Generational ImpactMar 27, 2022
Your work is not about you. It feels like it is, but it is not. So get out of the way.
Have you heard about the widely shared image taken by 26 year old photographer Sarabeth Maney? It was taken on the first day of confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Ms. Maney posted it to her Instagram, and it went viral, initially without credit. The image had such an impact that her employer, the New York Times. Interviewed her about its meaning.
People have called it “mom goals in a photo,” and said that “this look of pride in Justice Jackson’s daughter’s eye speaks volumes about what this means for little girls of color.”
“We marvel at our children this way all the time,” another wrote, “but how often do we catch this level of pride and adoration from child to parent?”
Not often enough. Whether you have kids or not, you can feel the power..the empowerment..happening in that photo. The photographer saw the expression once, then waited until it appeared again. She knew that was exactly what she wanted to capture.
We are charged, all of us, with solving problems about which we feel passionate, because that is exactly how we impact the world. Sara Blakely, in a class on entrepreneurialism, suggests that we ask questions like “What pisses you off? What lights you up?” to figure out what to work on. I remember in college writing “What’s painful and important?” in my journal one night. All my life I’ve cared about what people feel. It has been both a curse and a blessing..a mission I’ve had to surrender to in many ways so I could begin to master it (I have not mastered it btw). .
Missions don’t come to us fully lit up like Times Square billboards, backed by healthy chunks of working capital and lots of open time. They come in whispers, weird guidance, things that feel right, but kind of out there. I always get the image of Aladdin reaching down for Jasmine’s hand…”Do you trust me?” when I think of what the Universe might look like in embodied form.
You have to tune out the noise. Yesterday someone told me about their mission and it was the coolest story..but as it started out it felt weighed down by all the other stories in this person’s life. It was like the passion project was hidden under the blankets of relationship issues and real world financial woes. Of course we have challenges, problems, struggles..it’s part of the human journey. But we are meant to be guided by the lighted up parts of our own thinking. We are meant to be carbonated. When I look at how much I personally have done in my life with my understanding of metaphysics and personal development I feel sheepish. I have barely cracked the door open. AND yet have done much more than the average bear.
Remember this, from Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert?
I will never forget what the real Jack Gilbert told somebody else--an actual flesh and blood person, a shy student. One afternoon, after his poetry class, he had taken her aside. He complimented her work, then asked what she wanted to do with her life. Hesitantly she admitted she wanted to be a writer. He smiled with infinite compassion and asked, “Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures inside you are hoping you will say yes.”
Just do it.