Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2

What's your passion?

I have three passions: writing, music, and canines. Writing about canines with music playing in the background is the best!

What is your passion? Is there something you can do better than anyone else? Do you do something that inspires you and rejuvenates you?

I remember when I started getting sick with fibromyalgia, I went through some psychological stuff which included the realization that I spent the majority of my time "taking in" things and hardly any time "giving back" or being creative. I found myself completely locked in to a self-made prison where I spent every waking hour pulling energy into myself and never expending energy into the universe.

My job consists of information processing: taking in money, distributing it properly through the various accounts, balancing the books, putting names and addresses into the computer, attending meetings.

For relaxation, I would listen to music, but never make music of my own. I would watch TV -- again, "taking in" energy, but not giving back. I would read books, but never write. I would take in, but never give back. I'm convinced this was making me sick.

I feel better when I can sing along with my favorite music, really loudly. I feel great doing that, in fact. I kick myself for never learning how to play an instrument. I can plunk, plunk at a piano or keyboard, and can actually play by ear, but it's less than amateurish. A five-year-old can play better than I. I'm an expert keyboardist on the typewriter, so I know I "could have" been a pianist, but I didn't pursue it. I dabble every once in a while, and it's fun. I did the same thing with dance. I could have been a great dancer. I dance all the time. I hear music, and I just start moving. But, again, I was too busy with other things to be bothered pursuing formal dance training. I enjoy watching other people dance, and get that pang of envy at what "could have" been. 

About 18 months ago, Gil came across something I'd written. Up until then, I'd been keeping my writings private. He told me I had to start publishing, and that little bit of encouragement was all I needed to come out of the fog and begin giving back. It took a great deal of courage to put my writing "out there" where everyone could see it. But it was incredibly rewarding. People who've known me all my life read my work and remarked that they had no idea that I was a writer (and most of them said I was pretty good). One person called me "an inspiration." An inspiration? I never thought of myself that way. It was odd hearing what other people thought, and finding out they thought I was good.

Creativity is vital to human health. Vital. I can't stress it enough. It's vital. If you do not create anything, you will become ill. We were meant to be creative: whether your creativity is art, gardening, music, writing, photography, arts and crafts, cooking, building, renovating or anything else, you must do it, or you will drown in the syndrome of "taking in", or consumption. You cannot just consume, you must also let it out. If you don't let it out, you will scream, you will break, and you will become ill. This will be Mother Nature's way of forcing you to outlet your creativity.

Your passion is something to which you must devote at least a few hours a week, if not more. I write every single day. I don't publish all of it, most of it is just for me. But it is cathartic and therapeutic. It releases bad energy.

Right now, as I write this, I have the music of my favorite musician, Tori Amos, playing in the background on my computer. I sing aloud with Tori while I take pauses in my writing. Tori Amos inspires me, and I tend to get an "edge" from listening to her music. She is an extraordinarily creative person, and her energy is infectious and awe-inspiring.

Another thing I do is "compete" with Gil on creative projects. We have a great time trying to "outdo" each other. "Look what I did!" "Oh yeah?! Well, Look what I did!" It's all in fun, and we have very common interests so it's very inspirational.

It's my opinion that so many of us living with fibromyalgia have somehow become un-inspired. Find something or someone who inspires you, and grab ahold and run with that special energy. Let the muse come to you. You can't force your creativity, it has to come to you naturally. Don't do it for anyone but yourself.

Some people put aside deliberate time to meditate and develop their current project in their heads. I find that my best ideas come to me in my sleep, during the last hour or so of the morning, and then in two other places: the shower and the car. I believe that my best creative moments occur at those times because I am absolutely 100% alone during those activities. For me, being totally alone fuels my creative juices. Sometimes the ideas flood so quickly I can barely make it to the computer to start writing notes for fear of forgetting! Other times, I get "blocked", but that generally only lasts a little while before I'm right back at it.

By having a passion to look forward to launching into during your non-work hours, it will help you get through your work day feeling inspired in even the most mundane of tasks. (By the way, I also play Tori's music while I work, as often as possible, to keep feeling inspired and energized).

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