“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
It’s Wilda Bostwick here. I want to let you in on something.
The above quote used to make me squirm every time I saw or heard it. I’ve squirmed often. Friends have posted it on Facebook. Speakers have quoted it. Workshop leaders have trotted it out. I feel sheepish to realize I’ve spent a lifetime trying to answer the wrong question according to Mr. Thurman, a respected author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader.
The answer to his approved question – what makes me come alive – hit me like a ray of sunshine recently. I thought of using “hit me like a thunderbolt” or “hit me like a ton of bricks,” but both of those images feel scary. “A ray of sunshine” captures the essence nicely, especially if I add, “after weeks of cloudy days.” I live in Vancouver.
In late June of 2016, I sent an essay to a national Canadian newspaper and soon learned the piece was going to be published. Although the story is a personal experience, the content touches on issues many of us face, such as a decision to move, value differences between members of the same family, and openness to surprises.
Fittingly, the first line of that essay ends with “…kindled a flame within me.” That flame was the desire to move to Vancouver. To my amazement, the publication of my essay ignited another one. The desire to share more of my writing. Doing that brings me to life.
Please look around my website. I hope you will see an idea that brightens your day or a thought that illuminates your path in some way.