Craft stores are like a foreign country to me. They’re wildly interesting to visit, and I’m captivated by the endless treasures their aisles hold, but while there, I am a stranger in a strange land. This week, I made a forced expedition to Joann Fabrics to buy sewing notions for a project my daughter has to do in school. Listen, I had a list from the teacher. It included very specific items. I am a grown woman with an MBA…and I still had to ask for help. The people I asked for help appeared confused as to why I would need help identifying such obviously simple items. I just do, okay?
Because there is no mercy when you are a mother, I also had to make an urgent Snow Day run to Michaels to buy the materials for a bookend project that same child saw in her American Girl magazine. It involves hollow cardboard letters and washi tape. If you do not have an 11 year old daughter you may think that “washi” is a typo but I can verify that it is an actual thing and that it can be found at Michaels (but only after an exhaustive search). If you want to know what to do with it, it appears the possibilities are endless.
When I am in a craft store, I marvel at the people filling their little carts with all the pretty things sold there. They stride around with such purpose, preparing to go home and create. They smile, and hum, and gather; they know just what they need. They are in their element.
I’m most in my element when I’m doing one of these things:
1) Speaking in front of an engaged audience on a topic about which I care deeply
2) Sitting face to face with someone, hearing her story and witnessing her journey
3) Writing from my heart, with a hot beverage at my side
4) Cooking an ambitious but healthy meal for people I love
There are lots and lots of other things I love, like yoga, and spinning, and snuggling with my kiddos, and wrapping gifts, and reading the Sunday Times, and organizing closets….but those four? Those four seem like what I was put on this Earth to do.
I’m so fully myself when I’m doing them that I sometimes have to pause to thank God for the moment, for the opportunity, for the blessing of being able to do this thing that makes my heart sing.
We’ve all had those moments, and the beautiful, glorious, truly miraculous thing is that no two of us have exactly the same collection of things that light us up.
Those women in Michaels are humming in the aisles because they are about to go do their thing. Just like the golfer heading out early on a Saturday morning is about to do hers.
The teacher hanging bulletin boards and inhaling the familiar scent of construction paper and newly sharpened pencils is in her element. And the actress at center stage watching the curtain rise as the house lights go down is in hers.
The mother reveling in a kitchen full of rowdy teens debriefing that evening’s event is doing her thing. The chef plating another perfect entree before the waiter whisks it off to the dining room is doing hers.
The pianist poising her fingertips above the keys as she takes a quiet breath is entering the realm where she is most herself. And the surgeon scrubbing in to the operating room is entering hers.
When you’re doing your thing, the energy is altered. You’re borrowing power from a source greater than your own. And with that source at your service, you will grow into yourself. You will wonder how it happened. You will stand in awe.
Go be that person. We’re all waiting for you.
This post first appeared on the Let Your Life Shine blog in February 2015.