There is a bear within me. It hibernates from time to time. Sometimes for months, other times for years, but when the bear within me awakens it becomes increasingly harder each time to ignore it. My bear represents my desire to be creative regardless of the medium I choose to express my creativity with. Now after a lengthy hibernation, the bear within me is stirring and the bear wants to be free.
For the longest I went along with the notion that I had to have a corporate job, to have one to two weeks of vacation a year and all that nonsense. You now the same monotonous routine. Get up, work, come home and repeat the same process the next day and the day after that. The only change in my life was the day of the week. That was my life, shackled to a desk using my talents to make other’s money while they paid me a paltry salary and I was stupid enough to believe that was what was best for me.
I ignored what was inside me, what made me happy, what made me feel alive to appease what society has pushed upon us as to what it conceives as to be the right way to live life. At that time I didn’t know I was dead inside. I lacked creativity and worst of all, I lacked purpose. It’s one thing to be true to yourself, but it’s another to lie to yourself constantly day after day pretending the lies were the truth.
I’ve always had a love and a passion for photography. A passion to travel and explore. A passion for writing and a strong desire to create. Somewhere along the line I ignored those passions. I became a robot.
From time to time in my adult life I always felt something stirring within me. It started out as a faint whisper that eventually became a roar I could no longer ignore. It felt like something was clawing me on the inside trying to get my attention. I couldn’t really rationalize what it was. It was this yearning sensation inside that was pulling me away from a corporate desk and into a world full of possibility and like a stubborn child I did my best to ignore it; pretend it never existed. And that was how I was able to get the bear within me to hibernate. For whatever reason, I ignored the best part of me.
With each new spring the bear within me would awaken. Hungry from a long winter’s nap for a taste of creativity. For a taste of freedom. For a taste of a life that I had always wanted but was never brave enough to pursue. Why wasn’t I brave enough? Because I was conditioned to be that is why. Conditioned by what society said I ought to be and not what I wanted to be.
For once in my life I stopped ignoring the bear within me. I let him wander aimlessly. I let him be free and do you know what I found. Happiness. Happiness in taking photographs. Happiness in feeling the pen gently touch a piece of paper as works flow from the ink like a river with no end in sight. Happiness in exploring. I found my passions. I had found my calling and best of all I have found my happiness.
How many people can say they have found what truly makes them happy? How many people wake up knowing their day was going to be great because they were following their passion and not some pre-scripted version of a life others think they should live?
What set my bear free once and for all was watching Chase Jarvis speak to other creatives, entrepreneurs on his 30 Days of Genius. Those interviews spoke to me. They resonated with me in a way nothing else has. They made believe in the impossible. They made me believe in me. They showed me that others had a similar bear within them and how they chose the path of the bear for their life.
I know going forward listening to my bear, feeding my bear is not going to be easy. There will be failures. Hell, I’ve failed so much in life already that I’m a pro, but I won’t give up. I may make mistakes galore, but I only have to be right once. I don’t know where my bear is going to take me and that is ok. Like Rocky Balboa in his first matchup with Apollo Creed, I just want to go the distance. I want to ride out this journey with my bear and see what happens.
We all have our own bears within us. They all roar for different reasons. Have you listened to your bear recently? What is your bear saying to you?