I’ve always considered myself a passionate person (not just in a romantic way; more passionate about life than anything), and here in the U.S. my passion was not always accepted, especially around intellectuals. So, I used to be reluctant to show that part of me, or even use the word because of the criticism. A “friend” once even told me he thought that passion was “tacky.”
Anyhow, I just adore this definition of the word because it’s precisely how I try to live these days: with the right balance of love for life and a good appetite for it as well.
[dt_highlight color=””]“There’s always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”- Graham Greene. [/dt_highlight]
I was nine. My stepfather was an alcoholic, and my mother was his depressed, codependent servant. When he was drunk, he touched me and made me touch him, and I felt fractured to pieces each time. Some days I would rock into a ball and cry myself to sleep, listening to my mother wailing as he hit her. He would turn the volume on the radio all the way up and would snap at anyone who dared to turn it down… I wondered if the neighbors could hear me crying or my mother screaming through the loud music.
This is that courageous child, at age 10, in Cuba.
That was my life, one cloudy day after the next, until I started to breathe words and learned, like many before and after me, to escape my reality that way. Reading the works of other writers (including Graham Greene himself, Jules Verne, and Anne Frank), about their loneliness, their joy, their suffering, and their adventures, I found solace. I was no longer alone crawled into a ball, crying. I was experiencing the world through their books. These things didn’t happen just to me; other people struggled too, even survived worst things. I still get emotional, thinking of the determination and generosity of those writers who locked themselves in rooms to create fascinating stories and touch that way the lives of strangers, like my nine-year-old self on a sheltered communist island. I feel deep grateful for their courage to put their work out there.
Reading those books, I was always fascinated by the characters’ internal universes and learned a lot about how they dealt with emotion.
And so, I began to write, in my journal, to release the pain but also to understand what was happening inside me and how exactly I felt about any given situation. To this day, like Faulkner once said, “I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it.”
So yes, I write about my inner experiences to understand.
[dt_highlight color=””]But most importantly, I share my personal stories of both struggle and bliss in order to pay it forward, in the hope others don’t feel so alone in their spiritual journeys and that they, too, feel it’s safe to open up and share their perspective, their unique powerful expressions.[/dt_highlight]
I know my story is the story of every other writer out there; countless others have been saved by reading and writing too. But I don’t have another story, and as cliché as it may be, the story of that nine year old fuels me to do what I do.
Once upon a time I didn’t share my writing about my struggles because I was ashamed of them, because they were too similar to other stories out there, because I worried constantly about “what people would think.”
AND, I wouldn’t write about my Bliss because I didn’t want others to feel “less than,” or think I was bragging, or tag me as a crazy hippie.
Living with purpose requires you to become vulnerable, to put yourself out there at the risk of being judged. You need to be more concerned with being your authentic self than with being well-liked.
And that’s why I write. That’s why I share. And that’s why I, respectfully, do not care about what others think; their opinions kept me paralyzed for too long.
I, also, no longer seek external approval. I do what I do because I have to, because the core of my being needs to, because I believe this is my service to humanity/what I came here to give, not because I need the appreciation of others.
Byron Katie expresses my feelings on this perfectly, saying:
[dt_highlight color=””]If I had a prayer, it would be this: ‘God, spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation.‘”[/dt_highlight]
Now, it’s your turn. Why do you do what you do?
For most of my life I’ve been on a journey of self discovery. I remember that as early as 11 or 12 I would take any silly personality test I could get my hands on, looking to answer questions such as “Who am I?” “Why was I born?” “How can I help make the world a better place?”
Over the last week, I’ve been digging deep with the help of the book “Desire to Inspire.” I’ve written dozens and dozens of pages, answering many of the questions the book suggested… easy peasy questions like:
- What is the unique impact I have in others?
- What does my heart wants?
- What inspires me the most?
- What was I born to do?
- What is my purpose in life?
- How do I want to be remembered?
- What is my essence?
- What are my special gifts to this world?
- What must I do?
- What do I want to offer?
- What is the biggest dream of my life?
I highly recommend the book for those who, like me, have a Desire to Inspire others.