Who inspires you? Whom do you inspire? Where does your inspiration lead you?
“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That’s how important you are!” Eckhart Tolle
You are unique. Live your life authentically, for only you can bring to the world what you were meant to bring. If you do not live out your passion, it is not only your loss, but the world’s loss. As the days grow longer and we spend more time inside, now is a good time to look deeper and explore whether you are living your true purpose.
I’ve been a dancer, teacher, and writer. I love creating a new dance or piece of writing, but beneath all that is my real purpose—to inspire. When I was first presented with this purpose, I thought, “How superficial.” Compared to all the people who were feeding the hungry and curing the sick, it didn’t seem concrete enough to matter. But then, I realized that I had done things I would never have done had I not been inspired by others.
As a teenager, I read about Isadora Duncan, the mother of modern dance. She defied convention by living free from the constraints placed on the women of her time and created a new, freer form of dance. She inspired me to become a modern dancer, but also to reject a conventional life that defined who I could be in terms too narrow for me to become who I truly was. As a result, dance became a powerful spiritual as well as creative practice, and in the process, my body which had been weakened by childhood diseases became strong.
In 1958, after living in the segregated South most of my life, I wrote an essay on prejudice for a ninth-grade English assignment. My teacher’s comment was “With this objectivity, you would make a good journalist.” She was the first person who encouraged my writing. I was shy and introverted and couldn’t imagine interviewing people, but I thought, “Maybe people need to hear what I have to say. Maybe my words matter.” So I enrolled in speech classes and continued writing, knowing in my heart that someday I would write seriously.
By the time I had to make a choice about how to earn a living, another teacher had inspired me. My eleventh grade history teacher had his students read and discuss classics like Utopia, The Prince, and 1984. Instead of teaching wars, he used literature to teach the great ideas of each period and history came alive for the first time.
How Living Our Purpose May Inspire Others
As a result of these two teachers and the motivation that I could teach dance as well as teach English, I became a high school teacher dedicated to teaching students how to think. I loved seeing their eyes light up as a concept became clear. I loved seeing them become totally absorbed in creating a project. I wanted to help them become lifelong learners and have the courage to become who they really were.
Find Your Calling to Live Fully
As my life has evolved and people have responded to my work, regardless of its form, I have come to understand inspiring others is my calling. At the heart of each of us is a passion and purpose that enlivens us. As it calls to us, we must find a way to answer the call or we will always wonder what could have been. Sometimes the call comes from our interaction with others. Sometimes it comes from that voice within whispering to us during the night when we lie awake. Sometimes it slams into us because of loss and tragedy. But it is our soul calling us back to ourselves and who we really are. May you find your calling.
If you are searching for your calling, I highly recommend the classic book, Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, by Gregg Levoy. It speaks deeply and eloquently about this topic. If you live your calling, what is it? Please share what it means to you under comments.
©2011 Georganne Spruce