04 July 2005

More affirmation about following one's passion

I've been enjoying following Saintos' journey at luminous miseries. After my earlier post today, imagine my feelings upon coming across this in his post:

When I hear it said by 'leadership' that getting to do things like the dramatic reading or some artwork is the creative thing refreshes and rejuvenates amidst what I normally do I blanch because they can say this and not see the irony of another often touted truth that we should be working in our area of passion; if our job or ministry does not find a full expression for our God given passion then we should quit and find another...

That is how bloggers minister to one another. It's impossible to spend enough time with people these days to have this kind of conversation, but we need it so badly. It helps me to know I'm not the only one feeling my way through to a more (and I hate this term, by the way) authentic life. But even as I cringe at the term because it's so overused, it's also accurate. Because the way I was living for all of those years was so often pretense or lies.

In his commencement address at Stanford last month (and it's really worth reading the whole thing), Steven Jobs said this:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart...

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

In times past in Catholic spirituality, it was not uncommon for people to meditate upon death, using thoughts like Jobs', above, to refocus their attention from the nonsense of the world to the eternal truths. It is not morbid to do so. On the contrary, it is essential if one is to truly, fully live.

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