The last week has been hard. Learning that I had tested positive for COVID-19 knocked the wind out of me. Not having the energy to do much of anything gave me lots of time to think or, perhaps, brood. What am I doing? Am I still on the right path? Is this where I am supposed to be? Still, I do not have an answer to any of those questions. And, in a way I had not expected, I ended up lost. When I started feeling better, it felt like I was spinning wildly. No longer acting with intention, I did not know where to start — or if what I have been trying to do even mattered anymore.
Let’s Talk About ‘Intention’
We all face challenges in life. I like to believe that how we react to those challenges defines, in part, who we are and who we can become. I reminded myself of that as I started to get lost in my brooding because I did not want to feel like I had hit a dead end. Really, where I am now is a part of my journey, but I do not have to let it be the essence of that journey. Instead, I can change the direction and, consequently, my thoughts and how I see myself in the world. To do that, though, there must be one principle that rules my life: intention. Because, as Oprah Winfrey writes in The Wisdom of Sundays, “Thought by thought, choice by choice, we are cocreating our lives based on the energy of our intention.”1
Give Yourself Credit
It is sometimes easy to forget that, most of the time, I do act intentionally. If I had not, then I would never have written any of my books or published them. It took intention to do those things. Because when you want to be a writer, you write. When you are a painter, you paint. When you are a musician, you practice. Artists do not wait for inspiration to create. We show up every day with the intention of getting down to work, not worrying about how good the work will be or who will like it. But we must give ourselves credit for doing the necessary work, no matter who we feel and no matter how the work is received.
Do Not Be Discouraged
In our daily lives, taking action is what propels us in the direction of our dreams. I know that sometimes our inner critic comes out to play. It is our job to silence him and others. Over the course of the pandemic, I learned to think about the company I keep. So should you. Because often the people who ridicule our dreams are the ones who gave up on their own. We must stand strong. We must be brave and bold. Because deep down in your gut, you know this is your calling.
Lately, I worried that I had, or was preparing to, give up on my calling. That was doubt stalking me. Today, I can say with confidence that I will always heed the call of what it is I feel compelled to do.
Life is too short not to.
1 Oprah Winfrey, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations, Flatiron Books, 2017, p.44