Yesterday I was reading “The Element – How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” by Ken Robinson (http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/). As the title suggests it’s about finding and allowing your passion in your life. Or your element, your calling, your soul mission, higher purpose whatever name works for you. The book has a number of inspiring examples of people who found theirs, not in the least because somebody else saw their unique, special and personal talent. In chapter six (What Will They Think) he addresses three sources of blocks that could prevent us from finding ours:
The personal source if blocks are mainly the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Or beliefs as I have labelled them in previous blogs. Of course they do not emerge in isolation but are nourished by the other two sources: social and cultural.
The social component could be the example of parents and, later on, peers. In our desire for belonging we will surrender a bit (or a lot) of our unique talents that we are blessed with. Parents will often do so because they mean well. They would like you to have a financially secure future which can only be obtained by performing tedious tasks in an environment they believe is the only one to make that possible. This particularly hit home with me. When I was 14/15 years old my dad asked me what I wanted to do once I had finished secondary school (I lived in holland back then). To me it was crystal clear. Having enjoyed classical guitar lessons since the age of twelve, I wanted nothing more that to go to one of the advanced music schools in Holland to further study guitar. My dad startled at my reaction and said he thought that was a great idea but completely useless at the same time. And hence a period of brainwashing followed where my parents, firing questions at me to which I had no answer, attempted to get me to change my mind and study something more sensible like Economics. Finally I gave in and went to study Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam., Needless to say it was quite exciting but I never landed one of those successful careers with a big corporation. It was clear I just didn’t fit in. After a number of consulting and commercial and general management roles (where I showed my ability to build something out of nothing) I dared to make coaching my main activity. That was in the year 2000. People had always fascinated me and looking back at some 15 years of working experience, the people component was one of the main themes. As a matter of fact people still continue to fascinate me and I indeed would say I love people. And I remember having had my first coaching ocnverstaion when I was 14 years old. Being an executive coach talking to the brass of many companies throughout Europe and beyond was still an honourable thing getting respectful looks at cocktail parties. And I enjoyed and still enjoy this work, which focuses on bringing my clients closer to their purpose) very much. So all started to work out quite well.
In 2008 everything seemed to come to a full stop. Just enough work to keep me alive and with the first financial crisis I at least had something to point at when people asked me how business was. In 2009 I was wondering what it would take to get out of the doldrums and worked with a coach myself for a while. During a workshop (Alan Seale’s Manifestation Wheel http://www.transformationalpresence.org/ ) it became clear that something wanted to manifest through me and it was clear beyond any doubt that this was what turned out to be my first novel www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome) This may sound crazy (or perhaps familiar?) but the story of the book had been around for a while as had other stories (that subsequently got published by other authors). But I had not allowed it to become manifest through me because of many personal beliefs (I can’t be an author, This is just something on the side, I am a coach, consultant and what not). As a result the writing was quite strenuous and progress was rather poor until this breakthrough encounter in September 2010 (which I documented in https://geerthofman.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/almost-there-1/)
So far so good: the book got published and then nothing much changed…… Well, that is, I continue to experience flow when I engage in writing and working with the book and I have started on my second novel (which you can download for free as an ebook (http://www.geerthofman.com/publications) and to which you can contribute if you wish). But flow is something I also experience when engaging with…music. Since 2009 I’ m playing guitar in one of Germany’s best bigbands http://www.ffb-bigband.de/, in a classic rock and rhythm ‘ n blues band and a few other initiatives. I have composed a few pieces and arranged a few others and I am learning new things everyday. I’ve played at festivals, in bars, at weddngs and funerals. I’ m surrounded by several remarkable and highly talented musicians for whom playing music is not the economic backbone as it isn’t for me.
So after having been asleep for some thirty years (although I have always been playing guitar) music is fully back in my life and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this. Being on stage, creating an atmosphere by sharing live music really gets me going as well as the audiences. Of course there are people who look pitifully on me, thinking that at 50 years of age one finally should have become mature. Yeah right! Mature! For what reason? To fit in? To live a life which is not mine and which I have been living for too long already? I don’ t care what they think, especially not when they are dancing to the music I play (which I assume is a sign of them having a good time)
Allowing myself to be (and grow as) an author of commercial fiction and a musician, puts me in this position where I a, living the life which I want my coachees to live: our own. And I do so by showing the example. Which is different from only telling people they should wake up and live. I have no exact planning of how my future will look like but in the process of becoming more and more aligned with my personal calling I have learned to trust life, the universe to manifest the right things at the right time in my life. It’s about actively (co-)creating rather than sitting at home and waiting for something to happen. Deep down, on soul level, I know I’ m doing the right thing.
So, to recap: after a long period of trying to fit in and to live a life which was’t mine (but which I couldn’ t see), I finally dared to start breaking free. I do what enjoy most: coaching, writing and playing music. It took a few crises to wake me up and a few people who showed up at the right time in my to make that possible. And I would invite all of you to start breaking free as well. Why don’t you share your experiences here?