Apr 25, 2023
"Become who you ARE."
"Do what brings you to life. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions and compulsions. Trust them.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
So who am I anyway? We are all individuals with unique callings and special passions. I believe we were put on the earth to ENJOY life, and that joy will be different, that thing that brings us to life will be unique to each of us. But make no mistake. It's your JOB to figure out what is fascinating to you, and then to make that a part of your life.
In the 1990's when I lived in Caribou Maine, my friend Dyan gave me a challenge that she and her mother were doing for Thanksgiving. Write a list of 100 things that you love, or maybe the original assignment was 100 things you're grateful for. I remember Dyan's list had pantihose on it! I'm personally not feeling that, but that just proves how unique we each are! The world is so crazy abundant and whatever you are drawn to is THERE, or you can create it if it isn't already there!
I believe we yearn for, long for the things we were put on the earth to experience and enjoy. Our future calls out to us in the present and says, "Do you wanna work with me?" Well shoot! I sure do! The TRICK, for me anyway, is to BELIEVE that these things, that won't let me alone are longing for me, as much as I am longing for them.
For most of my life, I didn't feel worthy of the life I wanted to lead. It's a daily challenge now for me to live the miraculous life I lead. I say to myself nearly everyday, "I'm an artist. I'm a lover!" So what am I drawn to? What do I want to make with my art? What do I love?
I love whales so much. Throughout my entire life, I have mostly loved...whales. How odd. How funny. But there it is. It can't be helped. Well, that's not true. I can easily and mostly HAVE squelched that desire, because it just seemed too good to be true. I want it so much that I feel unworthy of it and/or like I'm an imposter. The fraud police will show up at my door with a clipboard any day now.
The things I've wanted the MOST have always seemed out of reach to me. EVERYBODY wants those things. There are ppl with more education or skills or good looks or talents etc. who will be the chosen. When I was a child I loved all animals so much. I imagined I'd be working with them, maybe as a veterinarian. We had chickens and ducks and geese and too many cats and a dog. I even had a pony for a while.
When I was 14 a local vet was hiring an assistant. I wanted that job so much, but was scared they'd never pick me. But they DID pick me! And the competition was small...maybe even nonexistent! I worked there and loved it. I loved everything about it! Then when we moved to Germany, I worked with a vet there helping with surgeries even! Then in Maine I volunteered with the local ASPCA. My first full-time job was working for Animal Control as an animal handler.
When I was 38, I lived about 2 miles from The Naval Academy Dairy Farm. Horizon Organic Farm and Education Center had purchased the property. I drove by it alot. MAN I wanted to work there. But again I felt like "Why would they hire ME?" One day I was compelled (trust your compulsions!!) to just drive up there, find the office and tell them I wanted to work there! I worked there for a couple of years until they closed. I did milking demonstrations with “Happy” the holstein cow. I used to say that I wished she was a whale…
I could tell you several stories like this. The point is, I was compelled by passion, and one day the passion overrode the fear, and the not feeling worthy, and I just...asked. I am, we are all being led and pulled and compelled by forces we can't see or understand. It's my job to listen. That is the road to great joy, sweetness and freedom.
Sometimes I try to figure out where my love for whales came from. My mother used to drop us off at the library where my aunt worked. We had the whole library to explore. I would get books on whales and dolphins and sometimes ghost stories. My kids tell me I've been talking about whales all their lives. They say I've been wanting to work on a whale boat as long as they can remember. I know that's true and it's exciting for me to hear them validate that.
When I was a little, little girl I used to watch Captain Chesapeake on channel 45. He was a host figure introducing children's programming and trying to influence the kids to make healthy choices. I loved him so much! I met him one day! My dad took us to a "drink me pop stop" where Captain C was promoting...I don't know what. Soda? I remember being scared of how tall he was and surprised at how TAN he was!
One of the shows I watched as a kid was called Marine Boy. It was a Japanese cartoon with a superhero type who rode on a "friendly dolphin's back." I loved that too. It was absolute magic in my very young life! I remember a movie called, "Hello Down There" with Tony Randall about a home completely underwater. One of the songs I remember from the movie was, "Little GoldFish" with the lyrics, "Little Goldfish, where you goin' to? Little Goldfish let me swim along with you. Little Goldfish we could have a whale of a time! Put your fin in mine!" And of course there was Mr Limpet, was that what it was called? With Don Knotts, who turned into a fish.
But OF COURSE head and shoulders about all of these programmed influences was Jacque Cousteau. I was enthralled. I was enraptured and captured! I simply loved EVERYTHING about this TV show and this man! Pure MAGIC! Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom was fine...good. But my GOD put that stuff out on the ocean already! Would ya!!
My mother and father got divorced. My dad remarried pretty much right away. He and "Miss Annetta" took us to Kings Dominion in Virginia when it first opened. All I wanted to do was watch the dolphin show. And I DID. I think there were 4 shows a day, and I went to 4 shows a day. When I moved to Indianapolis I joined the zoo. Walking around was all well and good, but come ON. All I really want to do is watch the dolphins.
When my kids were young, we stayed in Lewes, Delaware. And I would get up early because you were very likely to see dolphins playing in the surf early in the day. I remember sitting out on a pier WAAAY out watching dolphins that hung around for HOURS one day. How fortunate I felt! How cared for!! THIS is GLORIOUS and it's for you to enjoy!
I got my scuba certification against all odds. (That's a story for another time). The movie "Jaws!" fascinated me so much that I briefly and temporarily put down my marine mammal books in favor of sharks!
But simply nothing compares to when I went out on my first Whale Watching adventure in my late 20s. I was married, but in love with a young friend. Nothing untoward, just super enthusiastic about this guy. It was gonna be a couple of hours before we got to where the whales were, and I figured I'd write Jay a letter! But, as is my usual way, I wasn't prepared in any way to do that, so I figured I'd go up to the pilot house and bug the captain. I asked him if he had a pen and maybe some paper I could use. He told me I'd never be able to write there. The water was choppy that day and I was a landlubber!
My sister, who was on the boat with me, spent almost the entire trip either vomiting or moaning, but I EASILY wrote a 17 page letter which I gave to Jay when I saw him again. Liz was mad at me for “flirting” with the naturalists, as she called it, since she couldn't even stand up! But I was just so excited and hanging on everything they said! I was HOME. This felt like heaven and familiar. We saw finbacks and humpbacks and I've never been the same since then.
The whales are THERE. The whales are HERE and when the moon is right, and the days are long, I can see them. I can sit where I'm sitting NOW and see a whale! A WHALE! I saw porpoises and eagles yesterday!!
So everyday, I do SOMETHING to get closer, much closer to those glorious leviathans. I lean IN to my obsession. I read about whaling. I go to museums. I learn and am awestruck, over and over. I go out on the Whale Watching tours. My god, I am soo grateful. I am here, on this earth with whales, on this ISLAND where I can see them. They inspire my art as I'm leaning IN to making more and more whale themed pieces. We are going to open a shop soon that we are calling Whimsical Whale. How perfect. And one day, I will be out on the water working closer… much much closer with the WHALES.
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