"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -Howard Thurman
Let's be real about this quote--it's not my strong point. Living in the moment, that is. In fact, it's quite the opposite of my strong point. My number one strength on the Strengths Finder test is Futuristic.
Futuristic is defined: People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.
Sure, that last part sounds nice, but that's a small part of the time. Most of the plight of a Futuristic individual is a whole lot of dreaming about the future, and quite a little bit of living in the present. Actually cherishing the present? That's a whole other matter.
On Monday we threw a frisbee at the park. We walked at the Arboretum amongst the flowers, soaking in the smell of hard work and divine intervention teaming up to grow into beauty. We wandered, moseyed, laughed, and talked deeply. I wasn't worried about what needed to get done, my goals, my dreams, what-if's, or woes.
That made me come alive.
Tuesday I finished a book from my To Be Read List, and cathartically crossed it off in my notebook. I used purple pen for crossing off. It contrasts the orange of the letters on my list, and thereby looks like--artsy. Right?
That made me come alive.
Today I went to Barnes and Noble to beg and plead for some free books, and left 15 minutes and a long, cheery conversation later with 100 free coloring books. People are nice. And amusing. People want to be loving, I truly believe it.
That made me laugh, which feels like coming alive. Okay, it is. That made me come alive.
Dreaming is great, but I want to be present enough to soak up when any and all of those dreams come true. Nature makes me come alive. Fresh air. Things that are grown rather than built.
There's an element of hard work that goes into growth, but it also requires more faith. You can plant, water, till the soil, but you also have to hope and wait and put in more work before anything comes out of the ground.
Perfect teachers certainly don't wish away any parts of the year, but I don't claim to be one of those. The moment I currently inhabit is the one in between committing to the grind and getting to know my students and starting to lament them leaving me for the real world. It's in this in between that I get on their nerves and they get on mine, they no longer find my cheeriness loveable, but annoying, and I've had it up to my bushy eyebrows with, "Do we have to do anything today?" I'm hoping that faith kicks in soon, because I don't see sprouts quite yet!
The idea of coming alive has been magnified by one of my favorite authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Amy wrote: You May Want to Marry My Husband only two weeks before she lost the battle to cancer. Amy wrote Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, both dwelling on the ordinary--the everyday--rather than passing it over. By doing so, she made that ordinary remarkably extraordinary, whether it was from the words which she used to describe it or the fervor with which she appreciated normalcy.
I hope to take more than a few notes from how she chose to approach life, love, and writing. This week was my nod to her.
Who do you know who lives life well? What makes you come alive?