Here is my dearest hope for our changing times. I hope more of us will turn our eyes away from the crumbling wreckage of conditions we knew, and turn our eyes toward what is now available. Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “The shell must break before the bird can fly.”

Many of us put our dreams on hold to take care of the “more important” matters of earning a living. Many got comfortable in the postponement fantasy of “retirement.” Someday, in utopia, over the rainbow, we’d be able to do what we’d really want. We’d grind our teeth on Mondays meanwhile, or sleepwalk through the week and collect our paycheck. I think the Universe is now saying, now or never. You didn’t come here to planet Earth to wait for your chance. This is your chance. You have more love, genius, and invincibility inside you than you realize. Do what you love now. Tap your secret advantages. Doing what you love isn’t just fun. It’s crucial.

You’ve been living your life from the tip of the iceberg. You have exponential resources beyond your habitual mind. There is a sweeping energy in love and a life-altering vitality in creativity. The poet Octavio Paz captured it this way “Inspiration is that strange voice that takes man out of himself to be everything he is, everything he desires: another body, another being.” The inspired self always knows an ultimate security.

I recently spent some time writing in a cabin with a kiva and streaming sunlight coming through the windows, in northern New Mexico. It reminded me how healing it is to do the things that matter to your soul. I wrote in my journal, “Some things are an answer in and of themselves. They are little vials of faith. They are medicine in which the illness you didn’t even know you had begins to clear up.”

Lately in the midst of our changing times, I keep recalling a wonderful Cuban wisdom: “You can’t take from me the dances that I’ve danced.” It reminds me of the fierce confidence that comes from being exuberantly alive. I have a client that had always wanted to go on an African safari, but she was afraid to take the time and money to do it. When she did it, she came back changed: brightened, fearless and free. It’s a change that has stayed with her. Talking about the changing climate of her job, she said recently, “No matter what happens in my life now, I’ll always have had Africa.” I can feel her glow through the phone lines. The stock market will fluctuate, the housing market will burp, but joy is eternal. It’s an abundance and solidity that never leaves your bloodstream.

I’m not saying you have to quit your job or abandon all attempts to support yourself. I’m saying that it would help you immensely to take things you love off the back burner and put them on the front one. Think about it. How can it be that the activity that gives you the most aliveness and fulfillment is extraneous to your life? Why would you be drawn, sometimes for years on end, to something useless? It’s not just that you’ll enjoy the hours you spend on painting or playing chess. It’s that doing what you love changes your brain chemistry, your energy levels, and your entire outlook on life.

Giving love to others or doing things that fascinate you changes the way you think. You will make better decisions when you come from love. You will have access to more choices, insights, and possibilities when your mind is calm and feeling bright and engaged and in a “I feel good” groove. You may take more risks or seize opportunities because you feel more confident. Let’s face it, you might not make the best decisions from the “I’m in fear and I’ll do anything, no matter the cost,” zone. In fear, you spend more money, choose small and tawdry, and do things you realize later were shortsighted. You’re impulsive and reactive instead of big-hearted, sweet-brained, conscious and selective.

If you’re in a rocky situation, doing something you love, even for 30 minutes can take the edge off of everything. I don’t know about you but when I’m starving, it’s hard for me to be a civilized human being. I may not howl at people or snatch ice cream cones out of their hands like a chimpanzee, but the thought does cross my mind. Now, when I’m fed, I’m absolutely charming. I have latitude. I have manners. I think of philosophical things to say or write. I can bear to wait in line without imagining throwing someone’s cell phone out the window and twisting their head off. You see, it’s just best to feed me.

It’s the same on a soul level. If we’re not doing what feeds us most, we’re walking around starved, with secret dry grasses, and then everything seems to enflame us. One of my clients hated her job, hated every nanosecond she had to spend there. But an interesting thing happened when she started to make writing her novel a priority in her life. She noticed that on the days she wrote, she felt calmer, like she’d gotten a massage for the tension in her soul. It wasn’t that she now loved her job. But she didn’t feel as though a thief had come in through the window and stolen her most cherished goods and even hope, day after day, leaving her with debris, regret, and forms to fill out.

Here’s some other practical benefits of doing things you love:

Doing what you love connects you to Infinite Love: Every spiritual book tells us that the brightest gold is hidden in the present moment. We have what we seek. Many spiritual paths also tell us that as we give, we receive. It’s easier to feel less fear and constriction, when we’re in the mindset of offering love and sharing our gifts. You will also find that when you follow your inspiration, you tap a sense of being connected to a bigger reality. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says “Our dreams come from a divine source. Moving in the direction of our dreams moves us toward our divinity.” When you do what you love, you open the doors to serendipity and inexplicable grace. I know that personally I came to believe in a loving God more through writing and teaching. I felt so much love in doing these activities and I felt a presence that always left golden keys and love notes on my path. I enjoy what the wisdom tradition of A Course in Miracles says, “Once you have chosen what you cannot complete alone, you are no longer alone.”

Doing what you love activates your secret strength: Love empowers you in ways that nothing else can. Sy Safransky, founder of The Sun magazine, wrote about the bottomless strength he found by pursuing his passion. “Marrying who I am with what I do—earning a life, not just a living—has been an act of the purest magic, aligning me with some raw power in the universe, giving me the strength to stay up late, get up early, do what I ‘d never do just for the money” In their book Success Built to Last, Jerry Poras, Stewart Emery, Mark Thompson pick up this same theme: “You may have noticed that we now live in a global economy where job security is a contradiction in terms. All you have is your personal capital, and we’re not talking about your money. It’s your talents, skills, relationships, and enthusiasm. Making success last takes a level of tenacity and passion only love can sustain. Without it, you’ll collapse under the weight of the hardship or long-lasting adversity that you are bound to encounter.” I’d also like to add, that in addition to wild stamina, you’ll also find you have more genius and aptitude in things you love.

Doing what you love is a clue to your next step: Doing what you love is not a static path. If you love playing the piano, it doesn’t mean you will always play the piano. It means you start with the piano, and the next step emerges. In my career, I started by writing poetry. That led to writing a personally intimate self-help book with poetic overtones. That led to doing workshops and offering individual coaching. That led to traveling and speaking. And I’m still romping onward on this dynamic path. Where you start off is not where you end up. The energy keeps building. But you have to take that first step in order to know the next step.

Oh, I hear the restless murmurs in the background already. They spit, “Are you crazy, write poetry in an economy like this? Take salsa lessons? Play video games with my grandkids? Yes, by all means step away from your somber, limited mindset. You can always go back, if you like. But meanwhile step into the light. You were given your desire for a reason. You were given the talents you have. I wonder just how rich your life will be, once you tap your ultimate security.

Copyright 2008 Tama J. Kieves, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Tama J. Kieves, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, left her law practice to write and to encourage others to live fulfilling, meaningful lives. She is a sought-after speaker, career and transition coach and best-selling author of THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love (Tarcher/Penguin). Learn more about Tama’s workshops, international retreats, coaching, free monthly supportive e-newsletter, or download her Free Report on “Finding Your Calling Now” at www.AwakeningArtistry.com.