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life on traveling

Where Am I Needed?

I’ve been struggling a bit lately, and it’s being spurred on by my needing to vacate my home in favor of vacation renters who I’ve lined up for much of the summer.  The question of where I am going often comes up for me and I simply don’t know – many thoughts and ideas and people, but the entire plan doesn’t seem to have a clarity which is coming together.  The other night I had one of those tossing and turning kind of sleeps and somewhere in the night I remember the question ‘What am I doing?” clearly arising.  And it wasn’t a “What am I doing tossing and turning?” kind of question, or even a “Where am I going to travel/live while I have renters?” question, but was more of a ‘What am I doing with my life?’ kind of question.  I have such a blessed opportunity in this lifetime to really make the most of it and in some way I feel I am squandering that opportunity.  I have freedom in my life which is accorded to only a few people.  I have managed to create a life which doesn’t have much formal structure to it, yet I don’t really know what I am doing with that freedom.  I have many passions and activities in my life including photography, woodworking, music, writing, managing my home as an occasional rental, participation in a couple of business ventures, developing with some friends a new internet site which I believe would be a gift of sorts to the world, and also trying to be a good friend to people, provide support where needed, and bring people together in community, so it’s not like I’m lacking for things to do, but still somewhere in the middle of the night, I awoke with a somewhat piercing “What am I doing?”

I mention this in context with my upcoming vacating of my home, because without some overarching sense of purpose, or framework for my life, my next destination doesn’t necessarily just appear so magically.  A month or so ago, I wrote about doing my best to avoid identifications, being careful not to call myself a photographer, or a writer, or a Buddhist or really anything that might give me a false, albeit comforting, sense of identification.  Perhaps this “swimmingness” that I feel is in part an offshoot of that eschewing of identification, because I don’t feel nearly as moored to anything as I have in the past.

I spent much of last evening making music with a friend of mine at her place.  It was so much fun to play and sing together.  She has a baby grand piano, guitars, bass, amps, microphones and drums.  We made music for hours.  Such joy, making music with others.  I’ve always been so much more of a solo musician (careful, that’s an identification), and there was a liberation in sharing music with another.  During a break on the porch of her 150 year old home (with cows and geese outside and seals honking in the background) I told her about this struggle I was having and how I awoke in the middle of the night.  She asked me a very simple question: “Where are you needed?”  Such a wonderful question it was because it was a welcome shift in perspective for me.  What a wonderful life it would be if I could go, rather than to places that serve me in some form, to places where I am needed.  To simply answer the call, bring my love and talents where needed.  Just thinking about that is relaxing to my soul.

So I’ll see where that path leads, or if I even decide to follow that path, but for the moment, it feels like going to a thrift store and finding an exact copy of an old favorite shirt which had long since been worn through and discarded.


3 replies on “Where Am I Needed?”

Quick update…. within 24 hours or hearing that “Where are you needed?” question, I had helped a friend hang a cabinet, helped another in removing a little curio shelf from her business, and helped a friend pick up a mattress. I also made cupcakes with the girls of a friend of mine. I love that question, “Where am I needed?” and I love the feeling which accompanies generosity. It's 10am and I haven't asked that same question of myself today. Hmmmmm……. where am I needed today?

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