Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Don't Ask Yourself What the World Needs...

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

~Howard Thurman

Is it possible to be too alive?  I get so excited every day.  Some days more than others.  Some days I'm overwhelmed.  But every day something stirs me.  I have another brilliant idea and then wonder when I can make it happen.  Or does that wondering come from my scarcity mentality, knowing there is not enough time to do what I want to do, so I am withholding nourishment from that part of me that wants to be alive?  

This morning I had an idea for a book.  That, in and of itself, is not surprising.  I have had many book ideas.  Many good book ideas.  I have a whole collection of books waiting to be written.  This morning was different, though.  I've been excited about ideas before, but this one had me dancing and singing.  This one had my dear daughter thinking I had gone a little wacko, and pretty soon I was so excited that she insisted I tell her my idea.

I said, "OK, if I tell you, you have to be my cheerleader.  You have to be the one who tells me I can do it, I will write this book even if no one else thinks it's worthwhile."

Dear daughter, a fourth-grader, asked, "What if I don't like your book idea?"

I told her it was okay to say so, but she still had to be my cheerleader or I wasn't going to tell her.  She liked my idea, and my next idea about my idea, and my ideas about my ideas, and okay, it may have been just the joy of seeing her mom giggle and exclaim, but she was sold on it.

I had quite a bit of trouble concentrating on my work much of the day.  My work did not involve anything remotely related to my book idea.  I'm a good worker and I got focused and got lots of work done, and by the end of the day, I wasn't even thinking about the book, and I had had many other brilliant ideas, some of which competed directly with the idea of writing my book.  Now, in the quiet evening, many idea later, I feel as alive as ever.

Still a little too alive.  Or no-- not too alive, but too hungry.  Each idea is not a sign of life, but is instead a hunger pang.  In order to come alive, I need to nourish myself.  I need to find the right "food" to fuel each idea.  Then I may come alive.  What seems like "alive" now is just knowing that I need to be.  The excitement of an idea is like the saliva that increases when I see food after going a few hours without eating.  And now I see the part of the quote that I missed: 

and go do it.

That is what it will mean to come alive.

A dear friend once told me that my "energy and enthusiasm for life" were "unparalleled."  I quote her to myself when I need a boost (i.e. I don't quite feel as she described).  In this moment, though, that energy and enthusiasm looks like a craving, my soul telling me it needs nourishment the same way my body might hint when it's lunchtime.  

And so, we are back to Give What You Crave.  I am grateful for my special daughter who helps me do that.  At one point this morning, I said, "Now I'm feeling a little deflated."  

"Why?" she asked.

"I'm so excited about my book, but a little voice in my head just said, 'You have to clean your house first.'"  I whined.  My shoulders slumped.

Dear daughter just looked up at me, a determined look on her face, and said, "You have to write that book."  

I am blessed.


  1. Wow, love this story (and your daughter!). I'll be your cheerleader, too - Go write that book! Even if you just take 30 mins a day to get your thoughts down and work on it step-by-step, you'll be nourishing your vision. And I can tell that's where you need to be. Best wishes!!

    1. 30 minutes sounds like a feast! But you are right. I will find a way.

      Today I told dear daughter how grateful I am for her. She said, "Okay. That was random." LOL! My children are exactly the souls I need in my life.

  2. Great story, Emily. Setting aside writing time without distractions or caught in 'doing' one's to-do list, is important. Good luck with your writing and book! You have a wonderful cheerleader! :)

    1. I sure do! And what was so amazing was how she looked me in the eye and said it so earnestly. Like she meant it, not like she was trying to be my cheerleader. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

  3. Amazing story Emily! What a blessing it is to live your life your way. Your enthusiasm and energy jumps out of the post you share with us. You will write that book. Keep your dreams alive!


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