A new sort of understanding has begun within me. I am not sure if it has anything to do with the fact that I am practicing the art of meditation and stillness daily (you can read about that journey here) or perhaps it has to do with the fact that I have started following the readings of Scott Dinsmore. Scott started the movement Live your Legend which you can read up on here: http://liveyourlegend.net/ Very basically (I do not presume to sum up another’s teachings in a couple of sentences – I only wish to put into context the impression that his work has left on me) Scott teaches people to find their passion and then make a living off that passion. He speaks of how we need to be creative and courageous to take the leap into working at our passions. He also suggests that we surround ourselves with the people who are already living their passions. The reason for this is because we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with (so best you choose your five people wisely).
His writings got me thinking about the people that I spend the most time with. That answer was easy – Baby, my work colleagues, family and my friends. The problem came about when I thought about those people and whether or not they enjoy what they do for a living.
To be perfectly honest, I can say that none of my work colleagues seem too enthralled with the way they spend their time in this corporate events industry – where budgets are minimal and clients don’t know what they want or how they want it except they that they wanted it yesterday. My family and friends are mixed cases and require some unpacking. For example, my one friend (and this friend could possibly stand proxy for most of my friends) hates her job, always complaining about it, always developing a new illness because of it, and is always on the edge of a break down because she has no apparent control over it. Another friend loves the fact that she helps people maintain and retain their vision. As an optometrist, some of her days are filled with annoying patients (with personalities like the first friend I mentioned), and other days, she has easy-going patients. The point is she is invigorated by what she does on a daily basis.
Now my first brother is a chartered accountant and financial director of a foundry. His job is highly stressful due to the nature of the iron industry and the fact that he manages many people. The welfare of the company rests on his shoulders and he is often weary from working intense hours. He is extremely good at what he does, he provides for his wife, is an upstanding citizen and member of his church, a salt of the Earth kind of man, but his general unhappiness is obvious. My other brother is different in that he qualified as a catering executive, moved to work in hotel kitchens in Dubai, once there, he started to coach swimming classes, he came back to South Africa, journeyed to India, returned a Yogi, embraced personal training classes, became interested in keeping bees, and is now a grounds-keeper who makes gardens beautiful. I’ve noticed, with all his ‘upping and downing,’ people find my brother unreliable. Unreliable because just as he seems to settle, he thinks of something else that he wants to do, and then goes for it. Unsteady, because he only ever commits to something at the very last minute (understandably so because he only knows where he will be once he finds himself there). Sure he gets stressed about things, but he is pretty happy with the way he spends his time.
Then there are a couple of people who have interesting careers that I don’t personally know, but would still like to discuss them. I have only crossed their paths by chance and now that I am exploring this notion of passion, am I able to understand what it is that I have learned from them. The first, is a man of music. No ordinary musician is he. He travels around giving workshops that send patrons on a journey of sounds. Many view him as ‘hippie’ and odd. A leader of a bunch of people sitting in a circle with their eyes closed while he plays a multitude of strange instruments (including his vocal chords). I heard (upon telling my second brother about the amazing sound journey that I went on with this muso) that about twenty years ago, this musician had been playing on a stage, and preaching his unique way, only to be misunderstood and sort of ignored by the audience. Imagine how hard he has been working all these years? To be fine-tuning one’s craft for such a long time and not even really get into the ‘mainstream’ must take a hell of a lot of stamina. And yet, there was Chris Tokalon http://www.soundman.co.za/, traveling the world just so that he could show others his way and fine tune his methods.
The other case makes my heart feel sad because after searching online and actually attending the Mystery Ghost Bus Tour that Mark Rose-Christie offered, I noticed the attitudes with which he was received. Online reactions came over superior, hoity-toity and downright negative. Patrons on the tour insulted, laughed and played tricks on him. I understand why he had such bad reactions, culture likes to compare. Why not compare him to his English counterparts who have castles and dungeons to illustrate the ghouls? But if you gave him half a chance, you would understand that in our South African context, this man is doing what he does, and owning it with his dramatic appearance, props and acts. I enjoyed his tour and found it offered just enough scare and just enough information to be a good night out. I suppose that is what Scott is talking about when he speaks of having courage to stick to your passion in spite of the popularity of your ‘act’.
I implore you to look from the angle of ‘pursuing one’s passion’ next time you want to judge, doubt, chirp and disrespect those ‘oddballs’ who seem to be playing according to a different tune. Admire them instead, let them inspire you because ultimately I’m not sure which scenario is more odd: doing something that doesn’t necessarily fit the mold but makes you happy, or doing the same thing every day that you despise.
Encouraging people to pursue their passion = Ha’pea-ness