I went hiking yesterday for the first time in over a year. I was so excited about it that I started to think about everything that could go wrong to ruin it. Who’s been there? I’m happy to report that nothing went wrong. However, I struggled a lot on the hike. No matter how out of breath I was or how much my legs wanted to stop, though, I was soaking it all in, and trust me, I have plenty of pictures to prove it. I stopped frequently, but I knew with every step I took, no matter how small, I was getting closer and closer to reaching the peak. Isn’t that true with anything? There’s always so much to think about when you’re out in nature, but things like finances or to-do lists typically aren’t anywhere on my brain. I love that transformative property of nature. I appreciate the sense of belonging and being part of something greater than myself. With all of our walls and technologies, I think it’s easy to forget that we are part of that natural world. We play a role. Just like an animal eating berries and relocating the seeds elsewhere via their feces, we can carry things on our shoes or clothing that will have an impact once transplanted. We’ve introduced plants from one land to another, brought insects to areas they’d never been before, and have had diseases cross seas. I know it’s easy to forget our place in at all and feel as though our removal from it removes us entirely, but it doesn’t. I challenge you to get out there and spend some time in a natural setting. You’re part of it and it’s part of you even if it may make you uncomfortable.
Switching gears, I was having a conversation with my mom the other day about how to know if something is from God. For me, God is a general term applied to a spirit, force, or energy greater than myself. I personally don’t believe in any one religion and find most very interesting and possessing wisdom that can be applied to my life. My mom had posed the question to an internet group with several responses stating that you would feel peace with it if it were from God. Well, my mom and I weren’t so sure we agreed. I’d love to open up a discussion about this because I think each person might have a different experience. After keeping it in my mind for a bit, my personal answer is that anything I’ve felt came from God entered my brain unexpectedly and forcefully. With it came peace and extreme inspiration, albeit fleeting. Once my brain and logical processes became aware of the message, questioning, doubting my abilities, and fear followed. I believe there are messages from God that can be peace inducing, but I also believe that if I’m being called to do something, it’s going to stretch me, cause me to grow, force me out of my comfort zone, and challenge my faith. Let me know what you think!
Another thing on my mind lately has, once again, been the notion of purpose and passion. Something came to me the other day that there are more divisions than those two and they don’t always coincide. As I wrote down things that really drove me and mattered in my life, I discovered that there’s inspiration, purpose, passion, and interests. To further clarify, my inspiration is nature. There’s not a tree with light shining through the leaves that I can walk by and not be filled with joy and inspiration. On my hike, I had asked a fellow hiker if he knew how to identify a ponderosa pine. He went on to tell me how to identify several pines, which I sadly don’t remember every detail, but I did learn from it. Going beyond the appreciation for the beauty of the natural world to understand and be able to recognize the characteristics of nature’s occupants adds another layer and more depth. It inspires me to learn more and share it with others.
For purpose, I wholly believe my purpose relates to children and, in other ways, animals. I have a heart for children and abilities when interacting with them that goes against the little experience I’ve had with them. In regards to animals, I also have an ability to connect with them that I’ve been honing for almost as long as I can remember. I can’t tell you how many feral or stray cats I’ve gained the trust of, but the feeling of gratitude when I get to pet them has never lessened, no matter the animal or years they’ve been around. I remember patiently connecting with a skittish horse in one of my agricultural classes in college. Oh man, words can’t properly explain how powerful that moment was. Just thinking about it sends a warm fuzzy feeling through my body.
When it comes to passion, I became aware of my all-in, ‘oh wait, I’ve been working on this for hours?’ activities. All of them share that they have a puzzle-like aspect to them. Whether it’s jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, Sudokus, word searches, figuring out the best way to teach something, putting together a PowerPoint presentation, organizing, merchandising, planning a garden, designing something, doing various calculations, it’s all a form of a puzzle. If you want me to leave you alone for a while, give me one of those to do. I won’t speak to you for hours. The thing is though, I enjoy doing that stuff so much that I will gladly put the work in, I will lose track of time, and I won’t worry about failing. I don’t even feel like failing is a real possibility. I love that about it.
Lastly, my interests. My interests tend to be centered around gaining a physical skill or do-it-yourself skill. Archery, golf, yoga, gymnastics, dance, cooking, baking, gardening, woodworking, and various crafts all come to mind. I love the challenge of them…usually (frustrations do occur). I enjoy being able to look at something and say, “I did that myself.” Plus, there are so many skills people no longer feel the need to possess because we have technology to do it for us. I can’t relate to that mentality.
Understanding how my interests are classified helps bring some clarity for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I often feel that the notion of following your purpose or passion is a modern-day luxury or at times not very realistic. I also know that it can feel like your broken if you are unaware of what your purpose or passion is or lost if they don’t align. If you don’t feel that way, I am genuinely happy for you. Pursue it with your whole heart!
I hope something in this post sparked something for you.