“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you."
C. JoyBell C.
Today is my first day back to work after Christmas holidays and what's unusual this year is that I return with no expectations of change or big dreams for the future. The reason for this, I believe, is because the future is now. Every big dream I've held work wise over the years has come to pass and I'm now in a place of enjoying and appreciating the fruits of my labour.
I was just reading about this yesterday. A good friend posted an article link on Facebook that reminds the reader that most of the good things in life are the result of struggle, and it's our willingness to be in the struggle and our ability to work through it that determines whether we'll be successful or not. It also speaks to the idea that sometimes our beings - the inner most essence of who we are - will give up on a dream long before we have because it will already know when a path is not the right one. I know this because I've had that experience.
It was five years ago. I won a contest through Kraft Foods Canada by creating a recipe for Pork Tenderloin that featured Philadelphia Cream Cheese (I know, and don't ask). Anyways, as part of the prize package, I had the opportunity to shoot two professional cooking videos featuring cream cheese.
Bear in mind that this moment was the culmination of much energy and many dreams and as the lights shone on me while the people from hair and makeup spruced me up and the director called "Action," it should have been a moment of fullness and gratitude that would act as a stepping stone onward to even more exciting things.
Except, in the moment, I felt utterly deflated, lost and disappointed because in that split second between action and me being "on," I had a moment of clarity. It was like this little voice way down at the bottom of my being stepped out from behind a curtain and said, "but you don't give a shit about cream cheese." (sorry Kraft)
I pushed through, however, and erased those thoughts from my mind, telling myself to have gratitude for such an amazing opportunity, and reminding myself of all I had worked for to get to where I was. And when I returned home, I launched myself into creating a cooking channel on Youtube, entering new contests, working as a website ambassador for Kraft Foods and even appearing on Food Network Canada on the popular show Recipe to Riches. So you'd think with all that, my cooking career would have taken off.
In two short words: It didn't.
But I never gave up - in much the same way as I never gave up on another dream, one I had over 20 years ago as a young stay at home mom when I thought about, envisioned, and eventually manifested the creation of programs that would bring a sense of hope and resilience to youth who were feeling lonely, disenfranchised, depressed, or suicidal.
This was also born of loss and struggle. After having a lost friend to suicide at 18, I was also incredibly familiar with feelings of not wanting to be here, of not feeling like I was good enough, or that I belonged. In fact, it wasn't until I was about 23 years old that I finally arrived at a happy enough place to see that hope could be the antithesis to despair, and that a connection to one person who cared enough to believe in me had the power to change everything.
A seed was planted. I wanted to help young people feel less alone.
As does any seed, though, it took awhile to grow, and because it was like a wish made on a dandelion sent to the wind, I had no idea what it would become or what it would look like when it finally grew.
Which brings me back to now. Over the years the dream to help young people has been difficult, and discouraging, and sometimes even heart breaking. This is why, at the start of each New Year I begin thinking about the endless possibilities of who I could be and what I could do away from this - like cooking on camera with cream cheese. I understand now, though, that I never made these things happen because my soul knew it wasn't time. As much as I may think I'm working toward something else, if my soul knows I'm not ready yet, nothing is going to happen.
But I also realize that all of my hard work has not been in vain. It's been going somewhere and preparing the way for the day the next dandelion seed reaches the ground.
I may have no control over what the next flower might look like but I can rest easy in the knowledge that all seeds eventually plant and that the beauty in life lies not in its certainty but in the surprises.