At some point in our lives, many of us arrive at a reckoning. The scenarios are different, but some version of a question can show up: What happened to that thing I used to love to do?
My friend Catherine and my client Tina have both returned to painting after decades in commercial graphic design and teaching. Their paths and creative personalities are wildly different, but both heard “the voice” at a certain point, first quiet and then loud and persistent.
Catherine's desire to create her own art, for herself and others, existed in the background for her through a long career in graphic design. After retiring from her corporate job, she explored various painting approaches and styles, and eventually relaunched herself with a studio
and showing her paintings publicly.
Tina has transitioned from product design and teaching into art facilitation, helping individuals and groups to express themselves through art. Along the way, she recently heard an inner voice calling her back to painting, and before she knew it she had an entire collection of gorgeous florals which she’s exploring how to share.
In my work as a coach, I’ve known many people who have gone through periods of dissatisfaction or anxiety in their work lives. Or, even when they’re relatively happy in their jobs or livelihood, they have a restless feeling that they could be happier doing something else – either instead of or in addition to their current work. Although Catherine and Tina both are pursuing painting, a passion can just as easily lean into writing, volunteering in pet rescue, organizing around a political cause, teaching people to read, or studying insects.
Sometimes we feel a desire to recover something left behind, or something lost. We might busy ourselves with things to distract us, but then when we allow some stillness, it comes to us that we may be missing some pursuit that has brought us joy, or even a sense of purpose. It might be something we used to do that we gave up on, or that someone told us was useless or had no future. Or it might be a new-found fascination or an ability we’ve learned that we have.
I have always loved this line from The Faerie Queene, “For there is nothing lost, that may be found if sought.” What I know is that the stillness, the pause, is what we need to invite into our lives, to listen to what’s important to us now. And that doesn’t have to be the same thing as any other time in our lives!
If this resonates with you, please consider joining Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and me for our Your Right Livelihood retreat, happening Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 at beautiful Unity Village in Lee’s Summit, MO. We will guide a wonderful group of people through an experience of exploring and planning for what calls to you now. If you would like to schedule a call to see if it’s right for you, you can do that here. We would love to welcome you!