The Courage Not to Waste Our Gifts

Mark Nepo 11/04/14 02:51 PM ET

No one can construct the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of your life, but you.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Every single being has an amazing, unfathomable gift that only meeting life head-on and heart-on will reveal. And we can’t fully know our gift alone. We need each other to discover the gift, to believe in the gift. And then, to learn how to use it. The challenge for each of us is not to discount our gift because of the indifference of others, and not to abdicate our gift because of the various weights we’re forced to carry.

What does it mean to have a gift? For the lamp, the light it was shaped to carry is its gift. Without a light, a lamp has no purpose. For a person, we are shaped by experience to reveal the light we carry. For a person, how that light comes through us is our gift. We could say that for every hand, the heart it was shaped to carry is its gift. And a life cut off from the work of its heart has no purpose. Our call in the midst of our days is to discover the gift that connects our heart and our hands, to discover the light that fills the lamp of the life we are given. Once discovered, our work is to never let the light of our gift go out.

The gift can come through us in any way: cleaning the snow off a neighbor’s car, clipping your dog’s nails, reading books to blind children, helping a retired couple refinance their home, devoting yourself to Beethoven’s violin concerto. As a lamp can light any patch of ground, the hand filled with heart can light anything it touches. The gift is what fills our hand. The various skills of the world are how the gifted hand moves.

Finding the ways our soul can breathe cleanly and completely is our career. Where that happens is our occupation.

A Question to Walk With: Describe your gift as you understand it. When did you first become aware of your gift? If you’re not, what settings or activities bring you most alive?

Read the original post here.

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To Online Date or Not?

A few days ago a friend and I were having lunch and I mentioned my relationship woes to her. At that lunch, she suggested I do some visioning and write down the qualities and type of person I desire and seek in a romantic relationship. I have been dating three Scorpios off and on over the last three years and I ended the last of the three unhealthy relationships three days ago.

I look back now at these experiences with these individuals and laugh at the absurdity. Their physical ages range from 36 to 43 and yet they were all emotionally aged 12. I matured at age 9 when my single divorced mother decided I was old enough to take care of my younger brother after school and stopped sending us to a babysitter. I think you can see the dilemma this raises in finding a worthy mate and the discrepancy in life experiences already.

Well meaning friends suggest online dating. I am loath to do so. And once again that suggestion came up while gathered with four awesome women at an intimate moving away party. The one moving away has a boyfriend but all of us are essentially awesome single ladies and we shared an intense conversation I shall remember for a very long time.

I’ve been online since 1995 using social networking in some of its earliest manifestations. My handle was ‘Vamp’ on ISCA out of Iowa State University. I never once considered online dating. I still maintain a handful of friendships of folks I’ve never met in person. The few people I did meet from ISCA all mistakenly assumed that I had some romantic interest in wanting to meet them IRL. Which I of course corrected.

I shared my reason for not doing online dating with the group last night. The reason is: I don’t think the man for me is sitting at a computer doing online dating. I also verbalized that I thought this way of thinking is holding me back from the possibilities that might be out there. A friend said that perhaps that guy also didn’t believe in online dating but decided to give it a try.

Earlier today I posted on Twitter, which then feeds into my Facebook, this statement:
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And received this response from one of those friends I’ve never met in person but have known now for 19 years:

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Somehow that ‘A-ha!’ moment manifested and finally my vision for the relationship and kind of person I want to have that intimate love relationship with was realized. I wrote back:

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And last but not least (for me), this very important detail:

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So I guess I’m not looking for a man. I’m looking for a gentleman hero who also wants to live life in epic proportions. You might be thinking, “This girl has got some crazy expectations that will never be met!”

And you may be right. They may never be. I may be alone for the rest of my life to my dying day. But never lonely…and always always always in the best of my own good company!

So the burning question is, will I enter the online dating arena?

Well, haven’t I already with this post?

I don’t presume to think that so many people are reading my blog but if you are and know a single awesome gentleman hero who fits the rest of my bill, please direct them to me and let them know that in gaining my attention I say “Fortune favors the bold.”