stop telling yourself the same old story of what you could be doing and want so desperately to do and just, well— DO IT!
Now you may not do it at first, on a world stage. Don’t be disappointed. Do it for friends, strangers, or anyone who will listen. I started as a poet on the front college campus lawn of my undergraduate alma mater, Virginia State University. I performed (because I’ve been a performer since I was born, and maybe long before) for upper classmen and a few friends as a college freshman, fed up with the apathy I saw amongst my peers. I used to write and recite poetry about social issues that got under my skin. The poems, then and now would simply arrive and I would write them down and they became the spoken words of my life. That eventually led to a performance at Blues Alley, in Washington, D.C. with jazz great, saxophonist Mike Phillips, whom I now call a friend. It was a dream, come true! I performed on the same stage where I had seen Nancy Wilson, Phyllis Hyman, and so many other iconic artists dazzle audiences, all because I said “yes” when the universe offered me the gift of poetry at VSU, and again when that gift refused to lay down and die, but took up residence and continues to live in me today. Poetry has not only helped me to give voice to the people and issues that matter most to me, but last year Oprah even excerpted one my poems “The Life We Got” in her column of O Magazine (see Dec. 2014 issue “What I Know For Sure.”) How fortuitous!
So to you I say, whatever your heart’s desire, don’t let it die. You’ve got the great gift of life–you’re here. Grab hold and live it with gusto!
Refuse from this day onward, to live anything less than a vibrant life.
As we say “goodbye for now”, I leave you with a gift from my heart to yours, a poem, “Be True,” from my soon-to-be released Poetry CD, titled “Poetry In Motion.” I hope you dig it. It’s about being true to one’s self J
With Love and Happiness,