Tuesday, January 4, 2011

new year, new adventure, newfound courage

So this is a somewhat delayed New Year blog post... but I had been busy over the New Year weekend. I went down to Cincinnati and helped my good friend and her husband pack their apartment to move to New York City. Of course, I was tasked with packing up the kitchen. ;-)

What a timely way to move - what better than to have a fresh start, a new beginning, at the start of the new year?

My friend joked to me, "Why is it that at least one of us is always in boxes?"

 my move in 2006

It's true. Most of her belongings will be going to a storage unit temporarily as she will be staying with an aunt in the city before they find a place. Going from a spacious 3-bedroom unit in a mid-size Midwestern city to an apartment in Manhattan is no joke.

Similarly, since November of last year, many of my belongings have also been in storage (thanks to my brother's large basement) while I am living the student life again.

I wonder if this is a sign that we'll never really get settled too long in any one place. Granted, this friend of mine has been moving and traveling pretty much all her life. I stayed in one place in my home country for most of my life, but traveled after I "came of age" at 24 when I first moved here for graduate school in 2003.

As much as I long to lay down roots and feel settled in a place and in a community, the call of adventure and opportunity is always there. It knocks, it beckons, it shakes me to my core until all I can hear in my gut is, "JUST GO."

It's the call of a dream -- a dream that tugs at your heart and soul, wanting to be fulfilled. It's the call of your inner voice, wanting something more, knowing that you are capable of surprising yourself. It's the call of a secret passion, whatever that may be, wanting to come alive. It doesn't matter if the dream comes to fruition overnight (which it almost never does) or if the dream unfolds slowly -- but we are called to take action, bit by bit, no matter how small... as a sculptor slowly works on a stone or piece of wood, chipping away at it until it finally becomes a work of art. And the art here is not just in the product, but in the process -- as it is in life.

It's an invitation to be courageous.

And how interesting that the root word of courage is from the Latin "cor"/"cour", which means "heart" (hence "coeur" = "heart" in French). In a TED talk by Brene Brown, she defines courage in this sense as "to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart." It's the courage to be passionate, vulnerable, and imperfect... even when life is scary.

"bleeding hearts" flowers, Asheville NC, 2009

Another friend of mine shared this excerpt with me a few years ago, and I thought now is a good time to share it.

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." - Neil Gaiman, writer and artist

And my New Year wish for you and me is: May you find courage to wholeheartedly live out your story.

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