This post, which first appeared on my blog in 2007, reminds me that I do indeed circle back on emotional experiences again and again.  Hopefully they are the kind of circles that actually represent one spiral up the mountain…

Photo courtesy of borogoves.

The last month has been characterized by a sort of emotional/spiritual malaise that has settled on my soul like dead weight. I haven’t been motivated to do much beyond what’s necessary; nothing has ignited excitement or passion lately. Work leaves me flat, and a bit worried. I’ve always felt like I had to find THE THING that I’d want to do for the rest of my life, and then do it with absolute dedication and focus. The problem? I have gone through two and a half careers that I loved for a year or five, then lost interest in. Is that happening again? I’m too old to keep changing careers! But I don’t want to spend the majority of my week doing something that I don’t enjoy…

A couple weeks ago I pulled Barbara Sher’s book Refuse To Choose off the shelf. Her books have meant a lot to me over the years; when I was ready to leave acting I didn’t know what I wanted to do next, and her books I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was and Live The Life You Love were exactly the books I needed to get my bearing and move forward.

Refuse To Choose is about a particular type of person that Barbara calls a Scanner: a kind of modern-day renaissance person, who loves exploring all sorts of different interests but who often gets bored easily and moves at various rates of speed from one subject (and/or career) to another. All my life I’ve considered myself flawed because I often become obsessed with something and study everything I can get my hands on about that subject…for a few weeks, or months, or maybe years. Once I’ve reached a certain level of competency or understanding, I usually lose all that passion and feel restless to find the next thing that will consume me. It’s been a source of embarrassment for me, feeling that I can’t finish things…that I never stick something out until I achieve mastery…that my life is full of half-done projects…stacks of half-read books…I’ve felt like a failure in many ways.

This book has turned my perspective on its head! For the first time ever, I don’t feel ashamed of this pattern of mine. I don’t feel like every interest has to be turned into a career, or that it’s not worth delving into if I can’t make money at it. That’s surprisingly liberating! So I’ve started doing some things that I enjoy, just for the enjoyment and just for as long as I find them enjoyable. The upshot? Work feels lighter and more interesting, which is a bit of a relief even though I’m also opening myself to the possibility that I work best when I do a few things part-time, creating an stimulating and varied workweek. I feel lighter and more interested in learning just for the sake of it.

So, I’m learning Irish Gaelic, hearing all I can from Glen Hansard, The Frames, and Interference after seeing the sweet Irish film Once last week, making tasty Coconutty Cubes (see recipe below) so I can get my daily dose of coconut oil, writing a bit of a song on the mandolin, and allowing myself to dream freely about trips abroad. Next week I’d like to finally get a few aprons made, and I think I may let my knitting project sit tight until fall, when knitting seems more in season.

Coconutty Cubes

Mix together some coconut oil (get good quality, organic, virgin, unrefined) and some dehydrated coconut with a bit of cocoa powder or carob powder and a dash of sweetener like maple syrup, honey or stevia. Mix well and spoon into an ice cube tray, and leave overnight to solidify. The end-product is chewy and sweet, and in my tray one cube provides about 2T of coconut oil. Yum! For information about the myriad health benefits of coconut, read this!