Affirmation: I have searched and found my “Calcutta.”
“I can’t believe they pay me to do this. I feel like I should be paying them.” This was the statement my friend, Oie Osterkamp, made to me about his new position. He’s the Executive Director of The Ronald McDonald House in Durham, NC (www.ronaldhousedurham.org). He’s also the founder of a non-profit organization, Sharefish, whose title is taken from an adage his mother use to say to him, “It is better to be a Sharefish than a Selfish.” His organization fights to reduce the cycle of poverty in Honduras by promoting better living conditions and education. You can check them out at www.Sharefish.org.
What would you do regardless of whether or not you were paid? Have you found your passion? Have you been looking? How many people have you met who know what that is? I have several artist friends; painters, writers, designers who are very clear about their passion. It’s something I’ve envied over the years. I’ve also been envious of people I’ve read about who knew at an early age what their gifts were and were able to channel that into their life’s work. One of the women who works at the North Carolina Food Bank once told me when she took her first job, with them, she had no idea she was finding her passion. She’s been there over twenty years now.
I’m not speaking about addiction here. I’m talking about things that help light up your soul and your world. You know what it’s like when the conversation turns to something that interests you. All of a sudden, your heart is beating faster and there’s this sense of wonderful excitement that you may not have felt in a long time. You know something wonderful is being brought forth. All of a sudden, time stands still and you don’t care about what happened earlier or what you’re “supposed” to do later.
I often think of Mother Teresa when I think of finding my passion. I know it wasn’t easy for her in any way to step outside of the box and head into the poverty and disease of Calcutta but she knew this was her mission in life. She had listened carefully to what some may call “that little voice” but which she knew to be her God and followed her heart. And, she changed the world.
I believe whenever we are doing something positive that brings us joy, we are changing the world. It’s great if it’s something humanitarian but just by existing in a joyful state I believe we change the atmosphere of the universe.
Last night I took part in what we lovingly called “The Sandy Summit.” My husband gathered a group of amazing people for dinner and conversation to help him fine tune his passion, helping corporations and businesses become more humane. He asked everyone to share their story with each other “and don’t be modest.” It was wonderful to hear the accomplishments of these men and women. It wasn’t about bragging; it was about being proud of the work they had done and were continuing to do. Each person there was passionate about their work. Many of them were out in the world making it a kinder, more compassionate place. Sindy Martin, a dear friend, shared she had been asked by one of the local colleges to coach three young women who were being interviewed for PHD programs at prestigious universities and that all three had been admitted to their desired schools. Everyone applauded! It’s her passion, she said, to help others become the best they can be.
I keep a little Hallmark calendar in the back of my journal. You know the type, the little pocket calendar that people use to use before smart phones. I separate each square with a diagonal line and in the top I write what I did the day before that gave me joy and in the bottom, I write what I did to help another. When I don’t need the line, when the top and the bottom entry are the same, I know I lived a day filled with my passion. I lived that day joyfully giving of myself, of my gifts to make another’s life better.
That’s how I want to live every day. I, personally, don’t believe I can do that without God’s guidance. I’ve been listening very carefully for many many years and I believe on those days when I don’t put a line, those are days when God’s voice has come through loud and clear. My passion is helping people reframe their thinking so that they believe their lives can be full of love, joy, hope, gratitude and compassion. I believe if we practice directing our thoughts towards the things that nurture us, when we are faced with the severe challenges that life will bring, we will be able to withstand the evil energy that could penetrate into our souls and minds. Joel Osteen says “What the world has meant for my harm, God will use for my good, if we believe.” Believe God only wants our best, trust in that and create and meditate on your positive affirmations and you too will find yourself living a life of passion. You too will “find your Calcutta” if you haven’t already!