Should versus Must

Thursday, May 16, 2019

While perusing a list of must-read books on Pinterest I came across this book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna (what a fanastic name!) and added it to my own list of must-reads. And finally, Monday I received it and started reading it. It's a short read and absolutely available online RIGHT HERE for free!

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However, I have to say the book version, with its beautiful watercolor words, was wonderful to read.

So many of  us are searching for meaning and passion in life and find ourselves stifled by the shoulds-society's expectations and our own responsiblities. This book doesn't suggest shirking our responsibilities. It doesn't promise your love for sketching blades of grass with your toes is going to help you quit your day job. However, what this book offers is true inspiration to make time to attend to those musts, those passion-inspired, soul-required excursions, whether physical or mental, into those areas that your spirit simply MUST take to lead a life well-lived.

Listen. I don't want to do a typical book review because that isn't my style and it would be cramped and forced. I do want to share some of my favorite parts to whet your appetite a bit.
What is a must? In the section entited, The Crossroads, "Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self."
Are you taking the time to get to know your musts? Are you aware of those things which make you who you are? Which bring your soul to life?

There are a few exercises in here, to help you sort out your shoulds and musts and find out where you stand. You may already know. You may be spending your time, not starting at Facebook for hours (so guilty), but diving into your dream and reaching for your goal. But if you could use a little nudge, this book can stir those butterflies

Another of my favorite quotes was in Part III, Must, on page 61. "'If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path,' Joseph Campbell said. 'Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.'"

For some reason this really resonated with me. I find myself guilty of trying to hijack another person's path. I am not trying to steal it from them, but as an INFP, I often am unsure if I am headed in the right direction until I take a step and try something on for real, because I can convince myself of anything and any possibility. I imagine I am not alone in this. When we see someone succeeding and happy on their own path, we want to share that. We want to be happy and successful. Those are great things, right? But you have to be so careful not to let yourself hijack someone else's dream. Make sure it is authentically and truly yours by doing the head and heart work. What do you really, really, really want out of this life?

If you aren't sure, the best way to get started is to make a list. As a teacher of basic writing skills, I always tell my students, just start putting words on paper. Make a list. Don't judge. Let it all fall out. Eventually a pattern will emerge. When you go back, you will see some things don't really work and others are really centering around one theme or idea.

Then if you are really feeling brave, write down your most wildest dream, the dream you have had since you were a little girl or boy and just hold on to it. You can hide it between your mattresses or you can tape it on your front door-that's up to you. But once you let yourself be really brave and truly honest, you will eventually get to the meat of you and your purpose. And it can be scary. It is scary to know my deep desire is not only to share my thoughts and words, but to be well-known and influential. Because part of one of that can happen, I am doing it now. But part two is not guaranteed. Part two is partially out of my hands and I might fail. I will fail. I fail all the time. More on that later.

And finally I sat down and wrote a few notes which pertained to my particular situation. I love to write and I love to be home. Sometimes I am crazy-bitter at the fact that I have to earn a living to support my family. My job isn't awful. In fact, I think my department does important work and influences the lives of vulnerable young people, and I am proud of it. I love the respect I get when I wear my work badge into a local store. But still this simmering resentment of not being totally and completely ~*free*~ continues.

and then I stopped reading for a minute and wrote. I will share a bit:

What if what I do to earn a living is not necessary just for survival, but also because the stress of human interactions and the strain of trying to fit a mold eight hours a day actually brings about the conflict which stirs the negative feelings which causes me to struggle and search for answers, and finally do what I love to do-write about my thoughts. 

Can I have one without the other?
If I were home, fat and content, would I go through the soul refinement of self-reflection? 
Is what I love being home (yes!) or is it writing (double yes!!). 

I encourage you, as you consider reading this book, to stop stomping your feet as you come to terms with your shoulds, see how this leads into creativity which fuels your musts, and start planning a life which satisfies your soul.

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