When I was a child I dreamt of becoming a writer, a teacher or/and an artist like Madonna (and it had to be Madonna and no one else, because to me she was at the top of the podium. She could sing, dance, set up trends, surprise audiences, move masses, connect, be passionate and enjoy her job always. That’s how I used to see her & I still admire her and follow her today).
There were no limits to my dreams. I could write amazing stories about creative & brave kids getting involved in all sort of fabulous adventures, and other kids & youngsters all over the world could read my books and get hooked like I used to with the books I was reading at the time. Becoming a teacher was a more earthly choice, moved as I was by the loving & devoted examples (not many, I must say, but at least two) I found at playground & school.
Then I grew up and I could sense that awful feeling, I am sure you know it too: I couldn’t become any of those things really. They were unreachable, miles away, available only in far away kingdoms that I could not even visit, approachable to very talented people only who were already focused from their young ages. I wasted too much time, it was too late for me and it was too difficult. Impossible.
Unless I become a teacher... That I could do. I could teach my favourite subject (literature) to young people. I could share with them my enthusiasm about poetry, metaphors & language as a communication tool. I kept growing & with time I got to understand how the system worked & what I needed to do get a job as a teacher. I didn’t like it at all and it was too late to copy Madonna, plus there is only one like her so, what was the point? What could I do? Become a writer? What a stupid idea! Who would wish to publish a book written by me in the first place, and even more important, who would want to buy it and read it afterwards?
Ups... I was in trouble. What could I do with my life? How could I find a way out? Time was ticking & I was lost.
The day I realised I could do anything really to make a living was a relief. I was reasonably clever, I had a degree, I could speak (not too well at the time) a second language and the world was wider than my city, my region, my country. I could travel & find a job doing anything. And that is when I lost my compass.
I can do anything, or nearly anything, but do I want to? Because when looking back now I realised that by following other compasses instead of mine I left my purpose behind. What happened to those childhood dreams? How did they move from being glittered dreams to stupid ideas? How come, when they used to make me feel so fine and full of life when I was little? Nothing to do with how I felt then. But of course, that ‘now’ was the ‘real world’. What was childhood then? A lie?
I’ve worked for others quite a few times. I have had different jobs performing various roles. Sometimes I enjoyed it, others I hated, deeply. I met some amazing professionals & also people that were worthless. I’ve learnt loads from all of them but I must admit that my only purpose then was to make a living, to earn the money, to pay the bills and get myself new books, clothes, plane tickets & dinners out. All that was good until it stopped being good and became not enough anymore. Nobody taught me how valuable & satisfying it is to live with purpose. I never learnt about my talents, how to develop or follow them.
That feeling didn’t come all of a sudden. It is fair to say that it was there all the time, from the very beginning. There was always something deep inside me pointing at the dark side, telling me: ‘what’s the point of all this? What difference do I make in the world by carrying on doing this? How valuable is this job that I am doing?’ However, I chose not to find those answers & decided to bury them deep. At the end of the day how could I be so ungrateful? I was twenty-something & healthy; I was lucky enough to have access to a great education; I managed to find a good job in a good company earning some good money that allowed me to have a good living. What was the problem? What was wrong with me?
The charade didn’t last very long. The odd feeling was growing bigger & wider inside me. It didn’t matter anymore what other people could think. I was not feeling right and everything pointed to the same direction so I had to redefine the route and start from scratch nearly all over again.
I am very proud to say that I am a professional coach now (thanks not only to my efforts and commitment but also to the support of my beloved family & their unconditional love; the trust received from all my wonderful & very special friends; and of course, the encouragement & constant faith in me from my beautiful partner, who has always been right there believing in me, backing up every new idea, every project. I love you all so much! I couldn’t do it without you).
Have you ever felt that annoying call coming from your guts, from the deepest corner of your heart? Do you listen to it? Do you honour it? Do you have a compass? Do you follow it?
When we fail to acknowledge any of the signs and keep reaching for the wrong goals, other areas in our lives start loosing shape and brightness. Things start to fail. Then we focus on the symptom & go for a quick fix without realising that the issue goes deeper, down in the roots. That’s where we have to go, not fix it but to nourish it and give it attention & care.
If we listen carefully enough, deeply enough, with patience and giving it time, we will know what to do, how to do it. Just like we knew when we were kids. Kids know because they are not corrupted with rational ideas & practical schemes. They just feel & let themselves go with their feelings.
Finding your purpose will make you happier because you will find a genuine reason to be here. That goal will drive your steps and every choice will take you closer to your dreams, which already is as good as living them.
Allow me to suggest an exercise, and give it a try, please: give yourself a few minutes & stand in front of a mirror. Move your hand ahead as if you were going to take something from that image of you in the mirror. As expected, the image does the same and tries to take something away from you. That’s how we experience lack in our life, because we keep taking things away from ourselves and from others. Now, instead of taking, give something to that reflection in the mirror: an object, a kiss, a smile… Whatever it might be. Of course, your reflection also has a present back for you. Isn’t it simple & great at the same time?
I found out this powerful metaphor in a marvellous book-process that will be part of my life journey forever (thanks to Mar, my yoga teacher over the last 3 years, for sharing such an incredible gift with us). Why am I taking things away from me instead of giving them? ‘Giving unconditionally is receiving’, the author says in his book.
Today I am a teacher somehow, as I share with people my experiences & the little I know. I am a writer already: I wrote this that you are reading (in two languages as well!) and there is much more to come! I don’t want to be a pop star anymore but I do wish to gather the passion & enthusiasm that Madonna brings into her fans so I can connect with my very own audience. I even started to sing more (and my gorgeous boyfriend loves it, so that’s all I need) and the dancing lessons are first on my list of investments for my short term future. All I want will come. It is just a matter of time. I just have to live on purpose, following my compass. I will make it happen, you will see. Keep an eye on me. I’ll show you ;-)
(P.S.: That orange stone heart on the picture is a love anchorage for me. My very dear friends Rocío & Manolo gave it to us as a gift the day of their wedding. Beautiful!
To finish this post one last thing: I used to, and still do, love Michael Jackson as much as Madonna, and his ‘Man in the mirror’ is an anthem for me. Enjoy it and let your feelings flow).
“You've no idea how hard I've looked for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What's the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the Ocean.
Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient.
It's no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these.
So- I've brought you a mirror.
Look at yourself and remember me”.