“You are the only mystery worth solving.”
– 11, Doctor Who
Lately, I’ve felt like everything in my life is pushing me toward a divine moment of realization – an ah-ha moment where everything will click into place, and I’ll finally have it all figured out.
Of course, then I’ll be dead, or next to it. What’s the point of living – of life – if not to solve the mystery of why we’re here?
Even so, most of my questing, my self-reflection, my study of yogic philosophy over the past year has been done in an effort to uncover the secret of who I’m meant to be and what I can do to feel happy and fulfilled in my life. I realize now this goes deeper than likes or dislikes, this job or that hobby.
Really, I’m looking for my true calling, my dharma. And I’m not sure I’ll be whole until I find it and pursue it relentlessly.
My dharma has been on my mind a lot lately. Since I was a young child, I wanted to write. I remember sitting down at our old computer when I was 10 or 11 and writing a novel. I didn’t think about it. I just wrote. And I loved it. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world to me.
But somewhere along the way, I stopped writing stories. I grew up. I decided I needed to get a real job, so I did. And then another. And another. And another still – all in a quest to find my fit, to find my true calling.
In my quest to find my true calling, though, I think I’ve been ignoring my true calling: to write the stories that are in my heart.
To do that, I need to write. Just write. Without hope or agenda. Because if I’m busy worrying about publishing my book, I’ve got no room to worry about telling my story – the one that makes my heart sing, the one that will keep me at my keyboard day after day until I have nothing left to give.
Stephen Cope talks about this in his new book The Great Work of Your Life. In it, he explores dharma as explained by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, using real-life examples of people from history who have followed their dharma. I got this book for Christmas, and I’ve been studying it ever since (the latest casualty in my quest for my true calling.)
His advice (or the advice of Krishna that he imparts) is simple: find your dharma, follow it with your whole heart, and let go of the fruits.
Well, it seems simple in theory, but nothing could be harder for me in practice. Why would I write a book that never has a hope of hitting the bookshelves? Why would I put myself into something that I may never get anything out of? Why waste my time?
Because it’s my dharma. (Or at least I’m pretty sure it is. If anyone has any insight or wisdom that might point me in a different direction, I’m all ears. Seriously.)
If I’m called to write, then I need to write – regardless of the outcome.
A friend of mine said it perfectly the other day when I was sharing my struggles and my worries about being published with her on Facebook. She said, “Get back to it by writing something for your eyes only. Something you never want another soul to read. Then get lost in that story. And have fun.”
That’s my goal for the year, my only goal:
To get lost in my story.
And maybe by getting lost, I’ll find what I’m looking for.