“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dream of meeting your heart’s longing.” ~ from the poem, The Invitation, by Oriah
With the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics tomorrow, this felt like a perfect opportunity to explore the Out of the Whirlwind Journal Perspective, Knowing.
These world-class athletes are certainly in their individual Knowing when they are taking part in their sports, whether that’s in training or in competition. It’s very likely that these athletes felt their first glimmers of this Knowing when they were very young and were first introduced to their sports. And this Knowing would have progressed from there, with a growing conviction instilled at the heart of this passion they are pursuing. It’s certain they experience great joy when they are making marked improvements, when they better their own records time and time again, first becoming the ‘one to watch’ then becoming ‘the one to beat’. Training in their particular sports isn’t work for these athletes—it’s bliss.
For athletes, the term ‘in the zone’ is often used to capture this feeling of Knowing. For others, being ‘in the zone’ is something else entirely. When we engage in that ‘something’, we too are in bliss. Our Knowing can spur us on to take up a cause, for example, someone who loves animals may take on fundraising activities for wild animal rehabilitation, or volunteer their time at their local SPCA, in addition to having pets in his or her life. Someone else may indeed be transformed themselves when they sit in front of a lump of clay imagining all the possibilities within it.
In his book, The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship, poet David Whyte tells the story of realizing his own Knowing. As a boy of 13, Whyte describes: “… seeing Jacques Cousteau sailing across the little television set in a corner of our living room in the North of England, and my mouth and my mind dropped open at the sight.” Deciding to follow in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau, Whyte drops all the arts subjects in favour of biology, chemistry and physics. “Ten difficult, hard-slogging, exam-clogged, rain-filled years later, relieved only by music, mountaineering and a good measure of alcohol now and again, I found myself, just as I had imagined, a hundred feet underwater at the base of a volcanic reef in the Galápagos Islands, running our of air while being threatened by a tiger shark. I was ecstatic, happy as ever I could imagine. Driven on by those original visions, I had come home.”
However, years later while running “the educational program of an organization dedicated to environmental teaching,” a lunch meeting makes him realize just how far away he is from ‘home’. His busyness had gotten in the way of his Knowing, as happens with many of us, but this lunch meeting was the reminder he needed to start moving back in the direction of home.
We can all recapture our Knowing when we discover our own day-to-day busyness has moved us too far away from our joy.
Your Knowing does not have to involve what you do to earn a living. It can be something as simple as spending time with friends that give you a sense of belonging.
Getting in touch with our Knowing is what brings joy into our lives. As with Appreciation, the more we include those things that give us joy, the higher our energies; this leads us to attract more joyful experiences for a fuller expression of ourselves.
We are meant to live our lives in joy. Getting ‘in the zone’ for each of us requires learning our own language of joy and tuning in to our moments of “oh, yeah!”
“Wittgenstein one of the great philosophers of the last century said, ‘You cannot enter any world for which you do not have the language.’” ~ David Whyte