Everywhere one can witness new parents working 24/7 to make sure their little tots have everything necessary to conquer this formidable world. Concentrating on crib innovations, stroller technology, and breathable diaper-covers, these parents are relentless consumers, all with the singular mission to aid their prodigy to the top. However, recently, my memories, dreams and reflections have reminded me that the best backdrop for our children is one where we cultivate our own passions. Yes, you read that correctly, your own. For, after all, as Carl Jung remarked, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” Last week I was reminded exactly what that means to me…
Against the “Winter Storm Warning” on my iPhone weather app and the snow covered road ahead of us, my sweetie and I drove to the most northern ski area in Vermont to meet with relatives vacationing there. Everything about my own psychological, emotional, and physical tendencies kicked in as soon as we hit the Pump House at Jay Peak. You see, for me, being physical, social and playful is a passion; throw family into the mix and I’m rejuvenating on every level. Outside as the storm raged on, we ran from surfing to tubing inside the new multi-million dollar water park. No one had to tell me how to enjoy myself, for my familial love of splashing and floating was born decades ago as I watched and then joined my own parents in lakes, rivers, oceans and even pools. My memory is chock-full with such outings. Perhaps without understanding Jung’s advice, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do,” they knew this to be true. My parents didn’t take me to frolic on the beach because they thought it would be good for me, they brought me because they knew it would be good for them. Here, in this slope-side watery wonderland I witnessed fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters grinning ear to ear as they piled into inner tubes and plunged down into the pools below, all revitalized by their passion for water play as I am.
The intricate nature of dreams came to mind after I read a post from a young woman, who along with her responsibilities for three young children and husband, maintains an active blog, Miranda Makes A Blog. Miranda’s recent post highlighted her sweet and captivating drawing of her daughter. As soon as I saw it I was reminded of Miranda’s talent, and was struck that despite all the household tasks that might keep her from picking up charcoal and sketch pad, she did exactly that. Jung warns, “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.” Undoubtedly, her children will learn that filling the day with moments given over to artistic expression is essential to maintaining sanity, and perhaps, even more so, give one a sense of purpose. Their lives will be fuller lives given this young mother’s ability to tap into her artistic sensibility, as I know mine is as I write during stolen moments.
Despite the cold wind and icy snow in my snow-globe world, I find myself daily bundling up to face the elements for a walk or run or ski. “Why are you going out there again?” is the question a saner person might ask. Upon reflection I realize it has more to do with being able to hear my soul than any benefits the physical activity might provide. This is learned behavior on my end, for my father sought refuge within the cathedrals of the forest, the whistling through the trees his choir, the solitude his prayer book. How could I not seek in a similar manner? Well, I suppose I might, but when pressed, it is always an easy choice to walk into my mind and find my way once again.
Time and time again I am struck by people who are fired up and engaged in their life, for they are exhilarating to be around, and with minimal prodding you see that their ingrained passion is no fluke; instead, the drive for passion, the need for passion, the obsession for living one’s passion, essential to a life worth living, is as much a part of them as their foot. For those not lucky enough to grow in such an environment, passion must be cultivated. Jung advises us to discover exactly where our passions lie and in doing so one will truly live a marvelous life: “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Once your passion is discovered, life truly will be a privilege.