“If you see a homeless person with a dog and you only feel sorry for the dog, it might be time to re-evaluate your principles.” I sleep with talk radio in my ear (to quiet my brain) and this statement woke me up from a dead sleep Friday night, especially after the day I’d had.
I’ve been thinking a lot about finding your calling in life, about releasing “Creative Beasts” and I’ve found that it isn’t just about having a nice hobby. No, your creative inclination might not be about art at all. It might be about finding something you care deeply about and finding a meaningful way to change your life and the world around you. That still makes you an artist.
I spent Friday afternoon with some dear friends, who are on staff, at Orlando’s Seaworld Theme Park. I was there for business and got an inspiring behind the scenes tour seeing new dolphin calfs, pregnant dolphins and had a loving encounter with a rather affectionate baby anteater (He licks). Each time I go to Seaworld, I come away psyched to be better at my job because the people there are so passionate about their work and the animals in their care.
Passion. What is yours?
Seaworld was in the news recently, as you know, a young lady, a friend and co-worker of my friends, was killed by a whale in a truly unspeakable incident. The staff at Seaworld, for the record, is working through some heavy stuff, imagine seeing a co-worker die violently, enduring public scrutiny and the resulting criticism that goes with the territory. (Grieve in your spare time.) It isn’t as much fun to come to work lately, but, you know what?
They come to work. They come to work because they have found their passion, they love the animals they take care of. They love the research and animal rescue efforts they get to perform and they love educating the public about wildlife and conservation.
Their passion is contagious. It occurs to me that not every problem we face in midlife can be solved with a paintbrush or by playing a guitar. That’s not what I mean by finding your “creativity”, or by being an “artist”. The media (how you express your passion), I believe, is not important, it’s finding your passion and letting that Beast loose that is so important. Your passion might be to paint, carve or write poetry. It also might be to excel at your work, to be a great parent or to change the world.
The day after I got to play with dolphins, some other passionate people picketed Seaworld, the members of PETA. I am not ready to discuss whether the animals in Seaworld are treated ethically or not. I am an advocate for marine mammals (my license plate even proclaims my allegiance to wild dolphins) and I believe, in my heart, that the animals at Seaworld are on permanent vacation. (Lots of food, no predators, free health care and other animals to play with).
However, I respect PETA’s passion and their commitment to their cause.
As I type this blog, oil in the Gulf of Mexico is close to washing ashore in Pensacola, Florida. People have died on an oil rig and human lives and livelihoods are going to be ruined all over the gulf. There is a human cost to this environmental disaster, and there is an unprecedented death to animals as well. The experts at Seaworld are already being asked to use their resources and expertise to save animals.
If I were a PETA member, I’d take a hard look at the death and devastation about to be handed to beautiful species like bluefin tuna, dolphins, shrimp and birds. There is a cause out there that can unite all of us, this is not a drill, it’s a real ecological catastrophe that gives us all an opportunity to unite and work together. Surely, in this situation, PETA and Seaworld Scientists, Democrats and Republicans and Liberals and Conservatives can all agree and come together. There is oil on our beaches! If ever there was a time for passion, this is it.
Maybe your calling isn’t to paint or save dolphins calves. But, open up to the possibility that there is something out there calling you, and ONLY you. Find your uniqueness, let your light shine, we’ve been waiting for you.