When I was young in the summers, I changed my clothes many times each day…from running around and playing in the forest clothes…to going swimming clothes…to waiting on tables clothes…to swimming clothes again…to waiting on tables clothes again…to playing kick-the-can clothes…to prayer service clothes…to beach picnic clothes or playing kick-the-can clothes again…getting into bed clothes…to sneaking out of the house mischief clothes. And then it would begin allover again!
I think this was preparation for my “career!”
The beginning of a new year always is a great time to assess, reflect, even do what I call a “ruthless inventory,” about what is wearing me down or has lapsed in terms of my interests as well as what intrigues me…what I’m curious about. It usually leaves me shedding, and, perhaps shifting, pivoting…and sometimes even adding!
Over the years I’ve learned that life NEVER happens in a straight line (at least in my own experience and in the lives of everyone I’ve ever talked with)…AND…just because we are tempted to make a move outside our present comfort zone, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take that step.
At the Sinai Forum last fall, violinist Rachael Barton Pine shared highlights of her life using her violin to mark a variety of themes and things she has done and created. Toward the end of her talk, she used the word “portfolio” to describe her life’s work. When she said that word…”portfolio”…I instantly sat up straighter. It was as if I awoke to myself in a different way. “That’s so true,” I thought. My life’s work IS a portfolio. That definition…that one word of description…made my whole being smile.
So often we attach themselves to a noun…like nurse, doctor, lawyer, waitress, hostess, EMT, carpenter, electrician, fireman, statesman, teacher, professor, scientist, astronaut, actor…you get the drift. For as long as I can remember I’ve thought people are so much more than labels we have come to claim and use to define ourselves. I myself always have railed against being pigeonholed as a lawyer, coach, artist, mentor…whatever word anyone is using to define me at the moment. “I am who I AM!” I want to shout to the world. Ask me what it tickling my fancy right now…at this very moment! Then I’m happy to engage in the conversation.
When Rachael Pine used the word “portfolio” describing her life and work, I just breathed a sigh of relief. It was as if I could accept myself now…and all that I am…without judgement because I didn’t continue to practice law…I don’t always create art…I don’t always coach/mentor.
Yes, I did leave the private practice of law…and became a mediator…and became a life coach…a consultant…an organizer in politics (did you miss that chapter?)…an organizer of mentoring programs…a photographer and composer of Haiga…and video-podcaster…and on and on…adding as I went…and as I continue to go. Each step of the way, didn’t leave myself behind. I don’t even stop using my skills. Rather, I GROW…in knowledge, awareness and my capacity to serve others at the same time as I, myself, expand.
Embracing the concept of life as a portfolio…well it’s just a blessing.
When we do, we can relax.
We can just be ourselves.
We can just feel totally comfortable knowing that all of what we engage in, feeds our sousl as well as that of others we do our best to serve.
There are no regrets…no mis-steps. The artistry of living is found in each of us.
Curious about stories of others who have created lives they love? See youTube channel: “Creating From the Heart – the Artistry of Living” People I chat with have said “yes!” To life.
Check it out.
And pass it on!