Reigniting Creative Passions
What activities did you love to do when you were a kid? I’m not only talking about your earliest years, but what about when you were a pre-teen and teenager? Take a moment now and let your mind wander back. When you weren’t at school, doing homework, or hanging out with friends, what did you get lost in doing for hours at a time?
For me, it was music. I started playing viola at eight years old. I began singing when I was in middle school. I took up the French horn when I was fifteen. I even tinkered with the piano and played a little bit of percussion. I would plan to practice a few scales or work on one piece for a little bit of time, and before I knew it, hours had gone by. I never gave it a second thought. It was my love and my joy!
We all had those kind of passions as children, didn’t we? Writing, drawing, playing sports, spending time with animals, being involved in social activities and connecting with others, dancing, taking pictures . . . so, what were YOUR passions? Now, here’s the follow-up question to that. How long has it been since you connected with – I mean really, truly immersed yourself in – your childhood passions? A few weeks? A couple of months? Maybe even several years? You are not alone in this! Many of us get caught up in our daily tasks and routines, and the passions of our childhood get lost in the responsibilities of adult life.
This goes for me, too. Although I have sung, performed and continued to take weekly voice lessons for years, and have loved every moment of it, I have let music, in some sense, take a back seat to my other joys, passions and interests (i.e. spiritual work).
However, I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend immersed in music, unlike I had been since I was a Music Education major in college (over eleven years ago). My former high school’s instrumental music director was retiring after thirty-five years, and a chorus and orchestra of alumni, current students, colleagues, and friends was being put together to perform Carl Orff’s masterwork, Carmina Burana.
Even though I was very much excited to reconnect and make music with old friends, so many fears arose – to my surprise – as the weekend approached. Firstly, the physical demands of singing for approximately nine hours of rehearsal (and thirty minutes in concert) over the weekend concerned me. As I said, I’ve been singing pretty consistently with lessons and practicing, but not for that many hours at a time, and definitely not with a chorus, in years. Beyond that, there was a part of me that was very nervous to come face-to-face with so many people I hadn’t seen in such a long time. Yes, most of us had connected via social media. But my fears of being “less than” started to arise. Everyone seemed to be in happy relationships (with or without children), living in places they loved, doing work they enjoyed, with degrees lining their wall and a list of credentials a mile long.
My fears were immediately put to bed within the first hour of reconnecting with everyone. Before the rehearsals began, there was a coffee hour for us all to chat and connect. As I saw a friend and shared with him the things that were coming up for me, he said, “You know, we may have relationships and kids and degrees and all of that, but you have something pretty amazing yourself. You have work that you LOVE. Every time I look on Facebook and see one of your posts, you share how much you love what you do, you love your clients, and you love how you get to help people. You get to change lives, Jess. How many of us here can actually say that?” It took a moment, but that statement put everything into perspective. He was absolutely right, and though my fear told me otherwise, my heart knew that those words were truth. Even though another passion aside from music had guided my life in an entirely different course than I ever expected, it was just that – a passion – and I am grateful every day to be able to share that with others. In a day in age where so many are doing work because they “have” to, I feel blessed that I get to do work I love to do.
From there, the rest of the weekend flew, and was an absolute delight. It is no exaggeration to say that the myriad of emotions was expressed, from laughter to tears and bittersweet reminiscing to joy and hope. It awoke something within me I hadn’t felt since I was in school as a kid; to put words into it is elusive, but it was extraordinary. Making music with friends was pure JOY, and it got me thinking about how little, as adults, we actually carve out time to immerse ourselves in our passions, for more than a few mere moments.
The other thing that I realized is that by spending so much time in the energy of creativity, passion, and joy, that is when true magic and miracles can occur. All of us who participated on the stage that weekend (and even those behind the scenes or watching the concert) knew that something very special was occurring. There was something magical about the energy there, and we knew that we were all connected – to one another, and to something much, much greater than ourselves. What a beautiful space to play in; imagine if we all spent more time there, what a world this would be?
So, I invite you to take the time to dive in to the things you loved, or still love, to do. Make the time, and look at it as an act of relaxation and extreme self-care. Get some friends together, and share the things you love with one another! You will thank yourself – just as I am, a month after this amazing reunion – and you just may find yourself feeling more “in touch with spirit” as a result.
As a side note, for those who would like to see the performance, check out this video on YouTube!