Part 2: Living from the Heart—What Makes Our Hearts Come Alive?
Living from the heart simply means getting in touch with who you really are and what makes you come alive. It wasn’t until 35 years of my life had passed that I learned that I love to build things.
Growing up, my best friend’s dad had a woodshop in a section of their basement. I remember passing by this room from time to time. “Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to build something—like with our hands, like out of wood?” my 9-year-old unfiltered self would offer to my friend.
She would always respond like any other little girl might: “Or, we could play school, or house, or kickball in the street.” And that is always what we did.
That little desire to be creative and build got pushed down and went to sleep for a good long while, until fate would have it that I would offer to help a family member out with a project. This project required me to borrow a tool from a friend and build a little flower box. This turned into another flower box, then a wooden tray, then, over time, chairs and tables. I found myself reintroduced to an aspect of my personality, to a truth about who I am, that I had no idea was in there: woodworking. It’s something that I enjoy so much that I get lost in what I’m doing and hours pass by. It’s one of the things that I really love to make time for. It makes me come alive.
Even the most well-intentioned parents—the ones we had or the ones we are—sometimes fail to pick up on the things that make kids come alive and instead offer up what we think makes kids come alive. Dad loved soccer and so does Johnny. Mom majored in theater, so of course her daughter loves to sing and dance like mom did. Mom and Dad both went to Ivy League schools, so the most prestigious prep school is the right place for their rising kindergartener. Little desires and dreams can go to sleep in us, and we forget they are there. They are replaced instead with what we think others want us to love to do and therefore who we think others want us to be. I come from a family that loves to travel. I recently realized that while I like to travel, it is not a passion of mine. I never knew. You learn new things about yourself all the time.
I went on my son’s field trip the other week and met a teacher whose hobby outside of school is bees and their honey. She never wanted to get married. She wanted land and dogs and goats and bees and that is the life she has made for herself. She gets lost in tending to her bees and collecting and sharing their honey. It couldn’t have been clearer how much it make her come alive, and listening to her share made me come alive. When we do things that make bring us life, we bring that “alive” energy to the world for others. This is living from the heart.